Fear and anxiety high amid Capitol violence and high-security Inauguration

BOSTON — The violence at the U.S. Capitol nearly two weeks ago and the high security and tension preparing for inauguration on Wednesday have instilled fear and anxiety in a lot of people.

Dr. Marni Chanoff, a psychiatrist at McLean Hospital, sees this stress daily.

“All day, every day,” Chanoff told Boston 25 News by Zoom Monday. “From clients, from my patients, from friends, from family. This is where everyone is at right now.”

Chanoff said to manage this anxiety, one should try to cut down on exposure to the negativity.

“We have to recognize the imagery on TV, the imagery on social media is really fueling our fear,” Chanoff said. “So, I think it’s very important to stay informed, get the facts, but also be very aware of what is overexposing ourselves to the imagery and to the fear.”

Even after incoming president Joe Biden is inaugurated Wednesday, President Trump’s impeachment trial looms.

The polarizing climate is not only in politics; Chanoff sees it negatively affect friendships and family relationships.

“We have to be careful who we engage with and what we decide to talk about with them,” Chanoff said. “And be really discerning about who we have these conversations with. And is this important, is this part of… getting our own sense of security back in line, or this just adding to the conflict?”

Chanoff said the acute fear in the current political landscape only compounds the chronic stress of the coronavirus pandemic.

At some point, we become overwhelmed. This is when we start feeling less productive, less able to think clearly, less able to think rationally and our fear centers take over.

Chanoff said these feelings are normal, and the best way to manage them is to get back to the basics: good sleeping, eating right, exercise and staying in a healthy routine that doesn’t involve too much outside noise.