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5 Ways to Cope With Heartbleed Bug Anxiety

5 Ways to Cope With Heartbleed Bug AnxietyBy now you have probably heard about the Heartbleed Bug that has the Internet community shorting out its circuits. With headlines, tweets and posts with titles like “Why Heartbleed Is the Ultimate Web Nightmare” its a wonder any of us got any sleep last night. That Heartbleed logo alone is enough to kick up my flight/fight response!

So what can we do to get a grip, calm our bodies down and take action to do what we can to address the problem?

1. Educate yourself responsibly.

There really are a lot of scary headlines out there basically saying, ‘Be afraid! Be very afraid!’ Go to reliable sources for a good explanation of what’s going on and what to do. Stop exposing yourself to the media if you start hyperventilating! Here are some articles I found helpful not hysterical:

Q & A On Heartbleed from the NY Times.

Your Heartbleed Bug Questions Answered

2. Check on passwords.

It is recommended that people change the passwords to important sites you use but only after the website says they have made the needed changes to assure security. Someone said, treat passwords like your toothbrush: do not share them with anyone and change them at least every six months. Also use really weird passwords, like ‘vbfj77n%78′.

With the heartbleed bug it feels a little like closing the barn door after the horse ran out, but it’s better than nothing. Check here for updates on what sites are fixed.

3. Take responsibility where you can.

It’s always a good idea keep an extra eagle eye on your balances and transactions. Many of us have become lazy and tend to over-trust our online services. Make sure your accounts reconcile properly and not so much as a penny goes missing. As soon as you see something you can’t explain, call your bank, credit card company, online store or whatever. Usually the difference can be tracked down but sadly, vigilance is more important now than ever.

4. Breathe slowly and deeply.

Once you’ve taken action on the practical stuff it’s time to take care of your body. Exercise to burn off some of that extra adrenaline. Take a walk. Play with the dog. Make something tasty and nutritious for dinner.

5. Focus on the Now.

Anxiety is the body kicking into overdrive to fight or run away from a threat that is not imminent. Our mind leaps into a dark future that doesn’t even exist. Right now you are fine. Right now, the kids need help to get ready for school, work still needs to get done, Spring is still in the air after a long, hard winter. All of this is Good. Heartbleed can’t take that away from you.

I’m pretty sure this storm will pass. In the meantime, a virtual umbrella comes in handy. Protection comes in many forms. Protecting ourselves as well as we can from useless anxiety is the responsible thing to do.

5 Ways to Cope With Heartbleed Bug Anxiety

Elvira G. Aletta, Ph.D.

Elvira G. Aletta, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, founder of Explore What’s Next, wife, and mom of two teenagers. Dr. Aletta is a writer whose articles have been featured on the New York Times Well blog, the Wall Street Journal Online, Parents magazine, NPR and the BBC London Radio. To learn more about Dr. Aletta and Explore What's Next, visit her website and blog, or follow her on Twitter!

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APA Reference
Aletta, E. (2018). 5 Ways to Cope With Heartbleed Bug Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 11 Apr 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.