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Reducing anxiety and staying positive in surreal times

Whether it is from finances, panic shopping or the coronavirus itself, stress can be reduced.

SAN ANTONIO — Food, finances, even toilet paper—these are all things many of us have worried about during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. All of that worry drives our anxiety higher. 

And it's all pretty normal, experts say. 

"It is human nature to worry about big things," said Harry Croft, a local psychiatrist who advised that, to lessen your anxiety, try to only worry about things you can control. "Worrying about things you can't control, like how many people are going to get this virus, how many people are going to get sick and die, how long is this thing really going to last—those are things over which we have no control and those just worsen our anxiety."

One big reason to stay mentally healthy: Anxious thoughts can spread to young kids. 

"Understanding what your kids are going through with regard to this virus outbreak, I think it's significant and I think it depends on the age of the child," Croft said. 

The Baylor College of Medicine says that, for kids 5 years old and younger, teach them how to wash their hands. Make it a fun activity. If they are age 6 to 12, emphasize the importance of taking care of themselves and tell them they can be infected and spread it to others. Explain to them how this disease can result in mortality. 

And, when it comes to teens, give them more information about the disease and emphasize the risk of mortality. 

"The best place to start is by asking them, 'What do you know about this virus and all of these things that are going on that you read about and see about on TV, and what questions do you have?'" Croft said. 

Also, limit the amount of coronavirus coverage for the whole family. 

"Too much exposure doesn't help," Croft added, "and probably makes it seem worse than it really is."

We’re continuing to bring you the latest information on the novel coronavirus’s impact local, statewide and nationally. Here’s more recent coverage:

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