Campus News

Early College of Education faculty member quoted in Nautilus article about anxiety

Patrick O’Connor

Patrick O’Connor, a kinesiology professor in the Early College of Education, was quoted in a Nautilus article about anxiety. Specifically, the article focused on health anxiety surrounding COVID-19.

The article begins by detailing the demographics most susceptible to this kind of stress and presents the negative effects of unmanaged stress—falsely exacerbated symptoms and a lower immune response.

In addition to conversation and mindfulness, the article recommends combating health anxiety with exercise.

In a 2019 study, O’Connor and his colleagues found that women who exercised regularly experienced fewer somatic symptoms than women who exercised less or not at all. O’Connor says that, while more research needs to be done in this area, these results could help people who are struggling to stay healthy and happy during COVID-19.

“If people are sedentary, then doing even 10 to 20 minutes of low-to-moderate intensity physical activity will yield anxiety reduction, stress relief and increased feelings of energy compared to being physically inactive,” he said.

Practicing yoga, he adds, may be particularly beneficial.

“Yoga involves exercise combined with a mindset that involves acceptance”—in other words, it brings together the benefits of mindfulness and physical activity.