With an increasing prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide, understanding and managing our mental health has never been more crucial. Dr John Tan, an expert in youth mental health and the Executive Director of CARE Singapore, shared valuable insights on anxiety during a talk on 23rd July 2023. The talk was jointly organised by Youngberg Wellness Centre and the Singapore Adventist Conference.
A recent study by Duke NUS/IMH highlighted that the projected healthcare costs for youths in Singapore are an eye-opening $1.2 billion.With anxiety playing a significant role in these figures, it’s evident that more emphasis should be placed on mental health awareness and care.
Dr Tan introduced a practical and applicable method to handle anxieties – the '5 R’s'. They include:
Awareness is the first step towards change. By tuning in and acknowledging moments of anxiety, you’re laying the groundwork to effectively address these feelings. Whether it's a rapid heartbeat, a sense of dread, or restless thoughts, it's essential to acknowledge these signs.
Journalling or simply noting down your experiences can help you identify trends and triggers. Is your anxiety worse during certain times of the day or in particular situations? This self-awareness can guide you in preparing for and managing future episodes.
Often, our anxieties are tied to imagined scenarios and outcomes that may not be based in reality. Asking someone you trust or seeking professional advice can help you evaluate the validity of your worries.
Our mindset plays a crucial role in how we perceive and respond to anxiety. By adopting a growth mindset, we embrace challenges and understand that we're capable of improvement and learning. This is where the power of 'yet' comes in. Instead of saying, "I can't manage my anxiety," say, "I can't manage my anxiety yet." It suggests that, with time and effort, you can and will learn to manage it better.
This can mean different things to different people but often includes praying, meditating, or seeking spiritual guidance when feeling anxious. This step encourages individuals to let go of what they can't control and find solace in their faith.
By practising the '5 R’s', we can better manage anxiety, paving the way for improved mental health.