COVID-19: Stress and Anxiety

COVID-19: Stress and Anxiety

[Additional essays and videocasts regarding psychological ramifications of the COVID-19 virus outbreak can be found at:[

The COVID-19 virus knows all about the human psyche. The virus is aware that we experience stress and become anxious when we keep a distance from other people and are forced to isolate ourselves from direct, physical contact with the people we love and cherish. Under conditons of stress and as we become more anxious, our vulnerability also increases — leaving us even more anxious. A vicious cycle . . . and a cycle that we need to stop!!

This essay includes material prepared by members of the Global Psychology Task Force–a group of experienced professional psychologists from around the world who have come together to address the psychological ramifications of the COVID-19 virus. They have prepared a website (www.communities  that incorporates essays, video clips and links to other references that address these ramifications. This essay is derived from the content of this website.

Stress Ruts, Lions and Lumens

We start with a brief video presentation by Dr. William Bergquist, a member of the Global Psychology Task Force. He has titled his presentation: “Stress Ruts, Lions and Lumens in the Age of the Pandemic”:


Reducing the Stress and Anxiety

This essay concerns the way to reduce the stress and anxiety. In addressing this psychological dynamic we turn to both the anxiety aroused by those who have tested positive for the virus and those who have not been tested or have been tested and are negative but still worry about the physical and psychological health of other people in their life, as well as their own economic health and the economic and societal health of their community and country.

[To access this essay, copy the link presented below, delete what is now in the browser (long diagonal box at top of your Internet page) and paste the new link in the browser. Then click on the dark black address that appears just below the browser. It should take you right to the essay.]

We turn now to someone who have been infected by COVID-19

Managing the Anxiety as Someone Who Has Been Infected

The anxiety associated with any major illness is quite understandable and is not in any way a sign of weakness. There are many ways in which to address this anxiety–such as looking to loved ones for support (even if they can’t be physically present), reducing other sources of stress in one’s life, identifying daily plans for dealing with the virus–and most importantly taking actions that enable you to feel less powerless and victimized.

It is perhaps best to turn from these general recommendations to the insights offered by someone who has been infected and struggled for a lengthy period of time with the infestation and related fever and isolation. This person is Dr. Suzanne Brennen-Nathan, one or our Global Psychology Task Force members. Suzanne is a highly experienced psychotherapist who has specialized in the treatment of trauma in her clinical practice. Who better to reflect on the illness and offer recommendations then someone “who has been there” and has expertise in the traumatizing impact of a major illness like COVID-19. Suzanne has been interviewed by Dr. William Bergquist, another member of the Task Force:

Managing the Anxiety as Someone Who Hasn’t Been Tested or Is Negative But Still Fearful

What about those of us who have not tested positive for COVID-19 or have not been tested at all. At the heart of the matter in facing the challenges associated with the COVID-19 virus — whether these challenges be financial, vocational or family related–is the stress that inevitably is induced when we think about, feel about and take action about the virus’ threatening nature.

We therefore begin this statement about action to be taken with an excellent presentation by one of our task force members, Christy Lewis:

We offer an excellent essay posted on VOX regarding the management of anxiety related to the virus:
[To access this essay, copy the link presented below, delete what is now in the browser (long diagonal box at top of your Internet page) and paste the new link in the browser . Then click on the address that appears just below the browser. It should take you right to the essay.]

To begin a cross-cultural reflection on the psychological ramifications of the COVID-19 virus, we offer an essay on the way in which one of our Task Force members, Eliza Wong, Psy.D., works with highly anxious clients in her home country: Singapore.

Dealing with Anxiety during COVID-19 in Singapore

We hope these perspectives on stress and anxiety in the age of the COVID-19 virus invasion provides some guidance for you in better understanding the psychological impact of the virus and identifying actions you can take to help ameliorate this impact.

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About the Author

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William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

View all posts by William Bergquist

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