HOUSTON – If you are feeling an increase in stress and anxiety during this time, you are not alone. How do you know if you are dealing with anxiety? What can you do?
“It’s absolutely common for people to feel anxiety over something like this,” said Christine Reed, a licensed clinical social worker. “This has been named a worldwide pandemic, and just those words can sound awfully scary.”
Anxiety is when you have excessive thoughts of fear and worry. The coronavirus pandemic is something we don’t have much control over. Reed explains when we are feeling powerless, we tend to think about the worst kinds of things that can happen. Since we are in unknown territory right now, you may be feeling stressed out.
“In order to respond to that, it’s helpful to practice mindfulness, and also to practice a balance in terms of your thinking,” Reed said.
Anxiety can also trigger a panic attack with rapid breathing, heart racing and sweating. Reed said the best way to stop a panic attack is to try and control your breathing and give yourself calm messages.
“A lot of times when we are scared we do shallow breathing and that increases our heart rate which then increases a sense of anxiety,” Reed explained.
Reed said you can combat anxiety by making a plan for things that feel out of control. This can be simple things like meal planning or making lists for what the kids will do while they are out of school.