Countering The Face Mask Anxiety

Countering The Face Mask AnxietyFace masks have become a part of our day-to-day lives. For many people, the face masks are anxiety-provoking. It is difficult to breathe and it can get hot. Many people feel claustrophobic and it can hurt your ears. Face masks also fog the glasses and keep reminding you about what is out there. The new normal means you need to keep a distance from other people and must wear a mask for covering your face. However, there are some ways in which you can cope with the anxiety.

Reasons behind the anxiety

The face masks should not bother us so much but they do. Why? The answer is a combination of both physiological and psychological responses. The psychological responses include a feeling of uncertainty, vulnerability, and fear while the physiological responses include rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, and breaking out in cold sweat. For many people, it is an additional stressor at the time of coronavirus pandemic. It is a constant reminder about how several lives have changed and how things have become socially detached from one another.

The face area that is covered by the face mask is extremely thermosensitive and a rise in temperature of the facial skin significantly affects the thermal sensations inside the whole body and makes a person feel hot. People suffering from existing claustrophobia or anxiety disorders will feel particularly affected by the emotional discomfort of wearing face masks. However, for several other people, this discomfort is subjective and diminishes as they get used to wearing the face mask.

Coping with anxiety

The way things stand at the moment it looks as if we are going to be a mask-wearing society for some time at least. The mental health experts are recommending these strategies for countering anxiety.

1. Repeating a mantra: Repeat a phrase, a word, or even a sound that will help you with the concentration. This can lead to a kind of reassurance. It can be anything even as simple as “This time will pass.” By concentrating on gently repeating a mantra you will be able to slow down the physical response and will be able to regulate breathing better.

2. Diaphragmatic breathing: Try breathing through the nose and use the diaphragm for breathing. In this case, your stomach expands in and out rather than the chest going up and down. You can imagine that you have a balloon inside the belly. Take more time to exhale rather than inhale. Take around three seconds for inhaling and four for exhaling.

3. Practice mindfulness: Focus your attention on what is happening at the moment rather than being lost in self-created thoughts and anxieties.

4. Use Aromatherapy: You can inhale the necessary oils such as lavender that have been used for a long time to relieve anxiety. It brings about a sense of calm. You can also use orange essential oil for uplifting the spirits. Aroma tabs can also be used that are easy to use. But buy only those that are made from 100% pure essential oils.

5. Remind yourself about the safety of the mask: Despite the propaganda by some people against the use of the face masks, there is no evidence that they are dangerous. The face masks are generally not airtight and allow sufficient airflow around the nose and mouth. Studies have indicated that there is no significant change in carbon dioxide or oxygen levels inside the body by using them. Face masks have been in use since the 1920s and there is no evidence of them being a threat to the user in any way.

In case you find the face mask difficult to tolerate, you may ask your doctor about using another face shield. These shields can be as effective in the prevention of the spread of coronavirus and do not make you feel restricted. Various mask styles provide a different level of protection to the user. Therefore consult a professional for selecting the mask. One of the best places to look for advice regarding anxiety is The TMS Advantage. They can provide proper advice and also guide you about maintaining your overall health. If you are already suffering from anxiety, talk to the professionals to get the problems sorted out. Get in touch with them immediately.

Picture Credit: Pixabay

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