Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You

Managing Anxiety As Young Christian Adults

Have you ever wondered, “Where is all this anxiety coming from? How do I handle it all?” If so, tune in now—this episode of Vantage Point is for you!

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Bro. Felmar Serreno


Brother Felmar Serreno: Hello everyone, welcome to Vantage Point where we have honest conversations about the challenges of today, what we face in life and see what the Bible says on how to deal with them. 


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Vantage Point 

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Despite so many changes
Let’s move forward together
This is

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Vantage Point 


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Before our discussion, here’s a recap of things we’ve been through


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Source: NBC News

Breaking News: First U.S. Case of Deadly Mystery Virus Confirmed


Narrator: The first confirmed US case of the contagious coronavirus now in Washington State 


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Source: Global News


Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: We have, therefore, made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: We will be denying entry to Canada to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents.


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Source: The Washington Post


News Reporter #2:  Seeing protesters overcome the police. The police are now running back into the Capitol building.


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Source: City News


News Reporter #3:  Some truckers met with Tory leader Erin O’Toole, Friday. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in isolation. 


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Source: DW News

Woman: No, mental health is not going good. 


Woman #2: [In German] I have been sad a lot, I must say. 


Woman #3: [In German] I’m lonely, yes, and often very sad. And I can’t really sleep very well anymore either. 


Man: [In German]I know people who actually had suicidal thoughts. 


Anne-Sophie Brandlin: It’s been over a year now that the world has been dealing with COVID-19 and its devastating ramifications.


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Source: BBC News


Man #2: I tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday. 


Woman #4: I tested positive for coronavirus last week.


Man #2: Learning, it’s been an uphill struggle. There is no in-person contact hours.


Woman #5: These three and a half weeks I’ve been in my flat have felt about three years. 

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Vantage Point 


Brother Felmar Serreno: With me on the show is Natalie Fitzpatrick and JR Dongalen. Nat and JR, your reactions please on the video we just saw.

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Natalie Fitzpatrick


Natalie Fitzpatrick: It’s heartbreaking to think about how deeply so many lives have been affected throughout this pandemic. How many have lost a loved one, some more and others have suffered from severe illness…

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Topic: Managing Anxiety as Young Christian Adults

Natalie Fitzpatrick: … and feel this deepening stress or anxiety that comes with all the rising tensions that continue to go up around the whole world.


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JR Dongalen

JR Dongalen: Nat is right. You know, it leaves you numb and overwhelmed hearing those numbers when you really stop to take it in. I mean, there have been moments where I’ve felt really overwhelmed. You know, it’s another devastating blow that the pandemic has caused in the world. And it’s, you know, a big reason why there’s the decline of our mental health or, you know, a rise in anxiety disorder. 


According to data gathered from January to June 2019. Through the National Health Interview Survey in the United States. 


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In 2019, 11% of adults were reporting symptoms of anxiety disorder. In January 2021, 41% of adults were reporting symptoms of anxiety disorder. The pandemic has impacted the mental health of Canadians, with youth experiencing the greatest declines. 


“Young people are particularly vulnerable to the disruptions the pandemic has caused, and many are being left behind in education, economic opportunities, health and well-being during a crucial stage of their development. 


JR Dongalen: They saw that 11% of adults were reporting symptoms of anxiety disorder, that number rose to 41% in January 2021. Statistics show that in Canada, the pandemic has impacted the mental health of Canadians with youth experiencing the greatest declines. Mental health says that young people are particularly vulnerable to the disruptions that pandemic has caused, and many are being left behind in education, economic opportunities, health and well being during a crucial stage of their development.


Brother Felmar Serreno: Now let’s talk to someone who knows more about anxiety and mental health. We welcome to the show, Janelle Velo. Hi, Janelle, and welcome to Vantage Point. If you could, please tell us a little bit about yourself and the work that you do.


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Conscious Parenting Coach

Janelle Velo

Janelle Velo: Hi, Brother Felmar, Hi, Nat. Hi, Jr. Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me as a guest on Vantage Point. I’m so excited to be here and talking about this topic in particular. 


A little bit about myself, I graduated from the University of British Columbia and then I went on to do post graduate studies under the mentorship of Dr. Shefali. She’s a world renowned psychologist, and I graduated in New York from her Coaching Institute. So now I work in private practice as a conscious coaching practitioner and I work with individuals, couples, families, all who are working through dealing with and healing from childhood and intergenerational trauma.


