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Many Americans stressed about terror in Ukraine, UNLV psychophysiology expert shares tips for coping

Posted at 8:00 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 10:34:17-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — In a time when there is a lot of uncertainty and confusion, people are understandably worried but there are ways you can deal with the stress.

"Anxiety is born from uncertainty," said UNLV Director of Psychophysiology of Emotion and Personality Laboratory (PEPlab) Stephan Benning.

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People are calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine World War III, but before you jump to conclusions, make sure you know the facts. That’s the first step in remaining calm.

"There was video footage from a video game that people have misinterpreted as being current Ukraine footage. That kind of fact-checking and verification is important," said Benning.

In this particular case, many details have been declassified.

People might feel like they don’t know what’s going to happen and have no idea. This is an unusually well-documented invasion plan. He says, so far the intelligence has been pretty spot on, including being within a week of events actually happening.

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It may help to take a step back from the headlines.

"It can be important to not read all day, every day as well. You can go to the other extreme as well thinking you have to keep track of every single development. One thing that people might want to do for themselves, is set a time for themselves to read over the day's events. I will set a specific amount of time to read over the news and then I must be done with that after, let’s say 15 minutes," Benning suggested.

And if you are seeking help, Benning says, "People may not need to rush out and get therapy right now because they are feeling anxious. This has only been happening for a few days. The time when it would become important to seek some kind of therapeutic interaction or psychological intervention is when the thoughts and worries that people have may consume most of their day."

"Or stop them from doing the things they need to do day-to-day," he said.

For continuing coverage of the developments in Ukraine, including stories with a Las Vegas connection, visit ktnv.com/Ukraine.