How many of us have ever dealt with stress and anxiety? I hope everyone is virtually raising a hand. Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Anxiety refers to being in a persistent state of worry or displaying excessive amounts of fear. During this pandemic, stress and anxiety levels have drastically increased. I know mine have! We have had to face so many issues like finding a job, working remote, kids learning virtually, bills, getting vaccinated or not, trying not to get COVID, just to name a few.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been a stressed and anxious person. I just used to hide it very well. As the oldest child, I’ve always felt the pressure of setting a good example for my siblings. The expectation was to not only get a good education but to also be like a second mom to them. Those of you who are the oldest understand what I’m talking about. Parents always put so much responsibility on the oldest child. What happens if I fail or I don’t live up to the expectations put on me that everyone else including myself have? Failure never seemed like an option to me. Then as a single woman on my own, I feel an added amount of pressure. “When are you going to get a boyfriend? When are you getting married? When do you plan on having kids because you know you’re getting older? You’re starting to look a little hefty.” And it goes on and on. This type of consistent questioning can cause you to overthink and become stressed out about where you are in your life journey.
As time progressed, my stress and anxiety went from being hidden to causing physical symptoms in my body. I started having sleeping problems where I wasn’t able to get a good night’s sleep or I’m just up until 4 or 5 in the morning every night. Chronic headaches and mild depression started to set in. My muscles in my jaw, neck and back get really tense and start to flare up. I’ve started to become really on edge and jumpy. The smallest thing can cause me to literally jump and/or scream. Those are just some of the things I battle daily. I’ve learned that these symptoms can turn into a greater problem down the line if not addressed and managed.
So how do we work on this? First, when I feel myself starting to get really anxious or stressed out, I ask myself “Girl, why are you trippin?” The Bible tells us “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” - Matthew 6:27. Stressing and worrying won’t change the problem that’s in front of you. The good news is there’s no shame in feeling this way, and if you need help, I urge you to go seek it. In the black community, we don’t really talk a lot about therapy. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional help and getting to the root of your anxiety. If you don’t have the resources to see a therapist or just don’t feel comfortable, speak to your pastor, a family member or friend that you can trust to not be judgmental and will have your best interest at heart. Another thing I will do is get in my Word, turn some worship music on and get before God to pray. He will always comfort and calm me down. Some other tips to help reduce and manage your anxiety are:
This is a daily battle within myself, and I am constantly working on ways to manage it better. Remember to ask yourself, “Girl, why are you trippin” and talk to God. It’s okay to ask for help. He’s given us all the tools we need to mange this.
“I want you to be free from anxieties.” - 1 Corinthians 7:32
Guest Blogger, Jasmine Smith
Pastor Teresa actively travels throughout the country imparting the Word of God in a candid and refreshing way. Teresa is the host and creator of SisterFriends Cups and Conversations, an Internet Talk Show providing a platform for women to engage. www.newcreationfamilychurch.com to learn more.