Understanding Anxiety:

Please watch the below video on Anxiety:

Journal Questions for Anxiety:

1. What were your assumptions about anxiety before

watching the film? How would you now define anxiety?

2. Seth says, “I have come to love the truth.” What do you think he meant by this in relationship to his struggle
with anxiety?

3. In order for us to learn to “love the truth”, we must identify the lies. Share a story of someone who was able to overcome the lies in their life with the truth?

4. Several people mention that anxiety is “perceiving fear when it is not a real or active threat.” Why does this make anxiety difficult for a nonprofessional to diagnose? Why is this important to know as you walk with a friend who is struggling?

5. Kevin says that the onset of anxiety can be as early as 10 to 12 years old and 1 in 5 people struggle with it. How can our schools and churches be better prepared to meet this need?

6. Twila mentions that her first attack occurred in sixth grade, but she was unable to verbalize it to anyone.
She says, “I just felt bad.” If children don’t know how
to articulate struggles with mental health, how does this make it difficult for schools or parents to adequately help a young person? What are the repercussions of misdiagnosis for these students?

7. Twila says, “Recovery is not that I will not ever have another attack, it means that the next time it comes, I will be prepared.” Why is this statement so important? How can schools and churches help our students and congregations be “better prepared”?

8. Justin mentions that the struggle with people asking for help is that our society pushes independence. Do you agree that this is one of the major factors that keep people from asking for help? What are other factors?

9. Justin says, “If someone is vulnerable, all you have to do is maintain a space where they can be open and honest. You don’t have to fix them.” Can you share a time you did this well? Or maybe a time you did not? What have you learned about how to best create a “safe space” for others to share their struggles?

10. Meredith mentions, “When shame or struggle is shared, its power diminishes.” Can you name a time you have seen that to be true in your life or in someone else’s life?

11. A theme throughout this film is the power and necessity of good community in order to maintain mental health. How is your church, school or business doing with creating a healthy community? What is missing? What needs to happen more or less in order for people to feel safer to share their struggles?

12. Make a list of encouraging things you could say or do as you walk with a friend who is suffering with anxiety.

13. Take some time and discuss the Bible verses below and how they relate to a Christian perspective on anxiety.

14. Take some time and pray for your own mental health and for the health of those around us.


Scripture Reading:

  • Genesis 3:10
  • Philippians 4:6
  • 1 Peter 5:7
  • Psalm 8:4
  • Matthew 10:29-30
  • Matthew 6:25-27

What to do with Anxiety, from Counselor, Bethany McGuire:

Anxiety and Coping Strategies


  • The most common mental illness in the US, affecting nearly 1/3 of adolescents and adults.
  • Biological threat response – a natural reaction if:
    • Proportional to context
    • Time-limited
  • Can become disruptive to life
    • Irrational and/or out of proportion
    • Situational avoidance
    • Numbing/distraction (emotional avoidance)
    • Panic attacks
  • Often linked to depression
    • Feeling hopeless/overwhelmed
    • Feeling numb/empty
  • Some possible signs of anxiety: 
    • Biological: Shortness of breath, digestive upset, tight muscles, headaches, heart racing, sleeplessness, hot or cold
    • Psychological: Rumination, compulsive behaviors or thoughts, worry, phobias, avoidance of emotions/situations, intrusive memories
    • Social: Withdrawal, inflexibility/control, people-pleasing
    • Spiritual: Perfectionism, feeling ashamed/unworthy, discomfort with lack of control in life, legalism (e.g., trying to earn God’s approval)

Coping Strategies: 

Biological – 

  • Exercise – helps raise serotonin levels in your brain, i.e. it makes you happier 
  • Limit/eliminate caffeine 
  • Limit alcohol 
  • Hydrate – plenty of water each day
  • Get plenty of rest (8 hours of sleep whenever possible)
  • Diet – eat healthy, unprocessed foods; avoid excess sugar
  • Consider natural supplements such as magnesium, theanine (green tea), and GABA 
  • Some people benefit from medication for anxiety, though it is ideally not meant to be a long term solution


Psychological –

  •  Breathing
    • Anxiety tends to create rapid breathing, not enough oxygen
    • Deep, slow breathing can calm your body, including your brain
    • Breathe with belly, not chest
    • Inhale/pause/exhale longer than inhale (count if needed)
  • Breathing exercises – Box Breathing/Mind Dump 
  • 5 to 1 Sensory Grounding exercise 
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  • Calm, Safe place exercise 
  • Gratitude practice 
  • Practicing mindfulness – internal and external awareness 
  • Become aware of automatic negative thoughts and begin to challenge those (Take your thoughts captive! 2 Cor. 10:5)
  • Journaling or other creative/expressive outlets 
  • Leave space (margin) in your schedule – do not over-commit yourself
  • Process any unresolved, past trauma with EMDR or other proven trauma therapies

Social –

  • Be in community versus isolation
  • Spend quality time with friends and loved ones
  • Reach out to someone who can help 
    • Family member or friend
    • Pastor or mentor 
    • Counselor 
    • Crisis Line (if in danger of hurting yourself) 1-800 -273-TALK
  • Give yourself a break from social media regularly – Unplug!!
  • Practice healthy communication and conflict resolution skills 

Spiritual –

  • Prayer (includes prayer journaling)
  • Meditating on Scripture
  • Examine any tendencies toward perfectionism or legalism 
  • Practice gratitude and giving grace to oneself and others
  • Have a sabbath ritual – It’s ok to rest! 

Cycle of Anxiety video: