I'm sure the lockdowns aren't doing any favors for mental health either.
Best Posts in Thread: People with COVID-19 More Likely to Develop Depression, Anxiety, and Dementia
The person with this wrong learning needs to correct it. The first step would be to learn how to relax (as relaxation is the opposite of anxiety) and there is much on the internet about that. IMO the process should initially be one of muscle relaxation and when that is achieved to bring in correct breathing (especially to stop chest breathing and learn to replace it with abdominal breathing) and then visualisations (being able to imagine a scene where the person feels very happy and relaxed) and mindfulness (focusing on the moment to stop distracting thoughts). This can then be combined with anchoring (where just pressing the forefinger and thumb together becomes associated with relaxation) and that can then be used in stressful situations (best if it can be done during the apprehensive stage and before the anxiety becomes panic).
The process of facing anxieties is something a person would then do - but I am not a fan of strong exposure therapy (this is called 'flooding' and is where the person is persuaded to face the anxieties full on) but of a more gradual approach. IMO, it is better to take months to start to feel better than to rush it and go backwards.
All of this requires effort - but then, sportspersons work long hours day after day, week after week, month after month in gruelling repetitive exercises and sometimes just to win a medal. A person with a physical disability may have to carry out daily exercises, sometimes painfully, and has to accept it and do the best possible. So a person with wrong learning may need to put much effort into correcting it (even if not 100% then any progress is a success) and there are books available and resources on the internet. As with any learning system, there are different approaches and it is best to read about them and find what most suits the individual - IMO, that means being comfortable with the ideas and pacing it to suit. There is NO magic bullet (there rarely is for anything) and trying to find it just postpones facing the situation and correcting the wrong learning. Facing anything that causes suffering is not easy, but the long-term rewards are usually worth it.
One of the big factors is to learn to ACCEPT the feelings - they were not asked for but they exist - and not fight them. Acceptance is really the key but usually needs a bit of effort initially to minimise some of the more distressing aspects of anxiety conditions.
Medications can be used in small amounts to help with the initial stages but this requires medical advice and prescription - over-use is not only dangerous but is just avoiding making the effort as described above and is a bit like a parent doing a child's homework (it solves the problem but the child learns nothing).
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Based on (multiple) anecdotal evidence: taking regular (daily) walks can be a substantial help to get out of a depression.
So, if for whatever reason one sits at home feeling life has dealt them a bad hand, get out and start walking. Even if it seems difficult at this time of pandemic, don a mask and go (or find some deserted place where you don't need one).
I hope to get back to walking myself in a couple months (not because of depression), once my recovery from a broken leg is complete.
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