Psychiatrist offers tips for stress reduction amid demonstrations, pandemic

In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, protests over the death of George Floyd have gripped the country. These events can easily trigger anxiety, and a D.C. psychiatrist has suggestions on how to deal with the stress.

First, don’t overexpose yourself to emotionally charged news, Daniel Z. Lieberman said. Lieberman is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and author of the book “The Molecule of More.”

“Keeping yourself informed shouldn’t take more than, let’s say, 45 minutes a day,”Lieberman said. “If somebody is spending hours and hours, however, on social media, just going over this stuff over and over again, it’s probably getting to the point of more than rational concern.”

It’s also important to get outside when possible.

“Both natural daylight and exercise are extremely important for maintaining healthy mental functioning,” Lieberman said.

With many people still staying at home, Lieberman said it’s important to keep daily routines and maintain social contact. And, he said to not shy away from the tough issues of the day during that contact.

“When you talk about these things with people you care about, it makes them feel more manageable, a little bit less frightening,” he said.

He said people should seek professional help “when they find their ability to function is deteriorating.”

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John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP.

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