Research shows that predominantly Black counties have COVID-19 infection rates three times as high as white counties. This reality is likely a reason why it’s been found that Black women and men have reported higher anxiety during the pandemic than white individuals. But there can be many reasons to be anxious right now that have nothing to do with fighting a respiratory illness, like civil unrest, high rates of unemployment, feelings of displacement as people scatter from the cities to move back home, and so much more. This pandemic has really made people examine their coping mechanisms when it comes to stress, and possibly realize that…they didn’t have any. It’s been proven that environmental changes that bring on anxiety can impact the immune system, so having coping mechanisms isn’t just for emotions – it’s also for the benefit of one’s physical wellbeing.
Perhaps you’ve always told yourself, “Stress is a part of life.” Or “Yeah, I get anxious. So what? Who doesn’t?” But anxiety is not something to let run rampant. It can do more harm to your body than you know. Everybody wants to be tough and just shake it off, but it is important to take anxiety seriously because it can certainly do some serious things to you. We spoke with registered nurse and yoga instructor Recie Munson about how anxiety shows up in the body, and how to manage it.
It’s all connected
“A lot of people don’t see mental health as having physical symptoms, which is something that I love to change the narrative about,” Munson says. “Mental health issues can definitely be physical – it’s proven. I have witnessed them when taking care of patients. And I have also experienced them on a personal level.”