How to Handle Stress and Anxiety in These Trying Times

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Bob Hallinan

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            With the country rolling out social distancing measures, schools and businesses closing, and companies declaring work from home necessary, Americans are forced to face a new reality. While it may feel like life has stopped, there are ways to keep these times in perspective and learn how to carry on.

            The video contains an interview with Dr. Gregory Nawalanic (Nuh-wall-nick), a psychologist at The University of Kansas Health System’s Strawberry Hill Campus. He says it’s vital that you acknowledge your anxiety…because the more you resist, it persists. He explains how to develop coping skills to lessen the anxiety. He adds that having 24-7 access to constantly changing information on our phones is a blessing and a curse. He says those with anxiety have a desire for as much control of their information as possible, and for them, it’s best to put down the phone, and catch up with the news once, maybe twice a day. He also stresses that it’s important to do everything the authorities are guiding you to do. The idea is the more restrictions we can live with in the short term, the better off we’re going to be long term, and the faster we’ll return to life as normal. Dr. Nawalanic says this is an opportunity for all of us to shift the focus from looking at what we can’t do to looking at what we can do…especially with kids home from school and many moms and dads home from work. He says it’s an opportunity we may never have again to have some good quality one-on-one time with our kids. He adds that it’s important to show calm and confidence to our children because they can get more anxious the we do. And he says there’s scientific evidence that taking a couple of deep breaths is one of the best ways to handle your anxiety.