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Anxiety rising due to coronavirus: Here's how to keep calm

People stocking up on food, gas and other supplies -- and alcohol -- was like a scene as a hurricane takes aim at the city.

NEW ORLEANS — The lines at New Orleans-area grocery stores were never-ending on Friday.

In fact, Nicole Dorignac, who runs her family’s namesake store in Metairie, said the rush began more than a week ago.

And it’s been a familiar feeling.

People stocking up on food, gas and other supplies -- and alcohol -- was like a scene as a hurricane takes aim at the city.

But for such a familiar look and feel, it was for an unfamiliar reason.

"I think because with a hurricane, everybody has kind of been through a hurricane before, so they kind of know what to expect,” Dorignac said. “I don't think people know what to expect with this. So, it's the unknown.”

People are worried as the number of coronavirus cases in the metro New Orleans area continues to rise.

And while there has been much news and discussion about the virus in recent weeks, there are still many questions about its effects and how it will affect people.

That’s led to a run on grocery stores and warehouses like Costco.

And on top of food purchases, people are buying things like toilet paper in bulk.

Michelle Moore, a clinical psychologist at LSU Health New Orleans, said the reactions, including those types of purchases, are normal during a stressful time where there are so many unknowns and anxiety is high.

A large reason for that stress: a feeling of no longer being in control of your own life.

She said taking just one minute to take a few deep breaths is enough to help ease your nerves.

Moore also said you should think about areas of your life in which you are still in control.

Another key factor: remaining calm if you have children since they will respond to how you act. And -- in a worst-case scenario of a quarantine -- take the time to enjoy unexpected time with your family.

Meanwhile, as an avalanche of news continues to flow and a buffet of bad news is at our fingertips, it’s healthy to unplug at times.

She suggested turning off news notifications and limiting how much time you spend on social media, where news and opinions about an ever-evolving situation are endless.

Moore also suggested simply talking to someone, one of the simplest ways to feel calmer.

“Everyone’s in this boat together,” she said.

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