Brother Felmar Serreno: Well, thank you for joining us today, Janelle. And congratulations on your achievements and the work that you do and the service that you do, working with families on a regular basis. 


Now, based on your experience, addressing anxieties and families working with youth. Tell us more about the rising anxiety in youth nowadays. Why is this happening?


Janelle Velo: Yeah, well, as we know, peer interaction social groups, this is all a big and critical part of adolescent development. And so with the isolation that’s had to happen during this whole pandemic, we’re seeing not only new anxiety arise in youth…

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Topic: Managing Anxiety as Young Christian Adults


Janelle Velo: …but also a triggering and exacerbating of pre-existing underlying emotional, mental health issues, not only with youth as individuals, but maybe in their family home environment that families were dealing with prior to COVID. 


So if we look at anxiety, the root word is from the word “ango,” which means to constrict. And so anxiety is what happens when someone feels who they are, at  their cor,e is not worthy and is not enough. And so they start to disconnect from their authentic self, they start to constrict and suppress their true voice. And then they start to try and become what they think the world wants them to become.

And so we see a lot of youth struggling with outside expectations and pressure coming from their home, from their families, from school, from society at large. And as you can imagine, this is very difficult. And this is a lot of pressure, it’s causing our youth to find it difficult to move forward with confidence and certainty. 


I’ve worked with a lot of young people and without fail, they’ll always say two things to me, one, I don’t know who I am. And two, I don’t know what to do with my life. And so they have this, this fear, and they’re paralyzed, and they don’t know how to move forward and make decisions for themselves, because they’re so inundated with the loud voices and noises of the world around them.


Brother Felmar Serreno: So Janelle, if I may summarize, in simpler terms, if I may, based on your field of study, a lot of the anxiety that the youth are going through, is due to this need to meet expectations from parents, from society, and other institutions, and even needing validation from them. Well, what’s one piece of advice that you could give to anyone, especially the youth, who are listening in on our discussion today?


Janelle Velo: Yeah, to anybody who’s dealing with anxiety right now, what I want you to know is that you are not your anxiety, you are not broken. If anything, your anxiety speaks to the brokenness of this world. Anxiety is a very normal response to all of the abnormal events that are happening on a global scale right now in our world.


Brother Felmar Serreno: Natalie, if we can go to you in connection with what Janelle just shared with us about anxiety. Are you seeing this today? Like, based on your personal observation or discussions you’ve had with peers? Do you see this rising anxiety in the youth nowadays?


Natalie Fitzpatrick: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I think one of the big ones, especially, that I talked about a lot with my friends, during the pandemic, or at least when it first started was this huge feeling of cabin fever, you know, a lot of us got confined through lockdown. So we were stuck at home, whether that was by ourselves or with our families, for a much longer period of time than we were originally used to being with them. 


So doing that, and being in that environment, whether you’re working from home studying from home, it just felt like there was so much more attention brought to our habits, or to our mood swings, or you know, not to mention our own flaws, like we get inside our heads about the littlest details. And I felt like that often led to things like feeling irritable, or, you know, suffocated at home. And I think that also probably led to a lot of feelings of anxiety amongst myself and even some of my friends,


Brother Felmar Serreno: Natalie, if you could share with us, what are some strategies that have worked for you, when it comes to dealing with anxiety?


Natalie Fitzpatrick: First off, I think in times when I feel most anxious, I find that breathing becomes a lot harder to just naturally take a breath without thinking about it. So my breath becomes faster, it becomes shallower. What I try to do to, I guess, combat that in a sense, is to take a break and just slow down my breath, you know, maybe let out a really deep sigh to get that stress off my shoulders. 


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Topic: Managing Anxiety as Young Christian Adults


Natalie Fitzpatrick: But I think another thing that really also helps me relax and get my mind off of things that are bothering me is just being involved in activities, for example, with CFO of the Christian Family Organizations, being with brethren and other people, having that social environment. And just enjoying time together, that quality time, even doing online fitness activities, or being able to just play games together online, and seeing other people happy. I feel like that energy is sort of contagious. And I really feed off of that. And it helps with, you know, trying to stick through the tough times or whenever it does get a little bit rough. And it feels, in a sense, encouraging.


