Newly-crowned Miss Universe Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua shared some tips on how to effectively manage anxiety, which rose significantly in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Palacios, 23, told ABS-CBN News' Dyan Castillejo in an exclusive interview that she plans to continue her mental health advocacy after bagging the coveted Miss Universe crown, which also comes with a huge platform to inspire women around the world.
"I started that project because I have anxiety... From my experience, I want to help the people with tools to help them manage their emotions because at that moment, I didn't have the tools," she said.
"My mission is to bring people the right tools so that they control their emotions, to bring a better society, emotionally healthy society," she added.
The World Health Organization defines anxiety disorders as excessive fear and worry and related behavioral disturbances, with symptoms sometimes severe enough to result in significant distress or significant impairment in functioning.
Palacios said that when anxiety kicks in, one must first "breathe."
"First, breathe. And count. 1, 2, and think about the present, about what is happening in that moment, no past, no future, all that matters is now. These are the only things you need to concentrate, to be comfortable, to feel great," she shared.
"The other one is to play puzzle. I love playing puzzles and other mental games because you can concentrate on that moment and organize all the pieces," she added.
Palacios on Sunday made history when she won the Miss Universe 2023 beauty pageant, held in El Salvador, making her the first representative from Nicaragua to win the title.
—With reports from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News