Anxiety is another word for feelings of excessive fearfulness. Some people feel anxious about just about everything, especially when they are not living with healthy balance in their lives.
Anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing, and we all experience it to some degree. In fact, anxiety is very healthy when it cues us about something in our lives that is not going well. It creates the internal “fight or flight” response in situations we perceive to be dangerous. We need this God-given adrenaline help, so when we are fleeing an attack or an all-around bad situation, we are focused on survival, not sleeping or relaxing.
After someone has experienced a difficult situation or a threat of a difficult situation, like severe embarrassment, being abandoned, going through trauma, abuse, an accident, or another severe loss, they may live in fear of the event recurring (or occurring at all), and that fear can stop them from living successfully.
Only when somone realizes God is in ultimate control, and has their best interest at heart, can they fully release their circumstances into His very capable hands. We all must realize we are not fully able control our circumstances, but someone wiser, more powerful, and who made us well, can do so. Then, and only then, can we be free to do our best with what we’ve got, to live well and to the fullest, and to take time for self-care so we can keep moving forward.
If we listen to others’ anxieties, practice negative thinking, and apply statistics to our own lives, we are sure to experience sad or fearful thoughts more than is necessary. The only time it is necessary to feel anxiety is when we are fleeing dangerous situation, or when we need to perform and we experience a healthy, “I am getting ready to do my best,” anxiety experience, like the athlete just before a race, a student just before an exam, a mother preparing to deliver a baby, or a worker approaching an intimidating but important challenge on the job or interview.
People feel overly anxious for a variety of reasons, and sometimes the issues overlap. Here are a few things that can cause anxiety:
- Not feeling like you have control of your circumstances.
- Not feeling understood by anyone.
- Not being well-rested.
- Not having a firm foundation in Christ.
- Unhealthy eating habits.
- Hormonal imbalance and other physical issues.
- Genetics and/or growing up in an environment of worry, abuse, or chaos.
- A lack of boundaries.
- Feeling threatened in current situation.
If you are experiencing an excessive amount of anxiety, here are a few tips to reduce it. First of all, get self-care each and every day, in all three of the areas of loving yourself well; emotional, physical, and spiritual. Emotional self-care can be achieved in a variety of ways, such as by having a hot bath, a half hour of pleasure reading, a back massage, or anything that makes you feel good within healthy limits. Physical self-care, such as a brisk walk, eating to thrive, a short jog, or a class can give you the brain function and energy you need, and spiritual self-care, such as through Bible study, listening to an inspiring message, or prayer time, brings you into relationship with God, who can comfort anxious thoughts like no other. Only when you take care of yourself by getting proper self-care in a reasonable manner can you expect to have overflow for helping the others in your life.
In short, stay balanced. The importance of having a good diet and getting enough sleep are known to decrease symptoms in people with anxiety disorders. Regular exercise has also been scientifically proven to be effective. Incorporate time with the Lord into your day, and surrender what you cannot control to Him. Ask Him to help you in the areas where you know you are not succeeding, such as stopping negative thoughts and behaviors, and offer your day to Him before the moment it begins.
If you need help, don’t forget to talk to a trusted mentor or seek counseling from someone you can trust. Reflections Counseling Center has a team of therapists who are trained to treat anxiety with clinical tools which bring symptom relief and a caring teammate for the healing journey. We also refer to a wonderful group of physicians who are trained specifically in the treatment of anxiety, if the individual or family cannot find relief in another way, such as if the anxiety has taken such a strong pattern of brain function that the person is completely immobilized or needs extra medical support during recovery.
The great news is that there is ALWAYS hope for the treatment of anxiety, and many times, treatment can be very enjoyable since an individual is learning to take better care of themselves, and to be healthier in the ways they relate to God, themselves, and others. Speak life into yourself and others. Remember, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad.” Proverbs 12:25
If you need further help or resources for the treatment of anxiety, call Reflections Counseling Center at 94-1301-8420 or visit our website at www.reflectionscc.com.
Here is a wonderful resource from NAMI, if you or a loved one are experiencing anxiety. Don’t be afraid to get help from a trusted professional. • The National Alliance on Mental Illness• 1 (800) 950-NAMI• http://www.nami.org
What are anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that cause people to feel excessively frightened, distressed, or uneasy during situations in which most other people would not experience these same feelings. When they are not treated, anxiety disorders can be severely impairing and can negatively affect a person’s personal relationships or ability to work or study and can make even regular and daily activities such as shopping, cooking or going outside incredibly difficult.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in America: they affect around 20 percent of the population at any given time. Fortunately there are many good treatments for anxiety disorders. Unfortunately, some people do not seek treatment for their illness because they do not realize how severe their symptoms are or are too ashamed to seek help.
What are the most common anxiety disorders?
• Panic Disorder – Characterized by “panic attacks,” panic disorder results in sudden
feelings of terror that can strike repeatedly and sometimes without warning. Physical
symptoms of a panic attack include chest pain, heart palpitations, upset stomach,
feelings of being disconnected, and fear of dying.
• Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) – OCD is characterized by repetitive, intrusive,
irrational and unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or rituals that seem impossible
to control (compulsions). Some people with OCD have specific compulsions (e.g.,
counting, arranging, cleaning) that they “must perform” multiple times each day in
order to momentarily release their anxiety that something bad might happen to
themselves or to someone they love.
• Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – When people experience or witness a
traumatic event such as abuse, a natural disaster, or extreme violence, it is normal to
be distressed and to feel “on edge” for some time after this experience. Some people
who experience traumatic events have severe symptoms such as nightmares,
flashbacks, being very easily startled or scared, or feeling numb/angry/irritable, that
last for weeks or even months after the event and are so severe that they make it
difficult for a person to work, have loving relationships, or “return to normal.”
• Phobias – A phobia is a disabling and irrational fear of something that really poses
little or no actual danger for most people. This fear can be very disabling when it
leads to avoidance of objects or situations that may cause extreme feelings of terror,
dread and panic.
• Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – A severe, chronic, exaggerated worrying about
everyday events is the most common symptom in people with GAD.
Please call Reflections Counseling Center if you or a loved one are experiencing these highly treatable symptoms! 941-301-8420