(WGGB/WSHM) -- As the state slowly begins to reopen, doctors warn that many people may start experiencing panic attacks and anxiety.

This week began Phase 1 of the state's reopening plan. Next week, even more businesses will be getting the green light to reopen, but doctors are urging people to look out for signs that their anxiety levels may be heightened as they start to venture outdoors.

As restrictions across the Commonwealth are gradually lifted, some may have increased concerns about going to the store with more crowds or returning to work

“Most people should be able to function without being overwhelmed with anxiety,” said Dr. Barry Sarvet, chair of psychiatry at Baystate Health.

Sarvet told Western Mass News as people stop hunkering down, they may feel anxious, but if you feel incredibly overwhelmed, it could signal a bigger problem.

“There are many people who have an excessive degree of anxiety that's beyond what's realistic based on the risk,” Sarvet noted.

He said it’s normal to be worried during these uncertain times, but serious cases of anxiety could be harmful.

“Sometimes, people can become aggressive when they're overwhelmed with anxiety which can be dangerous,” Sarvet explained.

That can put yourself and potentially others at risk.

“They might tense up and it could be hard for them to do motor tasks or even driving can be dangerous if you're panicking,” Sarvet added.

There are things Sarvet recommended for anyone feeling even mild anxiety practice, including:

  • Mindful breathing exercises
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Meditation

Also, recognize when your feelings are becoming more severe.

“I think if people feel overwhelmed, if they're having panic attacks, that's a sign you should talk to a primary care provider as a first step,” Sarvet said.

Sarvet also recommended practicing enduring your anxiety by slowly starting to go out more frequently.

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