Are You Ruled By Anxiety Or Peace?
God wants to replace your anxiety with His peace. Ephesians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast your anxieties upon Him, for He cares for you.” And Colossians 3:15 says He wants the peace of Christ to rule in your heart.
Anxiety is a form of fear, which is a God-given human emotion. Healthy anxiety can save your life. It’s what triggers you to immediately jump back from a stick in the grass that might be a snake. But when anxiety starts to take over your life, it stops being a defender and starts being a ruler. And it’s a terrible ruler that kills your peace and happiness. It steals your ability to focus and concentrate, making you less productive. It destroys your creativity and your ability to hope for the best. When anxiety invades your emotional and physical space on a regular basis, your life become disrupted and even unmanageable.
Do you frequently have intense and persistent worries and fears about everyday situations? Do you experience sudden onslaughts of panic? Do your anxious feelings and/or panic interfere with your daily activities? Are they difficult to control? Are they disproportionate to the actual danger, and last longer than the situation deserves? Have you been struggling with these symptoms since childhood or youth? It is possible that you’re not dealing with normal anxiety, but an anxiety disorder.
Some of the symptoms of anxiety include:
Sense of impending danger or doom
Increased heart rate
Feeling weak or tired
Trouble concentrating on anything else
Avoiding things that make you nervous
If you’re worrying too much and it’s interfering with your work or relationships, if your anxiety is hard to control, if your worries don’t go away on their own or get worse over time, or if you have suicidal thoughts, it’s time to see a therapist who can help you.
Anxiety Affects Many People
Please realize that you are not alone. Don’t believe the lie you tell yourself that no one else has this problem and no one will understand, so you have to just deal with it by yourself. In every group of 10 people, 2 have problems with anxiety, and many of the other 8 have friends or loved ones who do.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in America. 40 million adults in the U.S. – around 2 out of 10 people – are impacted by anxiety disorders every year. Anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old. Untreated, these children tend to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social development, and engage in substance abuse.
Opening up and getting a support system will help you get better. Validation and support are like a miracle drug or an anchor in the storm for anxiety. You don’t have to face this problem by yourself.
You Can Have Peace
The good news is that anxiety disorders are highly treatable. Most people who suffer from anxiety and get treatment are able to reduce or completely eliminate their symptoms after several months of therapy, and many notice improvement after only a few sessions. You or your child are not doomed to live with anxiety from now on. Help is available. Sadly, only 36% of Americans with anxiety seek help, but those who do seek help get relief and go on to live normal, happy lives. And so can you.
You can be like the Apostle Paul, who wrote those words about not being anxious and having peace that passes comprehension. Did you know that he wrote those words from a Roman prison awaiting his execution? If ever there was a situation where anxiety would be off the charts, that was it. Yet, he had peace. No matter what your circumstances are, with God it is possible, to have peace.
Treatment For Anxiety
The two ways that anxiety disorders are treated is with medication and talk therapy. At Christian Counseling Associates, we don’t prescribe medication, but we excel at talk therapy. Some of our counselors use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to teach you skills to improve your symptoms.
Others use Exposure Therapy to help you gradually encounter the object or situation that makes you anxious so that you build confidence to manage the situation and symptoms.
Others use some form of Attachment Theory that uses the power of a safe and secure human connection to overcome the power of anxiety.
Others are trained in EMDR (eye movement, desensitization, reprocessing), which directs eye movements as you process distressing scenarios and shifting your focus to positive thoughts, causing anxiety to dissipate.
All of these treatments and others, do work to get out-of-control anxiety under control or eliminate it.
There are also lifestyle changes that can make a difference, such as:
Staying physically active
Cutting out nicotine, alcohol, and recreational drugs
Practicing stress management and relaxation techniques
Learning the power of prayer
Getting better sleep
A therapist can help identify some of the ways anxiety specifically affects you. Anxiety can be the result of something unresolved in your life or even some event that you haven’t fully recovered from, so it continues to cause emotional and physical reactions. Because you live with this on a daily basis, you may not see all the ways if affects you and how you could be free from it, but a therapist will! A therapist will recognize the pieces of the puzzle that are missing and help you discover, name, and place them in the right place so that the picture can come into focus and be complete.
Common Objections To Anxiety Counseling
“I’ve lived with my anxiety this long; I can manage it myself.”
This is what many people with chronic anxiety believe. But untreated anxiety takes a toll. Biologically, your body is designed to cope with anxiety in a variety of ways, the most common being the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Higher levels of cortisol lead to higher glucose levels, which cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hyperglycemia and diabetes. Overactive stress hormones can lead to a suppressed immune system which opens you up to a myriad of other physical issues.
“Counseling is for crazy people, and I’m not crazy.”
No, you are not crazy, but do you have the life you want? Is your anxiety a problem? Wouldn’t your life be more enjoyable without the immobilizing worries and fears, the panic attacks, the sweating, the digestive problems, and all the rest? What you’re struggling with is something millions of others are struggling with, and it is highly treatable. What’s crazy is not getting the help you need.
“I already know the cause of my anxiety.”
Maybe you do or maybe you don’t; but that’s only half of the equation. Maybe you think that you get anxious because you’re so busy or life is so overwhelming right now, and maybe that’s so or maybe it’s not. But there is something deeper that you’re unaware of. It could be shame or fear or depression or any number of things that are not apparent to you. But even if you knew exactly what the cause of your anxiety is, do you know what to do about it? If you do, why aren’t you doing that? Why are you still struggling with anxiety? The truth is, you need help, and there is no shame in admitting that. In fact, admitting you need help is the first step to healing.
How Can You Get Started?
You can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our trained Christian counselors who will explain what therapy will look like and answer any questions you have. If you feel like it’s a good fit, then you will make an appointment for your first counseling session, and you’re on your way. To schedule your consultation, click the “Schedule Appointment” button below, or you can call us at 972-422-8383 today.