15:55 PM

Overcoming Anxiety during Stressful and Uncertain Times

By Dr. Gustavo Fors-Rodriguez

Between COVID-19, politics, and financial uncertainty it is important to understand anxiety, learn about useful tools, alternative treatments, and understand when professional help is necessary.

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome that is often related to a sense of helplessness and losing control. It can be divided into physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms.

Behavioral symptoms are often identified by others, as you may present anger or irritability, negativity, avoidance, overplanning or sleep problems.

Physical symptoms often force patients to seek medical treatment including visiting an ER. These include shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, fast heartbeat, and chest pain, which make people believe some serious medical condition is affecting them. You will most easily identify anxiety when psychological symptoms like excessive worry, indecisiveness and overthinking occur. To deal with anxiety, and control it, a balanced diet, regular cardiovascular exercise, and meditation techniques are required. The most beneficial techniques include deep breathing exercise, yoga, mindfulness, and tai chi.

Some easy steps that can be taken to minimize and control anxiety during COVID-19 lockdown include staying connected with others via video or phone, taking regular walks around your neighborhood, talk with neighbors while maintaining social distance, picking up hobbies or learning new things.

It is also very important to avoid further stress by minimizing the amount of news watched, and make plans with family and friends for when the pandemic is over.

If you feel that you need counseling, you can contact South Texas College, Counseling and Student Disability Services (non-emergent) by calling (956) 872-2173.

For professional help and counseling you can also contact Tropical Texas Behavioral Health by calling (956) 289-7000 for non-emergent appointments or the 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 1-(877) 289-7199. Help is also available for Starr County by calling Border Region Behavioral Health Center at 1-800-643-1102.