What is Collective Anxiety?
Updated: Oct 6
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have felt that we've been caught in a perfect storm of uncertainty, loss, worry, and social isolation.
Furthermore, more than 42 percent of people surveyed by the U.S. Census Bureau reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in December 2020, an increase from 11 percent the previous year.
Our collective anxiety is an amalgam of our individual anxieties. If you feel as though you've experienced increased anxiety and depression during the pandemic, you're not alone.
Anxiety can also be described as “concern’s ugly cousin.”
Concern contains enough fear to motivate prudent, diligent, calm action to avoid or mitigate a perceived future challenge or threat.
Anxiety, on the other hand, fears fear. It’s feeling fear now while anticipating a fearful thing in the future.
It’s feeling multiple layers of fear that then causes physical and psychological overreactions to anything that appears to validate the fearful future.
The Quarantine Effect?
A study of more than 64,000 people found more than 31 percent reported to be experiencing anxiety and 34 percent say they experienced depression. When access to social support was severely limited, and concerns about employment, health, and finances became very real, our usual coping mechanisms were pushed to the limit.
Our self-image, self-worth, and self-confidence, were tested over and over again.
Overall, the loss of social connection caused by lockdown measures has been one of the biggest challenges to many peoples' mental health.
We have found that people who reported feelings of loneliness during the pandemic, were nearly five times more likely to experience high levels of what they feel was anxiety. Other key factors were not feeling safe at home, and having a job impacted by the pandemic.
It's a vicious cycle:
With anxiety, someone fears the future more and more, which creates more anxiety and likely creates a self-fulfilling prophecy related to those fears.
It’s a vicious cycle that no drug will ever solve. We call these Fear-Based Self-Fulfilling Prophecies.
In anxiety, we operate out of our instinctive, fight-or-flight nature that protects us from lions, tigers, and bears.
We become LESS capable of intelligent, calm, prudent action because our instinctive nature – the caveman or cavewoman inside us – is ONLY focused on what’s going to jump out of a tree and eat us NOW.
The Caveman Inside Us
For the caveman, there is no such thing as time. Time is merely a construct of the higher mind.
Only "now" exists for the caveman.
What we fear might happen in the future incorrectly signals to our inner caveman that this (fear of the future) is actually happening right NOW.
That’s why we feel fear in our bodies now in the form of physical stress…not just in the future. That’s why anxiety holds multiple layers of fear.
Anxiety can lead to many adverse consequences like panic attacks, insomnia, phobias, gastrointestinal disorders, impaired immunity, strained relationships, lowered self-esteem and confidence, weight gain, addiction, and more.
When the whole world is transfixed on that future fear, this anxiety dynamic becomes collective anxiety.
We then, collectively, operate out of our lower natures that lead to dis-ease and frantic, chaotic, over-reactive, fear-based, divisive, tribal, narrow-minded, and selfish and unproductive thinking and behaving.
The solution is not as difficult as you might think. It only appears that way when you approach it the wrong way…like with pharmacology or coping with substances, or worse, ignoring it and hoping it will go away.
The best, most prudent, intelligent reaction to our current “concern” is to strengthen your immunity. Stress, anxiety, and their consequences weaken the immune system.
Calm, happy, balanced, grounded bodies have stronger immune systems.
We would be happy to guide you in the right direction today.
Call us anytime at 925-215-4017 for a Free Phone Consultation.