The Lies We Tell Ourselves About Mental Health | Anxiety Edition

August 29, 2020

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Written By : Aisha R. Shabazz, LCSW

For many reasons, our society treats mental health very differently than our physical health. Fortunately, many of us have come to realize that splitting our existence into two halves and treating one and not the other is not productive.

But to make matters worse there are still many myths and misconceptions about what to do and not to do when comes to managing our mental health.

Even though our global world has access to a lot of helpful information, many of us continue to hold on to outdated methods that have been passed around and down through the ages to discourage us from asking for additional support.

“I need to toughen up.”

Experiencing anxiety is not a sign of weakness, in fact, anxiety is an instinctive response. The neurochemical pathway that communicates to us whether a situation is safe or not is vital to our existence. Anxiety becomes problematic when we respond to our environment as if there is danger ahead and there is little to no evidence of danger being present.

Prolonged states of being on high-alert can have adverse effects on our body, as well as have a negative impact on our relationship with the world.

Experiencing intense moments of poorly timed anxiety is not a sign of weakness; it’s an opportunity to reflect

“Is what I’m feeling, thinking, doing useful in this moment?”

If you answered no, and you don’t know where to go from there, therapy is a one of many tools that can help you figure out how to manage feelings of intense anxiety.

If you have said to yourself or someone you know has said “I need to toughen up” in response to having a hard time, I’m here to tell you that statement is as helpful as someone shouting “RELAX!” when you want to unwind.

Our mind and body do not respond to commands.

Our brains are constantly processing data, and someone who experiences anxiety at high levels, is potentially overstimulated.

One way to invite more ease and reduce feelings of over-stimulation, is to take a moment to reduce the amount of stimulation, data, information that is coming in.

Making an effort to turn down the volume through the five senses, may help.

If you’re interested in working through the five senses, subscribe below to Journeying through the Senses: Creative Healing Series to receive daily prompts.

If you feel like you’ve tried ‘everything’ and nothing seems to be working, it might be useful to meet with a therapist for a few sessions to see if what hasn’t worked in the past, was related to being overstimulated.

If you’re ready to receive some additional support, click here to schedule a free 15-minute therapy consultation.

Disclaimer: This mental health blog is for informational purposes and is intended to help destigmatize mental health. It is strongly discouraged to use the information contained in this blog in a coercive manner. This information is not intended to diagnose or serve as a substitute for treatment from a licensed mental health professional. 

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