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Anxiety: 4 Effective Coping Strategies for Black Men #B3


Maybe this title caught your eye because you’ve been feeling different lately and you’re not sure why. You’re terrified to do things you’d normally have no issue doing. Sometimes, even basic activities require deep forethought. You’re avoiding crowds. You can barely enjoy anything because you deduce everything to its most negative attribute then magnify it. You’re paranoid. Your career is suffering. You’re avoiding confrontation. You’re avoiding standing up for yourself. You’re hesitant to respond to texts from friends then you type and delete messages repeatedly before finally sending something bland + safe. Imposter syndrome is your homie. You may feel like you’ve lost your personality. Your purpose is obscure. Your temper is pretty short these days and even your best, easiest relationships seem to become more + more distant by the day. The wavering confusion is exhausting and you’re afraid to look in the mirror sometimes because you don’t recognize the person in the reflection. It’s all good tho bro. You’re good. You’re OK.


As I write this, men are 4x more likely to commit suicide than women in the U.S. and data is showing that most of the Pandemic generation is likely to have issues with anxiety in adulthood due to the heightened stress their mothers experienced carrying them during the Pandemic. The Pandemic exacerbated mental health issues among pregnant women and new mothers, leading to higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. This isn't just in the U.S. but the entire world. Scientists are predicting an entire generation with heightened anxiety running through their veins as adults in the next 25 to 40 years. Gen P gonna be aiight?

Living with anxiety can be challenging, but there are proven coping strategies that can help you navigate through it. I have witnessed the transformative power of these techniques in supporting individuals on their journey to managing anxiety and more specifically, on my own journey having dealt with it for the first time in my early 40s during the Pandemic.


I will share valuable insights and strategies that can make a significant difference in your daily life and eventually recalibrate your nervous system. Ultimately, your anxiety contains information that can help you break through to the next level. Count it all joy.

Understanding Anxiety and Its Impact I liken anxiety to wearing shoes that don’t fit. They may be too big or too narrow or too tight or too wide but either way, they’re uncomfortable to move in. Either way, they prohibit how fast you can move. You become fatigued much faster when you wear them because you’re constantly adjusting your technique and your gait to accommodate the terrain you’re navigating. They throw you off balance a lot and at the end of the day, when you look back over your journey, most of what you see on the trail behind you is painful because even on your best days and moments, you felt uneasy, uncomfortable, worrisome, and just plain tired.


You prayed + meditated. Most moments of bliss were short-lived or artificially derived from substances, Netflix, sex, or video games or, or, or … Like me, you may have tried to mute the noises as you began to notice things were becoming a little different.


It can manifest as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, or specific phobias. Regardless of the specific type, anxiety can disrupt your well-being and limit your ability to enjoy life fully.


Anxiety is a common mental health condition that can affect various aspects of your life. Anxiety (like its first cousin, depression) is a common mental health condition that affects people of all ages, races, and genders. It can be a feeling of worry, nervousness, shame or fear about something that may happen in the future, and it can be triggered by a variety of situations or events.


Anxiety can range from mild to severe, can be chronic or acute and ultimately can have a significant impact on a person's daily life. It's important to understand that anxiety is a condition that can be managed and even reversed.


It was about 6 years ago when I began to recognize the effects anxiety was having on me (I didn't recognize anxiety itself, just it's effects), my family, friends, my children, and colleagues alike. I’d been working a high-demand position for about 4 years by that point and had a steady freelance situation going. I was divorced with three children plus bonus children and everything that comes with that.


Having never recognized anxiety for what it truly represented in my body and my life prior to that point and even now, I can look back and see how and where it has reared its head in my history even without a proper introduction.


Over time, I'd become skilled at repurposing it; unknowingly making excuses for it, or blaming its symptoms on tiredness, being energetic, not being energetic, being a workaholic, and just accepting all of these things as part of my personality.


Once I recognized what I was dealing with, I stepped into action looking to reset + for resolution. Here are four things I did that really set the atmosphere for the healing of my nervous system.


Practice Mindfulness and Deep Breathing

Incorporating mindfulness and deep breathing exercises into your routine can be highly beneficial. These techniques help calm your mind, reduce stress levels, and bring you into the present moment. By focusing on your breath and engaging in mindful awareness, you can create a sense of calm and regain control over your thoughts and emotions.


If you have no idea how to do this, YouTube University is the first move or if you can get to a breath work event, definitely don't cheat yourself out of the opportunity to learn your body. I highly recommend Witality if you can catch him on tour. God has placed everything you need for your specific healing inside of you.

Seek Support and Professional Help

Remember, you don't have to face anxiety alone. Seeking support from loved ones and reaching out to a qualified therapist can make a significant difference on the length and severity of your healing. Therapists are trained to provide you with the tools and techniques necessary to manage anxiety effectively. Evidence-based therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can be tailored to your specific needs.


If you let friends + family into the fold, be sure they are qualified for the call. Read that again bro. Having the wrong people around you during a season of high angst or depression can compound the issue not to mention that as men, we are often chastised as when coming forward about things like breath work, anxiety, and depression. The hashtag, #StopTheStigma wasn't created for kicks. Men have been bullied, humiliated, disowned, divorced, and estranged as these conditions can be misinterpreted as a show of weakness to others (men + women alike) (see men are 4x more likely to commit suicide)


Engage in Self-Care Activities

Practicing self-care plays a crucial role in managing anxiety. Engage in activities that promote relaxation, joy, and self-expression. Consider activities like yoga, hobbies you love, journaling, or spending time in nature. Sitting in a park and collecting my thoughts is one of my favorite activities these days. Most of us Black boys grew up hearing we had to run, dunk, smash, + hustle. Three were several popular hip hop songs from the 90s with the root word HUSTLE in the title!


Prioritizing self-care allows you to recharge, reduce stress levels, and cultivate a positive mindset. At the end of the day, your goal is to reset.


Challenge Negative Thoughts

Anxiety often feeds on negative thoughts and irrational beliefs. It's important to challenge these thoughts and replace them with more realistic and positive ones. Pay attention to your thinking patterns and consciously replace negative self-talk with supportive and empowering statements. This isn't easy ... unless you make it easy.


Reframing your thoughts and cultivating a more optimistic mindset can make a significant difference in managing anxiety. These are the kinds of incremental adjustments that occur in nanoseconds. Rewriting your OS can be challenging but easier and more rewarding as you practice using that muscle.


Conclusion

Managing anxiety is a journey that requires patience and self-compassion. By implementing these coping strategies, you can gradually regain control over your life and experience a greater sense of calm. Remember, it's all good to seek professional help when needed brotha. You deserve to live a fulfilling and anxiety-free life. Abundance is yours TODAY.



Why? My prayer is that my journey will bring you closer to God, resolution, and to a deeper understanding of who you are with anxiety and stress so that you can maximize who you are without it. Remember, it's not WHO you are, it's just a part of you; something that you're experiencing, understanding, managing, and using to your advantage.


Be sure to monitor your blood sugar and exercise on this journey, too, I'll write more on the relationship between blood sugar, ketone bodies, stress, anxiety, depression, and other neurological misfires that can occur if blood sugar goes unmanaged. It's a key metric for determining other underlying issues as well.


If you're struggling with anxiety, reach out to a therapist who can provide the guidance and support you need. You don't have to face it alone. Start your journey toward improved well-being today. #B3


peace + love

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