‘Soothe Your Nerves’ gives women ways to overcome anxiety

Deborah Pritchard

Associate psychology professor Angela Neal-Barnett spoke at the Women’s Resource Center Friday afternoon to a group of women for a program called “Soothe Your Nerves.” A second session will be held on Feb. 23. ELIZABETH MYERS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

In a small room in the Women’s Resource Center, 12 women sat at a table waiting to learn about ways to overcome the anxiety in their lives.

Angela Neal-Barnett, associate professor of psychology, and Bernadette Blount Salley, master musician and composer, gave a presentation Friday afternoon on the many anxiety-creating stressors in women’s lives, especially in the workplace.

“Activity and stress in the workplace sort of spills out in our own lives,” Neal-Barnett said.

In the workplace, Neal-Barnett said many women experience generalized anxiety. They may also experience social anxiety – the fear of being criticized or evaluated negatively in social situations.

She said people are “stuck in a rut of anxiety and fear, fearful of what other people will think. If you live in fear of being evaluated, what kind of life is that?” she asked.

Neal-Barnett said there are many causes of anxiety. Some of the major causes are stress, trauma, hormones and family.

“Many people react to anxiety in the same way their family does, and that can keep us anxious,” she said.

Neal-Barnett said there are four main ways to overcome anxiety.

A woman first has to learn to call it what it is, she said. “It’s not stress; it’s not nerves; it’s anxiety.”

Neal-Barnett said another thing people need to do is change the way they respond to situations.

Women also need to see themselves as the person they want to be – the person they were meant to be, Neal-Barnett said.

She said women also need to say “so what?” more often.

“So what I didn’t get promoted?” she said. “We really begin to understand that the things that seem so monumental . really aren’t.”

She also said women should create a theme song.

“Just like we have a song that reminds us of our first love, we can have a song that reminds us to drive out anxiety and fear,” she said.

“Anxiety is treatable,” she said. “You can reclaim your life.”

During part two of “Soothe Your Nerves,” which will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Women’s Resource Center, participants will get a chance to create their own theme song to help overcome anxiety. Contact the Women’s Resource Center at (330) 672-9230 to register. Participants should bring a brown bag lunch to the presentation.

Contact student life reporter Deborah Pritchard at [email protected].