‘Allow yourself a moment to breathe’: psychiatrist offers tips to cope with social unrest

Health

DENVER (KDVR) — Too much time spent focusing on the current climate in the country can lead to a sense of anxiety and feeling out of control, Dr. Eric French says, a psychiatrist with HealthONE Behavioral Health.

The effects of the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol have been felt nationwide. Dr. French says it’s important to stay focused on what we can control.

“This is really not all that different from finding out we have a global pandemic. This is a situation that’s extremely unsettling and puts people into a state of mind where they feel like they have no control over what’s happening around them,” French said.

He encourages people to focus on their behavior and set boundaries for how much information they are consuming each day.

“There is a need to stay up to the second when things come through and when that happens people will just be on the couch all day long — they won’t feel like they have any control. They’ll feel like they’re being inundated with scary information,” French said.

He recommends checking updates on social media only a few times a day and taking time to give your mind a break.

“You’re allowing yourself a moment to breathe and come up for air. Allow yourself to feel what it is that you feel in that moment about what you’ve processed and then move on,” French said.

For those who have children, French says don’t be afraid to talk to them about what’s going on in the country but try to leave partisanship out of the conversation.

“Children don’t understand that there would be tension and fighting over one another’s political belief. Just let them know there are some scary things going on and they might see it on TV. Mom and dad want to make sure you understand if you ever are in a situation and you’re feeling uncomfortable, we want you to find a safe place to be,” French said.

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