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Ways to Stay Calm in Anxious Times

A woman with her hand on her head and looking out the window
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These are stressful, worrisome times and — sorry, folks — here’s one more thing to worry about: The fact that getting too stressed about it could weaken your immune system just when you need it to be as strong as possible.

We’re not saying to relax and ignore health warnings and tips on keeping yourself protected but maybe don’t keep checking the news every five minutes?

That was one of the messages that social worker James Kendall, a manager with Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s employee work/life connections program, posted March 10, 2020, to help the center’s 30,000 workers manage stress.

Want to discover ways to reduce stress and help protect your brain and immune system? Check out the Brain Health Staycation.

In addition to reminding people to rely on accurate information from reliable sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), he also advised them to “limit news overexposure,” which only feeds anxiety. This is good advice, even in normal times.

“I tell people to accept that they will experience some normal heightened anxiety and concerns. Uncertainty is difficult to live with,” he said in an email.

Basically, you need to control what you can. “We do not have control over [the virus], but we do have control over how we respond, emotionally,” he said.

Plus, stressing about it is really bad for our health. As scientists have been telling us for a long time, stress can worsen a wide range of health problems and can even increase our risk of getting sick.

This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any expert, professional or specialty advice or recommendations. Readers are urged to consult with their medical providers for all questions.

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