COUNSELOR'S CORNER: Anxiety, isolation, and the embrace of now


Three weeks of isolation. Three weeks of watching the news speak about the rapid spread of the coronavirus. So many people not being able to work makes life difficult for all. Each day is like watching a movie run in slow motion. The only control the average person has over this virus is staying sheltered inside your place of residence. This is beginning to create anxiety and worry in most people. Probably most people in the United States have had some feelings of restlessness in the last two weeks. When we experience a lack of control over our personal life, anxious feelings will surface. Human beings are meant to be social. We need one another. When we are told that we cannot be with each other for an extended period of time, the experience of frustration will begin to set deeply into our psyches. When will this end?

Right now, the unfinished and avoided inner pain and struggles of so many of us will be surfacing. This continual isolation and lack of distractions create an environment where inner pain, tension and struggles start surfacing. As a result, we can become anxious and impatient. Many couples and many families have not bargained for this high degree of togetherness.

When a man or woman experiences a lack of control over their daily life, psychic tension results. The big difficulty is how to maintain some control over our present moments and how to avoid worrying about tomorrow. What do we do with this anxiety or inner tension inside of us? It seems normal to start worrying about the future and fixate on what is wrong with life and what is wrong with what is going on with this coronavirus. We can fixate on someone to blame for all of this which gets us absolutely nowhere.

We can become paralyzed with fear about the future because there are no definite answers right now. The biggest fear right now is the realization that we are vulnerable to this disease and we are all vulnerable to dying.

The truth is that all of us have always been vulnerable to dying. It is simply a thought that we don’t often realize. A world pandemic puts us all in this vulnerable and reflective state of mind. Will we catch this virus and die soon? How long do we have to live? Will things ever be normal again? Is there really life after death?

There is a lot of goodness and compassion in what is happening. The world seems very small. Compassion and care are all around us. There are many people risking their own life to take care of other people. We are all in this together. When we can admit how vulnerable we all are, there becomes an intimacy between us. We instantly realize that we are all so very vulnerable to dying from a worldwide disease. We absolutely need one another’s help and compassion to combat this disease.

To reduce anxiety is most important right now. Anxiety is reduced from first realizing we are anxious and accepting this tension inside of us. Once we do this, we then can use positive energy to go deeper within our psyche and experience our self in a positive manner. In the midst of turmoil and tension, there will always be wisdom and peace once the anxiety is embraced.

Another way of reducing anxiety and depression is to focus on the present moment and only on this moment. It means to use all our energy to live only in this present moment and become aware of what we are seeing and experiencing in this moment. This will internally slow us down and bring us into a deeper and more peaceful mode of existence. Life is meant to be always the EMBRACE OF NOW.

Once I realize that life is only about NOW, I can stop worrying about tomorrow or how you should act or be. Anticipating what will happen in the future is an exercise in futility. Focusing on the present moment is the best preparation for the future. Anxiety begins to disappear when I totally embrace this present moment.

This is a time to let go of condemning and judging others who think different from us, politically, socially and spiritually. Worrying and being upset about how other people think and act never changes them. The only real change in life comes from the embrace of this moment and bringing more love into each moment. Each moment of life can be a deeper experience of God, whomever God might be for you. Each moment of life is filled with positive energy. Each moment of life when embraced gently and attentively, becomes a means of relaxation and departing from stress. These past three weeks have taught me this so profoundly.

The EMBRACE OF NOW opens a person to experience peace and calmness. The EMBRACE OF NOW brings every person into a positive, emotional and spiritual life. Pay attention to NOW and EMBRACE NOW. It is all we have.
Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage & family therapist and limited licensed psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Michigan. Cavaiani is associate editor and contributing writer for Human Development Magazine. His column in the Legal News runs every other week. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is

Published: Thu, Apr 16, 2020