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Systemic Triggers to Anxiety

When coping with anxiety, it is important that we create space to explore our triggers. Sometimes, we know right away where our anxiety is stemming from. Other times, it can feel like a mystery. Anxious triggers aren't always just from not getting enough self-care, not staying hydrated, or from deadlines we have to meet at work. Often times, anxious triggers can be systemic. As an MFT, I was educated and trained to look at my clients' presenting problems in a systemic lens. I was trained to assess clients' mental health challenges as symptomatic of systemic issues. When I use the word systemic, I am talking about family systems and societal systems as a whole. Here are some systemic triggers to anxiety:

  • Poverty

  • Racism

  • Adverse early life experiences

  • Job insecurity

  • Sexism

  • Income inequality

  • Lack of access to healthy food

  • Poor housing quality

  • Discrimination

There is no amount of psychotherapy or coping skills that a person can engage in to ever fix their threat to survival. With clients that I worked with in the past who struggled to make ends meet, most of the work that I did with them was centered on connecting them to resources so that they could feed their families and survive. With clients that experience racial trauma, we created space in our sessions to bring healing while also connecting them to their support system. Many people don't realize that many mental health challenges are a result of systemic issues that were listed above. As an MFT, I will always advocate for my clients in order for me to support systemic change.

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