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Flyers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport wearing facemasks.

Anxiety and the coronavirus

The constant coronavirus news has a lot of people feeling anxious. So how do you combat those feelings?

Rian Roberson is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with Intersectional Therapies in Seattle. And in the last week, she says coronavirus has come up in every conversation she's had with patients.

But, what makes anxiety about the coronavirus different from any other form of anxiety?

According to Dr. Roberson, it's just how big it is.

"It's not about personal feelings of discomfort anymore. It's so much bigger and systemic. And it impacts so many different levels of life, from employment, to transportation, to childcare, and finances and health and security, that it really does impact people on a much bigger level."

So, what can you do about something like that?

The first step is validating your emotions - it isn't wrong to feel anxious. And then you need to look at the facts.

"Whenever somebody comes in with a disproportionate amount of emotion, the antidote I try to bring to that is facts. And that's the fastest thing that goes away from your brain when you're feeling anxious... most of my clients are fairly healthy and younger clients who are not at a bigger risk of fatality from this virus."

After that, it's figuring out what works for you.

And remember, there are good things happening here too.

"You know, the news is full of like a lot of scary stories about racism, businesses being impacted, especially in the international district. And often what is missed is the stories about where people are helping each other. Stories about neighbors going out and getting groceries for elderly neighbors, people who are like picking up the slack and donating and just generating good in their own communities. And those stories aren't going to be on the front page or on anyone's headlines. So just being aware that there is still goodness going on and that, you know, we could probably benefit from having a personal gratitude practice at this time."