Together we can be a powerful force to manage anxiety

During this Mental Health Awareness Month, we should share what helps us

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by Jen Cueva |

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All people encounter daily concerns and stresses that affect their mental well-being. Although commonplace stressors are inevitable, they can become overwhelming and lead to emotional upheaval when not managed well.

The pulmonary hypertension (PH) community faces these everyday worries, plus the added stress that a rare disease brings. Therefore, our emotional health joins our physical health as an important part of our wellness. Social stigmas, however, often cause people to conceal their psychological battles. Ignoring these struggles can be a problem, making it crucial to explore effective methods for enhancing our mental health.

I’ve often discussed my battles with anxiety and the challenges they introduce to my life. And while I’ve known that collaborating with psychiatrists and therapists can help us better understand anxiety and what triggers it, I was still reluctant, at least initially, to try these tools. Now I’ve embarked on the journey of therapy, and I’ve already seen its positive impact on my health.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which offers a great opportunity to spread awareness and support by starting a conversation with our peers and family about the issue. By sharing with others, we may also learn new coping methods, such as relaxation techniques, mindfulness practices, yoga, exercise, and healthy cooking and eating. We can also take advantage of technological advances by using apps that help guide us when we are overwhelmed or anxious.

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Mental health must be part of the rare disease awareness discussion

My strategies

I’ve found some beneficial strategies to cope with anxiety, including two mindfulness exercises my therapist recommended. The first practice involves pausing briefly throughout the day for a 30-second self-assessment, gauging my mental or physical state at that moment. With this information, I can then efficiently strategize for upcoming tasks. The second exercise involves an extended body scan using a guided meditation. This one lasts about 13.5 minutes and walks me through a mindful examination of my body, fostering greater self-awareness.

Pausing for these exercises is simple; I can do them whenever my medication alarms sound throughout the day. I don’t practice the body scan with each notice, but I ensure I do it at least once daily. Through these techniques, I can better manage anxiety and become more attuned to my thoughts and emotional state.

When grappling with anxiety, I can become overwhelmed. But acquiring these practices and seeking help have helped empower me to persevere, leaving me in a better emotional state to enjoy life. I’ve also appreciated learning about what helps others.

Let’s strive to break the stigma attached to mental health issues. The best way to start is by talking about it. We can create a community of understanding and support, which will help us advance in our journey toward improved mental health. It takes courage to open up, but together, we can be a powerful force for change.

“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.” — Brené Brown, author of the book “The Gifts of Imperfection”

Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


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