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So Anxious: 3 Tips to Overcoming Nervousness

Heart beating. Mind racing. Body trembling. These are just a few of the many symptoms I felt as I lay in the hospital bed. How could this have happened? I was feeling fine yesterday and the day before that. Physically I felt okay, but mentally I felt detached. At the time, I was a college freshman and of course, I had informed the doctor of my routine that included juggling two majors, a few jobs, and frequent all-nighters. I had been doing this for months now and nothing had happened before, so why now?!

As a senior, I regret the amount of denial I possessed in regards to my situation. For me, I was blinded by thought of success but in order to be successful, one has to be fully present and healthy physically, mentally, and spirituality. When a person has a mental disorder and or/illness it’s often ignored because it’s not visible. Growth begins with awareness and I knew I had to take the necessary steps in order to grow. Here’s what I learned.

1. Be aware of the energy around you. In college, and especially during my freshman year, friendships were more important especially in a new environment. After a while I started to notice changes within my body around certain people. It was almost as if when I was in their presence, my emotions would change. I didn’t feel relaxed or mellow, but uptight and nervous. Once I had left their presence, it was almost as if my energy became balanced again. If a friend or partner is constantly belittling you, this can be damaging to your self-esteem and overall human spirit.

2. Learn from the past. We find ourselves distracted by the “what ifs” and “why things couldn’t turn out differently” to the point where we become stressed and unable to live in the present. Once you find closure from your past, you will start to appreciate the future. Rather it’s a former friend, a past lover, or even a family member that has caused the trauma, being able to forgive is mentally stimulating. Learning to forgive is for the state of your own mind and being able to feel at peace is essential.

3. Seek therapy if needed. In the African American community, people tend to stress and overuse the “strong Black woman” persona. We must be careful of how we use this phrase. Of course a woman is strong, however in life everybody has many obstacles. In the African American community, the belief that “Black people don’t need therapy” is prevalent. If these statements are constantly embedded into our society, slowly over time we start to believe it until something actually happens.

Overall, any mental disorder can make life more challenging, but the key is to not look at it as a “disorder.” Of course that’s the proper word used throughout society, but you don’t have to be perceived that way. I always looked at my anxiety “disorder” as channeled energy that simply needed to be released. Therefore, I decided to write down the scattered thoughts in my head and allow all of my pain, anger, frustration, and emotions bleed onto the paper.

Finding your passions and your “outlet” is the key to having healthy mental stimulation. Life is extremely unpredictable, especially when it comes to the human spirit. However, living in the moment instead of focusing on the past can open new doors for a better future.