Anxiety is that painful sense of dread of some future event, and a fear that we will not be able to cope. We can feel restless, tense, irritated, over-talkative or simply withdraw and self-medicate with food, alcohol, binge on TV or become overly attached to someone makes us feel secure. Anxiety triggers are flight, fight or freeze response and can flood us with old and scary memories. Did you know that “fear not” is written in the Bible over 100 times.
Here are 6 ways to overcome anxiety.
- Name it and tame it. If feeling anxiety, the first step is to identify it. This puts you back in control instead of being overwhelmed. Normalize it. Recognize you are not the emotion. It is part of you, but not all of you. You don’t have to act on it.
- Watch your thoughts. Challenge your negative thoughts with the truth of Scripture. Notice when you feel anxious and discover what thought triggered the anxious response. Write it down and see your pattern so you are aware when it comes up.
- Eliminate dwelling on ‘What if’. This phrase is always future focused and fear-based. In Matthew 6:24 we are told not to worry about the future. All we get with ‘what if’ statements is Satan’s coming attractions.
- Let go of control. Eliminate the belief that everything in life must be predictable. Learn to expect the unexpected. Keep track for one week of unexpected events. It will help you react better next time.
- Examine your image of God. Do you think God is a bully, neglectful, hard to please, or too busy for you? These false views will produce anxiety. Ask God to help you become aware of any distorted image. The Bible tells us God is forgiving, compassionate, kind-hearted, and trustworthy.
- Replace Fear with hope: Hope is based on the certainty that God is faithful. Hope that rests in his Word is faith looking towards the future. God understands and loves you just as you are right now, and will take care of you. “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending” (C.S. Lewis)