Navigating Anxiety Filipino Style

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

Three months ago, I posted a YouTube video in Tagalog that spoke about how to fight off anxiety and I was shocked that it reached quite a number of views, likes and shares with Filipino viewers as time went by. Here's the video I'm talking about...

At the end of the video, I told the viewers who may have anxiety to share their stories if they have to just to air it out as talking about it can help taper it off. And I received tremendous sharing from lots of Filipinos experiencing this horrible state of mind that only someone going through it or has gone through it (or a medical professional) will understand.

I'm really glad that my video helped some Filipinos out there feel that they are not alone in this, that someone understands them, that there are ways to navigate it and that it's totally okay to open up and speak about it. I may not be a licensed therapist or with a psychology background but I'm coming from a place of having experienced it first hand and as they say, experience is always the best teacher.

What creates anxiety in our heads? In my case, it's the fear of the unknown future or pre-empt danger.

As humans, our minds are wired to protect us from possible hazards. It's just doing its job to keep us safe. But most of the time, we lose control of our own thoughts and it gets the better of us. So instead of our minds being our allies, it creates all these scary what if's that are sometimes, too extreme which makes us become anxious and panicky... all because of our own doing.

But like I said in this video, identifying the triggers, breathing deeply, talking it out and sniffing Lavender oil really helps manage the uncomfortable jittery feels. (And of course, seeking professional help to address it if it's already sliding on the extreme side!) 

And as Pinoys who grew up in the Philippines where you're literally on "go your own" survival mode, I think we have that built-in resilience battery inside of us that lets us thrive and get going even when times are hard. We also believe in a God that we can lean on that gives us that feeling of security and safety so we can let go of wanting to control the unknown future so bad. Pinoys are also chatty by nature and can easily open up feelings to others which helps release negative, scary thoughts that we nurture in our minds that create that anxious feeling.

With that being said, I'm glad that Filipinos are now opening up to the issue of mental health and are making the necessary conscious steps to get better at navigating it. I sure hope that the awareness will keep spreading and that people will be taught how to support others going through it instead of just dismissing it thinking it's just all drama and made up hallucinations.

When dealing with anxiety, there are a few key things we can do to manage the condition daily. Living with anxiety can be overwhelming. However, there are methods that can ease that pain and live life to the fullest. Like for instance, taking medication.

Although anxiety is a sickness of the mind, we can often treat this with medication. There are many pills on the market which aim to improve the balance of our hormones to ease our mood, but sometimes the best medicine is natural. CBD oil is an example of a natural oil that can not only treat physical pain and inflammation, but has proved to help ease anxiety. According to, studies have shown CBD oil can reduce social anxiety and can even be used as a treatment for PTSD, generalized anxiety, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It can help to calm the body and mind by balancing out the stress-inducing hormones in your body like cortisol and adrenaline. Here's a list of stuff that may help.

Also self-care. It is more important now than it ever has been. 2020 has been a testing year for all of us, and being stuck in a confined space for many months has reaped havoc on many of us mentally. If you are suffering from anxiety as we approach winter (if you live in a non-tropical country!); take some time out for a self care day. Book the day off work, start off slow and enjoy a quiet day where you pamper yourself. Self care of the body often calms our mind, so a facial treatment, a haircut, or even a massage could do wonders for your mind. 

Take a careful approach in the treatment of your anxiety, and always do what feels right for you. 

So if you're a Pinoy going through anxiety on a regular basis, hang in there. Remember, you are born resilient and your God is watching over you. You are expressive by nature and you have people around you that you can proactively seek to listen and will let you exhale all your fears, doubts and worries. They may not be always easy to find in a judgmental society like the Philippines but they are out there.

Dealing with anxiety is never easy. But with the persistence to keep moving forward, being your own mental health advocate, staying proactive in your search for your own definition of joy, and never forgetting your core Filipino values, you will keep WINNING this. One step at a time. One battle at a time. :)

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