The CDC recently indicated it was no longer necessary for fully vaccinated people to wear a mask outdoors, and indoors, in most settings. For many people this new guidance was welcomed with open arms. However, there is a segment of the population that is hesitant to take off their masks. While there are different reasons for this, some may find it difficult to overcome mask removal anxiety.
The Impact of COVID19
The pandemic created a seismic shift in our lives. We were told to social distance and to wear masks to protect us from COVID-19. For those who lost loved ones or experienced difficult and/or lingering symptoms, the idea of ditching a mask can be scary. Fear can override logic and create a hesitancy to go back to normal. People who are typically risk averse will also find it difficult to ditch the masks. While there is no one perfect solution, we will explore different options to overcome mask removal anxiety.
Now that it is safe to remove our masks, there are some who would prefer to keep the masks on. These include people who suffer from social anxiety and in some cases low self-esteem. Wearing a mask hides our facial expressions, and in a sense, gives people with anxiety a sort of shield. It hides the expressions of anxiety that make some self-conscious. By hiding behind a mask, clients with anxiety can blend into the background.
Many of us will simply get more comfortable leaving the masks in our pockets over time. It is perfectly fine to pick and choose who you interact with until you get more comfortable with a return to normal. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an option that helps to identify and overcome the hesitancy. Exposure therapy is a technique often used by mental health care professionals to slowly help patients become comfortable with the new CDC guidance. The drawback to this option is the cost and time required.
Hypnosis to overcome mask removal anxiety
Hypnotherapy is an effective and much faster way to address anxiety. Contrary to what most people believe, hypnosis is not a form of mind control. Trance is an attentive and highly relaxed state that brings the unconscious mind to the forefront. The unconscious mind controls our automatic responses, including but not limited to, our fear response. Patients are gently guided into hypnotic trance so that the subconscious mind can be programmed to release any anxiety related to mask removal.
The Trance State
Patients simply need to follow the verbal direction of the hypnotherapist to enter into a relaxing hypnotic trance. These can include guided imagery, deep breathing, and confusion techniques. Clients are aware and responsive while experiencing hypnotic trance. Patients are not asleep but can experience time distortion, a heaviness in the body, as well as tingling and numbness.
If someone you know is having difficulty with the new CDC mask recommendations, cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnotherapy may be able to help. Being patient with yourself and others is also helpful. Seeking out help to overcome mask removal anxiety can help us all get back to normal.