Studies have shown that, in general, people of color are less likely to report having a mental health condition than white individuals. There could be many reasons for this, including a lack of support or resources. However, there’s one thing that can’t be denied in this country—the triggers that many people of color have to face on a daily basis that contribute to anxiety.
Whether you’re struggling with racial anxiety or you’re triggered by something else, it’s important to know how to navigate your mental health. Anxiety is a very manageable condition, but it requires the right kind of support and help. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how you can effectively navigate anxiety as a person of color in America.
Identify Race-Related Anxiety
Nowadays, racism and discrimination are often subtler than in the past. You may sometimes wonder if you were a victim of racism in any given situation. Unfortunately, that can add a lot of stress and worried thoughts to your life. Even when it’s clear that you’re being treated unfairly or unequally, you can experience anxiety from those inequities. Other detrimental effects include anger, fear, frustration, and depression. So, what can you do when you experience anxiety as a person of color? How can you fight against race-related stress or inequalities that cause you to worry?
Have a Strong Support System
It’s easy to feel alone as a person of color in America. No matter how diverse our country becomes, experiencing any kind of discrimination can make you feel like no one is on your side. Building a support network is one of the best things you can do to cope with anxiety and know that you’re not alone. Surround yourself with other people of color or groups of diverse individuals. Connecting with people who have shared similar experiences can make it easier to navigate these waters without feeling so blind.
Having people in your corner also makes it easier to open up and share your feelings. Far too often, certain cultures and groups turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms because they’re worried about expressing themselves and having their feelings invalidated. Emotions always demand to be felt. The sooner you accept them, the sooner you start working through them and managing your anxiety.
Establish a Strong Identity
If you start to feel anxious when someone says or does something discriminatory, one of the best ways of calming those worries is to feel confident in your sense of self. Be proud of your identity and ethnicity. When you establish a strong identity, you’re less likely to let hurtful or discriminating words contribute to your fear. Again, surrounding yourself with diverse groups will help with this. Educating yourself on your cultural history will also help to boost your pride and confidence.
Advocate for Change
We have come a long way in America regarding racial equality and discrimination. However, no one would deny we also still have a long way to go. If you struggle with anxiety as a person of color, one way to combat it, help yourself, and potentially help others is to become an advocate for change. Call out those who say things they shouldn’t. Sign up for advocacy groups. Educate people on the impact of words and actions against people of color.
These things can force you out of your comfort zone. However, they’ll also help to empower you as you work through your anxiety. If you’re still struggling with anxious thoughts and need support now, feel free to contact me for more information. With the right treatment, you can keep anxiety from taking over your life, so you can give your time and energy to fostering positive change for yourself and people of color in this country.