Subtle Yet Pervasive Ways COVID-19 Increases Anxiety

The anxiety of contracting the Coronavirus has affected just about everyone. There are other subtle yet pervasive ways COVID-19 increases anxiety for both those who have anxiety disorders and those who do not. For those who have not been diagnosed with anxiety, it may be much more difficult to identify symptoms and triggers.

Subtle Yet Pervasive Ways COVID-19 Increases Anxiety

Loss of Socialization

From social-distancing to stay-at-home orders, COVID-19 has caused an extreme decline in how, when, and where we socialize. Being social is a crucial factor of well-being. Humans need human contact and interaction to stay balanced, to keep from going too far into the self and self-talk.

The loss of socialization may manifest in the psyche as a very significant loss. The desire to talk to others without distancing oneself may be so strong that any social outing triggers feelings of anxiety and discomfort.

Anxiety can manifest in the mind as worry or a sense of imbalance, as well as physically, including increased heart-rate, difficulty breathing, light-headedness, nausea, and many other symptoms.


The feeling of being trapped or smothered may cause extreme anxiety while wearing a mask. Mask-wearing may also trigger memories of feeling trapped, in any way, in the past. This type of anxiety is the kind that comes along with PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is very common for veterans, as well as anyone who has experienced any sort of significant trauma in the past.

There’s also potential for anxiety to occur just from the visual aspect of so many people wearing masks and being covered. It’s not what the mind has been used to seeing, which creates a sense of cognitive dissonance that may be hard to reconcile.

Abandoned Public Spaces

From businesses that have permanently closed to restaurants that reopen and only have a few customers, many public spaces look and feel abandoned. This is another form of cognitive distortion that the mind is dealing with during COVID-19.

Abandoned spaces are places we tend to think of, and have seen many times in movies, as war or post-apocalyptic zones. Even though we can logically tell ourselves that this is not the case, we may still be left with an uneasy, anxious feeling that is hard to define, yet builds-up over time.

If you or your loved ones have been experiencing increased anxiety during these difficult, changing times, contact us today.