Oct 02, 2014

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A New Latina Guide To: Battling Anxiety

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Are you or anyone you know battling anxiety?

Anxiety disorders are pretty common in our society and there are multiple causes that lead to anxiety.  Anxiety can result from stressful or traumatic events,  it may be genetic, or they can be fears or phobias related to specific situations (e.g., fear of public speaking and fear of large places).  Simply put, you can have anxiety as a result of any experience in your daily life.

A relatively new type of therapeutic treatment called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), teaches four essential skills to reduce anxiety. Here’s a general overview:

Being Mindful:

Be aware of what you are feeling and thinking! You can learn to pay attention to your thoughts and emotions in the present moment. This helps you to be an observer of what’s going on around you and lets you figure out what to do with your feelings.

Distress Tolerance Skills:

It can be difficult when you’re going through something like a break-up, difficulties at work, or having problems with your teenage son.  You may find yourself thinking about it over and over again. Many times, we may end up beating ourselves up over whatever is going wrong in our lives and we might indulge in unhealthy behaviors. Distress Tolerance Skills teach us how to handle distress in a healthy way. ACCEPT what you feel. Don’t try to make excuses for it. You’re entitled! Distractions can also be helpful. Sometimes focusing on other things, like being with friends or getting a good workout in helps take some of the edge off.

Emotion Regulation:

Now that you are able to recognize and accept what you are feeling, you can regulate your emotions. Emotion regulation skills allow you to have more control about what you are feeling, when you feel it, and how you express that feeling. Be aware of what you are going through physically also, like having sweaty palms or hot body temperature. Notice what your thoughts are and pay attention to them.

Interpersonal Effectiveness:

Being able to have healthy interpersonal relationships rely heavily on the skills we have in relating with others. Through these skills we learn how to set boundaries in relationships and making sure you are getting what you want from others. Being able to do this helps you have better experiences with other people and improves your social support.

Learning these skills requires practice so don’t beat yourself up in you have trouble doing so. But the more you make time to practice them, the more likely it is you will have a better grasp of your anxiety.

For a reading list on DBT, click here.  For other ways to treat anxiety, check out the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

 

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Minerva Guerrero

Minerva Guerrero

Minerva Guerrero is a graduate of The City College of New York, with a BA in psychology and an MA in Mental Health Counseling. She works in an outpatient clinic in New York as a mental health counselor where she works with individuals, couples and families. She primarily enjoys working with women, helping empower them to be the best version of themselves. When not conducting therapy, you can catch her teaching at City College and freelance writing on a wide variety of topics that include relationship issues, emotional well-being, women's issues, and self-help topics.

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