Coronavirus Anxiety 101: Worry, Fear, and How Not to Panic

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Are you experiencing coronavirus anxiety, a combination of health anxiety and fear of the unknown? Learn the steps to deal with it on HealthyPlace.

Coronavirus Anxiety 101: Worry, Fear, and How Not to Panic

The newest form of coronavirus, COVID-19, is causing a pandemic of fear to spread across the globe. There’s even a name for the fear: coronavirus anxiety. Here’s what you need to know to remain healthy, both mentally and physically.

Why Are People So Anxious about Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Two types of anxiety are at work around COVID-19: health anxiety and fear of the unknown. These are common forms of anxiety that, when they occur together, can be debilitating and cause panic.

Health anxiety involves excessive fear, worries, and what-ifs about illness that consume time and attention. The more someone thinks about health-related anxieties, the more stuck in these fears they become. In the case of coronavirus, it has become hard to think of other things. Everywhere we turn, we hear reports (some factual and some fear-based rumor) that people are getting sick and dying.

These emotional reports are fueling fear of the unknown. This is a new strain of coronavirus (a coronavirus is simply a type of virus, responsible for strains of the common cold and more serious illnesses such as SARS). Because it’s new, doctors and scientists don’t know everything about it. Anxiety loves to step in with anything unknown and fill in the blanks with assumptions rather than fact. When left unchecked, they consume us.

How to Deal with Coronavirus Anxiety?

Reduce coronavirus anxiety and stay well with these tips:

  • Keep your perspective. Rumors that society is shutting down because of coronavirus are just that—fear-based speculation. Remember that this gossip is fueled by health anxiety and fear of the unknown, and let your own knowledge override the rumors you hear.
  • Do what you always do to stay healthy. Wash your hands often. Keep surfaces clean. Stay away from crowds when you can. Drink plenty of water and eat nutritious foods to boost your immune system.
  • Don’t let empty store shelves fuel your own fear. People are panicking because of exaggerated news reports (see Anxiety About the World Via the News: Reclaim Your Peace), social media posts, and uninformed buzz. Use bleach, vinegar, baking soda, and other basic supplies you likely already have at home to sanitize like you do in any cold and flu season.

The COVID-19 threat is something to be taken seriously, but when you remember that the panic is fueled by fear of the unknown and health anxiety, you can pause, regain your perspective, and do what is in your control to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.

Related Articles Dealing with Coronavirus, Health Anxiety, and Fear of the Unknown

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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2020, March 10). Coronavirus Anxiety 101: Worry, Fear, and How Not to Panic , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 24 from

Last Updated: March 10, 2020

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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