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How to better handle high anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak

What we can do to help improve not only our physical health but our mental health as well in these high anxiety times? We asked Dr. Scott Hoopes.

BOISE, Idaho — These days, it's about being cautious, sometimes overly cautious. But being in that frame of mind all the time can really do a number on our minds.

Dozens of KTVB viewers reached out to us, asking what we can do to help improve not only our physical health but our mental health as well in these high anxiety times.

So we turned to Dr. Scott Hoopes of Live Well Psychiatry in Meridian

"Anxiety is really an emotion that has the purpose of giving us some kind of warning that there is a risk, that there is a danger," Dr. Hoopes said. "In this case, there is something there, there is a concern for us population-wide and for us as individuals. Denying it, trying to just suppress it is typically not going to be typically effective."

"The more that we can do to support and at solving and at being in active mode, the better shape that we're going to be in."

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But what does that mean?

"When we're active, we're planning, we're looking to the future, we're taking control. That's the bottom line," Dr. Hoops said. "In all of my years of practice, I've never seen anybody that benefitted by embracing the inner victim. It just makes things entirely worse."

So what can we do to help suppress our anxiety during this time?

"Frequent contact with who you love. who are confident and calm, not contact with people who are anxious," Dr. Hoopes said. "And that sounds like a hard thing to say, but the anxious are not typically going to help the anxious." 

How do we stay informed without being overwhelmed?

"There's very good medical research that shows that when recovering from cancer if the person is upbeat and positive and is viewing media that is upbeat and positive, it actually promotes healing," Dr. Hoopes said.

At the end of the day, Dr. Hoopes says it's about remembering to just be positive.

"Find positive avenues, positive things in your head, reach out to people who are comforting and reassuring as much as you can."

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