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Psychiatrist offers insight, techniques on dealing with fear and anxiety around coronavirus

Maine Psychiatrist Dr. Jeffery Barkin talks with Cindy Williams on ways to cope with fear and anxiety around COVID-19.

MAINE, USA — These are very stressful times. 

Most of us have never lived through a worldwide pandemic, so it's normal and natural to feel fear when thinking about the coronavirus. We need to learn to embrace our fear, but sometimes fear has a way of overcoming us and taking control of our behavior and making things worse. 

Maine Psychiatrist Dr. Jeffery Barkin offered his insight into the high levels of fear and anxiety around the coronavirus, and the isolation and loneliness that come with social distancing. 

"Ultimately, what we have to do is we have to be OK handling fear and give ourselves permission to experience it," Barkin said.

Dr. Barkin discussed the exercises he uses to slow his breathing and relax his muscles.

"By taking control of our breathing, learning how to breathe deeply and slow it down, we get some control over the physical symptoms of anxiety."

"Connection is the thing that destroys hopelessness and helplessness." 

Dr. Barkin encourages all of us to reconnect with people in our lives, even ones we may disagree with. He said now may be the perfect time to work through those differences without distraction and with the knowledge that we are all in this together.

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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