Janelle Velo: Yeah. And I just want to take a moment to pause there and say that what Natalie mentioned is so very important. Having a safe space where there are people who will accept you unconditionally, who will lend a supportive and helping ear to listen to you without judgment can be so helpful and such a wonderful resource.


JR Dongalen: What I’ve experienced myself, heard from friends and loved ones, you know, especially lately during the pandemic, you know, it stems a lot from, you know, the pandemic, obstructing a lot of future plans, like decreasing social activity, like I can’t go out and see friends, you know, missing out on awesome and fun events that, you know, we’d have on an annual basis. You know, there’s also the fear of getting sick, you know, I caught COVID, twice, actually, you know, losing someone also, you know, the social battles happening all over the world with discrimination, hate crimes, war, social media comparison. I mean, the list goes on and on—that itself leaves me speechless. Sometimes, you know, I mean, it’s been almost two years since they’ve shut down the world. And, you know, the fact that we had a global pandemic, like, we really have to, like sit here, soak that in and kind of reflect,


Brother Felmar Serreno: I wonder who amongst our viewers today, listening in on this discussion, are also feeling the adverse effects of the pandemic. True in several parts of the world, if not majority, restrictions are lifting. But many people are still dealing with the effects that the pandemic has brought into their life. Did you also have to deal with cabin fever? 


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Topic: Managing Anxiety as Young Christian Adults


Brother Felmar Serreno: And now there are broken relationships amongst friends, or within the family and we don’t know how to fix it. Or do we feel discouraged,  because like what JR mentioned earlier, those plans or goals that we’ve set, have been put on pause? Or is something else triggering our anxiety, and we don’t know what to do about it? If your answer is yes to any of those questions, then we invite you to take this advice now. It comes from the Bible. I’ll read for you what is stated in the book of James, chapter 1 and the verse is 5, this is what it says,


If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. 

[James 1:5 The Message]


Brother Felmar Serreno: So if you’re looking for answers to whatever may be triggering your anxiety, what should we do? According to the Bible, turn to God. So, don’t turn to alcohol, or gambling or a mere night out? No, we should turn to God. How can we turn to God? We’re taught, pray to the Father. 


Now why is it that we should turn to God because He loves to help. The Bible says, Now when can we be sure that God will listen to our prayers, and that He will help us? Here’s another Bible verse. In the book of Psalms, the chapter is 28, the verses are 7 and 2, 


The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary.  

[Psalm 28:7 & 2 New Living Translation]


Brother Felmar Serreno: So we can be sure that God will listen to our prayers, when we put our trust in Him. How can we be sure that God will help us? The Bible teaches, I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary. The Lord’s sanctuary being referred to here is the place of worship, where God’s chosen ones worship Him. So when we worship God, we pray to Him, and we trust in Him, what will God do for us?  According to the Bible, God will be our strength, He will help us and He will fill our heart with joy. And that’s why we prioritize the worship service.


Now, JR, as a member of the Church Of Christ, and as a young person yourself, what would you say to a fellow brother or sister in the faith, who is striving to break free from their anxieties?


JR Dongalen: You know, I want to put it out there first. You know, whatever you’re experiencing, I hope that you put your faith in God to help you get through this mental, physical or spiritual rut that you’re in. I can’t speak for someone else’s experiences, I can’t say what the right or wrong thing is to do. Or, you know, whatever helped me in the past might help you now—those types of things. 


The main thing I recommend is prayer. Other than that, try dedicating time to things that you love, you know, working out, you know, it’s that’s something that I was able to finally do when, you know, the mandates lifted a little bit and that’s helped me, you know, improve my mental health, you know, writing, drawing, playing video games, self-care. Allow yourself to unwind, you know, take your mind off the struggles of today with your favorite hobbies, you know, following up on our prayer with positive steps towards the things we love. You know, hopefully your anxieties and struggles will slowly fade.


Brother Felmar Serreno:

Well, thank you, Jr, Natalie and Janelle, for joining us in our discussion. We’ll see you all next time.


Natalie Fitzpatrick: Give us a thumbs up below if you liked this episode. And don’t forget to tag and follow us on Instagram for more content. Hit subscribe for future episodes. See you next time!


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Managing Anxiety As Young Christian Adults