Coronavirus anxiety is gripping the entire world with people being bombarded with more and more information about the lockdown, social distancing, work from home advice, advice to wash hands, door handles, switches, etc., the symptoms of the virus, travel advisories, the television shows predicting how many hospital beds are needed at the peak spread of coronavirus, the restaurants operating only for takeout, the retailers limiting the supplies and operating for limited hours, roads were deserted with no cars, inadequate availability of approved test kits, the vast majority in social media sites talking only about the virus and its effects. If one has just returned from China, Iran, Italy or South Korea, he or she becomes the prime target to gather more information. The first information about the virus was made available in late December 2019 and since then the researchers have been analyzing all details of this virus at length in various parts of the world. A clinical trial to test a vaccine has begun but despite fast track approval from FDA, the release of this vaccine for humans will take several months. Even though this virus is from the family of SARS and MERS viruses, this has a unique quality of its own. The main spread is happening through human to human interaction but since those who have not traveled or had contact with the infected persons also got this virus, there is a possibility that it could be susceptible to a community spread as well. Nobody knows how long the pandemic will last or how long it will be until we can resume our regular lives. The pervasive uncertainty of the situation makes it hard to plan a course of action and creates a high level of stress. Moreover, our typical reaction for de-stressing, such as working out in a gym, watching sports, meeting for happy hours with co-workers or hanging out with groups of friends, have been taken away due to social distancing. How can we respond to the coronavirus situation in a way that will preserve our psychological well-being? While we are focused so much on how to prevent viral infection, it is imperative to think about how to keep our mental state stable to handle this extreme situation. It is important to realize that a lot of anxious thoughts and emotions will show up during this time and to accept them rather than trying to push them away or escape them. The same goes for sadness stemming from the loss of our regular ways of living, worry about lack of supplies or apprehension about kids getting cabin fever. That’s because research has shown that avoidance of such emotions will only make them stronger and long-lasting. Notice negative emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations as they come up, look into them with curiosity, describe them without judgment and then let them go. This is an essence of mindfulness, which has been consistently linked to good psychological health. Although many people escape from reality by watching television, eating snacks, sleeping more, we need to be mindful of over-relying on these distraction strategies. Instead, studies have shown that planning and executing new routines that connect you to what really matters in life is the best recipe for good health. It’s important to establish structure, predictability and a sense of purpose with these new routines. It is important for adults and crucial for children to stick to regular wake-up, grooming, and mealtimes. Where and how everyone works, exercises, do chores, have fun together should also be planned, while understanding that we all need to be flexible and adapt as needed. It is hard when our tried-and-true ways of taking care of our physical and mental health is taken away. But let us not abandon them as science has shown that exercise, good nutrition and socializing are directly linked to emotional well-being, so now is the time to get creative. To keep the psychological well-being, we need to schedule self-care each day. It can consist of running or walking outside, using apps for home exercise or makeup sessions, and FaceTiming our friends. One thing that is still available to us, unless we experience complete lockdown, is nature. Studies show that spending time in nature, whether you are hiking or gardening, positively affects psychological health. It might help to realize that these trying times offer several avenues for psychological growth. Even during social distancing, there is an opportunity to deepen our relationships with the people in our household and beyond. This is also a great time for self-reflection and relooks at our priorities in life. Finally, we need to keep in mind that experiencing stress and negative emotions can have positive consequences. Studies show that people who go through very difficult life experiences can emerge from it with a stronger sense of psychological resilience, rekindled relationships and a renewed appreciation of life. Some describe starting to live more fully and purposefully. With care and planning, we can stay psychologically strong during the pandemic and perhaps even grow from this transformative experience. This situation is like living in wartime with our life severely restricted and run by the government. One can never predict when the war will come to an end or when the enemy will be in our backyard. We must trust our frontline defense team and do what we can do best to keep ourselves afloat to lead a normal life. Let us visualize that this also will pass, and the best times are ahead of us. Note: There are so many WhatsApp messages about what to chant including a) Aditya Hridhayam, b) Vaidyanatha Sthothram and those who believe in prayers can recite them or something else based on the religion they practice to reduce stress. Others can help the friends and neighbors by sharing the most relevant and updated information about the virus.