Leliana Valentina Parvulescu

Insecurity and concern for the future

Leliana Valentina Pârvulescu, PhD
Psychologist, Behavioral analysis expert

Human beings have an extraordinary ability to reflect on future events, which means that we can anticipate obstacles or problems, giving us the opportunity to plan solutions. When it helps us achieve our goals, this thinking in the future can be very helpful. For example, washing hands and maintaining a social distance are useful behaviors that we can decide to implement to prevent the spread of the virus we are currently facing. However, insecurity is a way of being that often makes us feel fearful or anxious. When we worry excessively, we often think of the most unfavorable scenarios and consider that we will not cope with them. It is natural, especially in the current epidemiological conditions, to often find ourselves thinking about the most unfavorable scenarios. But unfortunately, worry does not only act on a mental level. When it becomes excessive, it also appears as symptoms in our body, such as:
• Muscle tension or pain in various areas of the body.
• Anxiety and inability to relax.
• Difficulty concentrating.
• Difficulty sleeping.
• Fatigue.
So what triggers worry and anxiety? Any event can be a trigger. Even when things are going well, you might think, “What if everything falls apart?” There are particular situations in which worries become even more frequent.

Triggering events are situations that present themselves as:
• Ambiguous – open to different interpretations.
• We – from whom we have no previous experience.
• Unpredictable – whose evolutions are unclear.
The period we are going through, of major uncertainty about how the pandemic we are facing will evolve, gives us an eloquent example of concern. Related to the fear of being infected with the virus, of transmitting the disease, of death. Thus we can imagine situations in which we lose people we know and love. The current global situation reflects all these points and it is therefore natural for people to face a lot of worries.
It is an unusual situation, with a lot of uncertainty, which can naturally lead us to worry and anxiety. Psychology often distinguishes between concerns about real problems vs. hypothetical problems. For example, given the real concern about the virus at the moment, there are useful solutions, which include regular hand washing, social distance and physical isolation. Everyone worries to some degree and thinking about the future can help us plan and deal with the future. But worry becomes a problem when it prevents us from living the life we want or makes us feel demoralized and exhausted.

Leliana Parvulescu

In conclusion, I would like to write you some tips to manage the concern that has become a problem:
• Identify first whether your concern is a concern about a real problem or a hypothetical concern.
• Keep your balance in your life. Well-being comes from living a life based on balanced activities that give you feelings of pleasure. Remember that we are social animals – we need connections to stay healthy. I recommend that you try some social activities that involve other people. At times like these, you should find some creative ways to keep social contact at bay, for example, over the internet or by phone.
• Practice postponing your care. In practice, this means deliberately allocating time each day for concern (for example, 30 minutes at the end of each day). At first it may seem strange! But for the other 23.5 hours of the day, try to let go until the “time of worry” comes.
• Exercise attention. Learning and practicing mindfulness can help you give up worries. For example, focusing on the movement of your breath or the sounds you hear around you for a minute or two can serve as a useful anchor for returning to the present moment and giving up worries that keep your mind busy.

Insecurity and concern for the future
Leliana Valentina Pârvulescu, PhD
Psychologist, Behavioral analysis expert

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