You get the picture. Anxiety disorders are the most common emotional struggle most people deal with today. Anxiety affects between 20 - 30 million people. Why such a dramatic rise in the incidence of anxiety disorders? Many people live too disconnected, carry too much debt, and live at too fast a pace. We live in a society that expects instant gratification, we want things to happen instantly. People were designed by God to live at a much slower pace and have more peace in our lives. Instead we behave like supersonic jets, multi-tasking, and constantly running on a supercharged stream of adrenaline. We end up paying for this lifestyle through constant fear, worry, and anxiety.
Fear: is a natural and necessary alarm system that God put into us. It is a red flag that goes up in our mind that tells us that something is wrong and we better do something to change or eliminate the situation in which we find ourselves. God designed us so that we would feel fear which is a normal response if it is justified. The problem is that people also feel fear over imagined or potential outcomes to the problems in their lives. The list of potential problems in our life is endless. Some common fears include: death of a child, loss of a marriage, loss of a job or our health, being shamed, rejected or humiliated publically. Then there are the phobias: fear of heights, fear of closed places, fear of the dark or fear of spiders or snakes are a few of the most common phobias.
Worry: on the other hand is not an emotional but a mental activity that produces anxiety. We call it "Stinking Thinking", and it is really a very unhealthy exercise in futility that attempts to solve situations that are beyond our control. Instead of praying or letting go of things that they cannot control, worriers obsess about how to gain control over the problem. They mentally talk to themselves about how terrible it is and imagine all kinds of awful outcomes if the problem is not solved immediately. Over a period of time worriers will begin to believe that if they worry hard enough, they'll solve the problem.
Anxiety: keeps people from relaxing or resting. It is a pervasive, long-term inner feeling of nervousness and uneasiness. Some of the symptoms are: muscle tension, rapid heart beat, dry mouth, increased blood pressure, jumpiness or feeling faint, excessive perspiration, feeling clammy, and anticipation of trouble or feelings of impending doom.
Some of the more common diagnoses for anxiety include:
(1) Generalized Anxiety Disorder, (2) Phobias, (3) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, (4) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, (5) Panic Attacks
How Do We Deal With Anxiety? There are many techniques for dealing with anxiety. Some include Meditation (especially on Scripture), Relaxation Techniques, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Guided Imagery.
In the Scriptures the Apostle Paul gives us some good advice in Philippians 4:6-13 he tells us to "Be Anxious For Nothing." While he was confined in a Roman prison, he didn't know when or if he would be released or put to death. Yet when he wrote this letter to the church at Phillipi this is what he told them: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." We can learn a lot from this scripture.
If we keep our thoughts on things that are good and are grateful for what we already have, meditate on God's WORD, and praise Him for the noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable things we have in our lives; we will not be so anxious about the bad that "might possibly happen in our lives." Our mind is a very powerful thing but, like a computer, it can only do one thing at a time. Our mind works very quickly when we are thinking but we cannot think about two things that are diametrically opposed to each other, at the same time. We must learn to think on the good so that the bad doesn't get in and bring fear along with it.
If you are struggling with Anxiety of any kind and believe that you have tried everything that you know to get relief without any success, please call for an appointment if you are in our local area of South Carolina. There is help for you if you are willing to learn some new methods of dealing with your anxiety or depression and put them into practice. May God Bless You With His Peace