“But This Is REAL To Me! How Can You Say “Be Anxious For Nothing”?!?
Anxiety IS Real
The Bible gives multiple verses and passages in which anxiety is mentioned or addressed. The statement “Be anxious for nothing…” is part of a larger passage in which the Apostle Paul encourages the Philippian church to do several things to help alleviate fear, worry and anxiety including:
- Rejoice in the Lord (Phil 4:4)
- Pray & give thanks in every circumstance (Phil 4:6)
- Continually go to God (Phil 4:6)
The result, Paul assures, is that the “peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart…] stands guard over your heart & mind in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7) However, even the most disciplined person, Christian or not, has anxious moments. But for some, anxiety is a daily reality.
The “Illusion of Fear”
In this 16 minute video, produced by Compass and Light, one suffer describes his experience as an “illusion of fear”. Each of us experiences fear in one way or another. A case of the ‘flop sweats’, ‘butterflies’ in your stomach, shortness of breath, even shaking are signs of anxiety. A sub-conscious fear may bring on anxiety. Or symptoms could be brought on by nothing at all.
So, I Am Not Being “Anxious For Nothing”?
No, you aren’t. And you are not alone. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) estimates that over 40 million people experience anxiety or live with anxiety disorders. In addition, people with anxiety are more likely to go to the doctor and/or be hospitalized for a psychiatric illness. Anxiety disorders are treatable, however about 36% of people who suffer from anxiety actually seek help.
Meredith Spatola, Counselor with the Barnabas Center, explains anxiety is brought on when the amygdala floods stress hormones to the brain. The frontal lobe, responsible for rational thought, is ‘shut off’ by these hormones. When the amygdala is turned on too much, as in situations of constant high stress, the brain perceives a threat and puts the body on alert. The result is anxiety.
And The Wheel Goes Round
Yes. The folks at Therapist Aid created a video to explain the cycle of anxiety. Basically, there are four steps:
- Short Term Relief
- Long Term Growth
But there are ways to break the cycle. Of course, and most obvious is to face the fear. Do the hard thing, as it were. But that’s not as easy as it sounds. If your coping strategies become more along the lines of using excuses to avoid the fear, such as drinking, emotional eating or just avoiding the situation altogether, you are setting yourself up for additional problems. Learn how your body copes with stress and some physical effects of stress.
What To Do?
Get help. You aren’t the Lone Ranger. Independence has it’s advantages but not in the realm of mental health. Find a reliable and trustworthy counselor, therapist or even friend to help you through the fear. April is recognized as National Stress Awareness Month. Seek help
“When the shame is shared, it’s power diminishes”
Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder from ReThink.org
Understanding Anxiety Disorders from the ADAA
Steps To Coping With Anxiety from Very Well Mind