EPISODE 12- BLOG
COPING WITH ANXIETY AND STRESS-INDICATORS
As part of our long-term goals, the El Paso United Family Resiliency Center is focused on increasing the understanding of mental health by providing education on the signs of trauma-induced stress, as well as removing stigmas. We understand that anxiety is a natural response to stress, however, how can we cope and identify signs of stress?
For this month’s episode we have an insightful conversation with Jazmine Silva, a local LPC and Registered Child Therapist from Counseling El Paso.
We speak on anxiety and other stress indicators and throughout our conversation, Jazmine explains to us what anxiety really is. We also share tools and education that can help us navigate our emotions whenever we manifest anxiety within.
WHAT IS ANXIETY?
I, as many, have had my own journey with anxiety and stress-indicators, which is why this conversation with Jazmine is close to my heart. In my early stages with anxiety, I felt frustrated, isolated and confused by body’s reaction to certain situations. My lack of knowledge and awareness led me to believe I was too sensitive, and I needed to foster courage.
In past episodes, I’ve shared that my healing journey started in a cozy yoga studio. Thanks to my body movement and its connection to my mind and soul, I learned how to listen to my body’s needs, both physical and emotional.
Yet, outside of that yoga studio, I continued to encounter circumstances that triggered my anxiety and once again, I felt vulnerable and exposed. I knew something was missing so, I began to dig deeper and questioned myself to the root.
I finally felt the need to seek professional help and guidance. During conversations with my therapist, I learned that anxiety is our body’s response to stress or dangerous situations. I was finally able to understand that my reactions and manifestations were completely normal. I was not too sensitive; I was not too emotional; I was not weak. I learned that I was more than my anxiety.
Throughout my conversation with Jazmine, we learned that anxiety is a psychophysiological response to an internal or external situation, meaning that a thought, emotion or physical reaction can emerge. “Anxiety is an experience that every human will come across at some point,” shared Jazmine.
ANXIETY OR ANXIETY DISORDER?
Once we understand that anxiety is natural, we can then learn how to navigate by identifying what triggers this common response. However, if everyone experiences anxiety at one point in their lives, what is the difference between anxiety and an anxiety disorder? How do we know when to seek a mental health professional provider?
According to Jazmine the answer is quite simple—whenever we notice that anxiety may be interfering with our daily functioning and there’s a server level of avoidance to do certain thigs, that might be a good opportunity to ask for professional guidance.
A good example is when an individual is avoiding social interaction, by isolating themselves from loved ones or avoiding work and experiencing procrastination. All of these behaviors and others might come from an anxiety disorder. Yet, seeking professional aid can guide us to identify these behaviors and enable us to work and cope with our anxiety.
In my experience with anxiety, I’ve learned that the end goal of seeking mental health is not about washing away your anxiety or stress-indicators. Rather it is about having the right tools when a circumstance arises. As Jazmine mentioned, we’ll all experience anxiety at some point, but if prioritize our mental health on a daily basis, we build a stronger field of defense.
There’re many ways of how we can cope with anxiety. Individuality is celebrated in mental health, so we need to ask ourselves—what does my body need? Does your body need movement? Or maybe silence?
Once you identify what your body needs you can engage is so many activities that encourage mindfulness—such as meditation, tapping exercises, body-based healing activities, artistic therapy or even speaking with a professional. At the FRC we provide a couple of non-traditional therapies that can boost your mental health and help you asses your needs, such as equine therapy, art therapy and yoga.
Jazmine’s favorite coping method is tapping meditation, a practice that allows you to connect your body with your mind and stay in the present. My favorite coping method is journaling. I experience racing thoughts and journaling allows me to calm down my mind and see things for what they are and not for the scenarios I’m creating in my head.
As I continue to navigate through my journey with anxiety, I can now identify triggers and how to go about them. Rather than trying to quiet down my anxiety, I listen to my body and ask myself—what triggered this internal or external reaction? I asses my body and my surroundings. I then embrace my anxiety because I now know, it’s my body’s way of protecting me.
Once I take it all in, I then can transform it into something positive. Each experience with anxiety teaches me something new about myself. Maybe someone in my life was overstepping my boundaries and I need to be stricter with the power of saying ‘no.’
Most often, when people experience depression it’s because they are living in the past. When people experience anxiety, we are living in the future. With these coping tools and education, we bring ourselves back to our present.
Anxiety and other stress indicators can touch the lives of many. Please know that your emotions and feelings are important. Mental health is equally as important as physical health. If you are interested in learning more about anxiety and other stress indicators,
please contact our office at (915) 775- 2783. Our team is comprised of resiliency navigators that can connect you to an array of services that can guide you through anxiety.
Tune in to learn more about anxiety and how we can cope on a daily basis.