How to Stop Worrying in a World Filled with Anxiety
Lisa began her day by announcing, “Good Morning!” in a groggy, insincere voice. She tossed and turned all night over her father’s unexpected diagnosis, not knowing how to stop worrying about what might happen. Her anxiety builds and sweat beads on her upper lip as she mentally reviews her to-do list.
No REM sleep and too many alarm snoozes mean no quiet time. She expects a pumpkin spice latte with an extra shot of espresso to replace her spiritual need. She tries to catch the weather on the local news only to be bombarded with a crisis overseas or a brutal murder.
Quickly, she turns off the television to spare what is left of her children’s innocence as they get ready for school. She grabs a protein bar on the way out the door and dreads the traffic she will encounter on the way to work due to her late start.
Her negative internal dialog begins. “There is so much to get done and no time. I can’t find peace. This world is crazy. Does everyone feel overwhelmed? This is too much! Do I have an anxiety disorder or is it my hormones? Why can’t I figure out how to stop worrying? Is it time to get counseling?”
Everyone has different ways of coping with anxiety in their lives and figuring out how to stop worrying. Lisa is unsure if her anxiety is normal anxiety or if maybe it has crossed over into a general anxiety disorder. She has gone from having a few sleepless nights to many over the course of the last month. She is premenopausal so she has blamed her anxiety and sweating on her hormones. Maybe it is just hormones, but maybe it’s General Anxiety Disorder.
Symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
The National Institute of Mental Health describes the symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder as:
- Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
- Being irritable
- Having muscle tension
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep
Other symptoms of anxiety may include:
- Muscle tension
- Social isolation
Since Lisa exhibits several of the symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder, it would be wise for her to schedule an appointment with her physician. In order to properly diagnose Lisa, the physician will follow these steps:
- Do a physical exam to look for signs that anxiety might be linked to medications or an underlying medical condition
- Order blood or urine tests or other tests, if a medical condition is suspected
- Ask detailed questions about symptoms and medical history
- Use psychological questionnaires to help determine a diagnosis
- Use the criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association
As a Christian, Lisa has access to more than physicians. What could she do immediately to find some relief from her anxiety? She could pray. She could open her Bible to 1 Peter 5:6-7 and find hope from the Good Counselor.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:6-7
To cast means to throw off. Lisa needs to throw off her anxiety. The anxiety is a tool of her adversary. Peter instructs further in verses 8-10.
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. – 1 Peter 5:8-10
Lisa could just be struggling and suffering from ordinary complications of life, but if symptoms persist that seem to worsen regardless of prayer and healthy life choices professional treatment is available and should be considered to prevent Lisa from becoming clinically depressed.
How to Stop Worrying: Natural Remedies
There are natural remedies that Lisa can incorporate into her life. First, her physician should rule out any medical causes for anxiety such as her thyroid.
Natural remedies include:
- Casting your cares on the Lord
- Scripture memorization
- A healthy diet free of caffeine and processed foods
- Aromatherapy such as lavender essential oil
- Forest bathing-time spent outdoors
- Time spent with animals
- Deep breathing exercises
- Deep sleep
- Chamomile tea
- Green tea
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2
Imagine Lisa sipping her chamomile tea before bed as she looks over a Bible verse that she is memorizing. She sets her alarm an hour early so that she can enjoy a healthy breakfast and spend quiet time alone with God.
She skips an unhealthy gossip laden lunch with coworkers and has a healthy salad that she brought from home followed by a nice walk on the greenway surrounding the office complex. As she dodges traffic on the way home, she is listening to a Christian podcast or recites that bible verse. She is taking every thought captive.
These are ways that she can put 1 Peter 5:8 into action.
- She’s of sober spirit, alert: No caffeine, no alcohol
- She’s resisting her adversary: No gossip with co-workers
- She’s standing firm in her faith: Prayer, Bible Study, Memorizing God’s Word
Christian Counseling for Anxiety
Still, there are times when normal anxiety crosses over into something more and there is no shame or disgrace in seeking a clinically trained Christian counselor.
Lisa may find that regardless of all of her attempts at conquering her anxiety naturally, medication and psychotherapy is necessary. Medications are diverse and depend on the anxiety disorder.
Or, Lisa may have another anxiety disorder that can only be diagnosed by a psychiatrist or specialized counselor such as: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Phobias, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
If you’re struggling with how to stop worrying, feel free to contact our office today to schedule a counseling appointment.
Many times Christians avoid specialized treatment due to the stigma attached to having a mental illness or disorder. Christ died on the Cross so that the children of God could walk in freedom. Shame was nailed to the Cross so that Christians wouldn’t have peace in their eternal salvation. Shame has been exchanged for peace and freedom.
Having an illness is not a sin. The sin is living under daily condemnation that is self-inflicted or assumed due to another person’s faulty belief system. Own the freedom that has already been paid for by Jesus. Lay aside every encumbrance and sin. Run with endurance. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of faith.
“Stressed Out”, Courtesy of Energepic.com, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Anxious”, Courtesy of Alexander Dummer, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Freedom”, Courtesy of Olga, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Approaching the Tree”, Courtesy of Vlad Bagacian, Pexels.com, CC0 License