Fear, Sadness, and Frustration: The Most Common Emotions during Lockdown

Take care of yourself, keep yourself safe, but don't forget to be aware of your emotions during confinement, especially fear, sadness, and frustration. Be aware of your thoughts as well and prevent them from raising your anxiety levels even more. What are the most common emotions during home confinement?
Fear, Sadness, and Frustration: The Most Common Emotions during Lockdown
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 28 July, 2022

Fear, sadness, and frustration. We wouldn’t be wrong if we said that these are the three most common emotions during this home confinement. They can be unwelcome visitors in the quiet moments as we look out the window. They can even get to us when we’re trying to do everything we can to avoid overthinking.

These are three completely normal states of mind that are bringing us all together in these difficult times.

Experts have often said that the thousands of books and articles on self-help based on happiness have somehow turned us into people who are intolerant of negative emotions. We’ve been taught how to be happy, they say, and people have forgotten to tell us what to do when anguish and fear come along.

In reality, however, human beings have always been very familiar with these more adverse emotional states and what they feel like. Each one has tried to handle them in their own way, for better or for worse.

Suffering isn’t new to us. But, on this occasion, it’s come in a different form and has caught us off guard. Each person is living it out in a particular way.

Some people feel fortunate to have their family close to them in good health and to be enjoying good job security. Others, on the other hand, are going through a more adverse scenario in which losses and uncertainty are the order of the day.

Wherever we’re from and whatever our situation, we all experience fear, restlessness, and sadness to a greater or lesser degree.

The coronavirus is leaving voids of unfathomable pain and it’s impossible to remain oblivious to that reality.

A cat by a window.

Fear, sadness and frustration, the most common emotions during confinement

Life has reached a point where it’s telling a story with surreal and terrifying overtones. It seems that life is currently being penned by a very unpleasant writer, and, when you think about it, you realize that you have no control over anything that’s happening.

You have to understand something. You can’t control the circumstances around you, but you can control your reactions and behavior.

How you do so will determine a more appropriate approach to the days ahead. The keywords you should assimilate these days would be acceptance, transformation, and resilience.

As Abraham Maslow, the renowned humanist psychologist, said, life is a continuous process of growth and that task is often a painful one. However, there are times when that suffering is more intense and more is demanded of you. You must be prepared.

The first step you should face is to understand your inner emotional world. Remember that your brain doesn’t speak English, Spanish, or Chinese. It speaks the language of emotions and you need to understand them.

So, during this time of confinement, the three most common emotions that’ll be our companions at home to a greater or lesser degree are fear, sadness, and frustration.

Keep an eye out for fear

Keep a guard on the door of your heart because fear wants to invade it. Accept that it’s normal to feel it and that it’s permissible to be afraid of everything you can see happening around you. Make sure you keep the door to fear as firmly closed as you can. Fear is normal, but irrational fears can creep in and feed panic. Don’t give in to fear of things that haven’t happened yet.

Focus, rationalize, and talk to someone you trust when you feel your fears are taking your breath away.

In psychology, there’s a mechanism called disposition bias that you should take into account. Often, when people live through situations full of uncertainty and fear, they reinforce false news that they’ve read, negative messages they’ve received, and unfounded thoughts they’ve had.

Remember that your brain, when it experiences fear, stops reasoning in a logical and balanced way. It’s impregnated with this dangerous emotion and you need to take control.

The most common emotions during lockdown.

Sadness, the attic of reflection

Fear, sadness, and frustration… These are our most common emotions during this time and they have meaning and purpose in themselves, even during lockdown. The best strategy is to accept them, but not to give them too much power to control you completely.

In these cases, sadness acts as a mental attic that we need to climb up to from time to time. This emotion is full of meaning: it’s like a chest that you must open to discover what it’s trying to tell you. In these circumstances, what you’re going through is normal, and it’s OK to spend some time with your sadness.

You feel the pain of those who’ve gone. You suffer for others. It fills you with sorrow to think what might happen tomorrow. You’re worried about your own family, about your parents getting sick, and feeling sad about what your children are going through. Accepting all these internal realities is very necessary.

Don’t become obsessed with having to be 100% well all the time because that’s completely impossible. Allow yourself to experience these emotions.

Frustration, the emotion you have to know how to channel

Among the three most common emotions of fear, sadness, and frustration, the latter is the most dynamic. To understand it better, you need to understand the importance of this dimension.

It’s perfectly normal to feel frustrated during this time. Your lifestyle has changed, and personal, work, and economic uncertainty is eating away at you.

Many things may be worrying you, while others may be making you angry. But beware, because frustration is also a trigger for anger. Frustration will put you in a bad mood at certain times of the day and will also fill you with dissatisfaction and nervousness.

To make good use of these, you need to understand one thing. Both anger and frustration are emotions that invite action (the opposite of sadness, which is much more introspective).

The key here is to channel them properly. Frustration is asking you to change, it demands ingenuity and creativity to respond to what’s troubling you.

Use your imagination. If you’re anxious about your job, then come up with a plan and think of options without falling into fatalism. Turn your mind into a river of ideas where open, flexible, and positive thinking flows. Only this way will you be able to channel fear, sadness, and frustration.

Thus, keep going, learn how to manage your emotions, and don’t forget to look after yourself. It’s time to analyze your emotional health.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.