Local psychologist on managing Coronavirus fear, anxiety

Butler Hospital doctor with coping techniques

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — With schools shutting down and folks urged to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic, fear and anxiety seem omnipresent these days.

Lisa Uebelacker, a psychologist at Butler Hospital in Providence, says feeling anxious and scared is totally normal, and can even be good.

“Anxiety motivates us to do things in our lives that we need to do. We feel a little anxious so we wash our hands well. We feel anxious so we take other precautions that we should be taking,” said Uebelacker.

But at unhealthy levels, anxiety can also drive panic and lead to bad decisions during a crisis like this. So how can you keep yours in check? First, try to stay in the moment and focus on others.

“If you’re going to play a game with your kids, like play the game. Focus, do your best. Your mind is going to wander. Bring it back to game. Find things that are absorbing to you,” said Uebelacker.

Also, find a balance between staying informed and being consumed by COVID-19 coverage.

“You could just watch and watch and watch or listen or read all day long, and probably you don’t need to do that,” said Uebelacker.

Uebelacker says mindfulness is a great technique to help control anxiety. There’s a whole host of apps offering everything from guided meditation to breathing techniques.

“That can be helpful too, for in addition to teaching you mindfulness, but also for calming your body, because when you’re anxious, anxiety has a lot of components to it, but one of them is physical symptoms, you know feeling very revved up,” said Uebelacker.

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2020


Categories: Coronavirus, Massachusetts, News, Providence, Rhode Island, Your Health