Healing Comes In Many Forms
God did not take away my anxiety disorder that night as I lay face down on the bathroom floor of my apartment. He did not miraculously heal me from my anxiety in one instant act of extraordinary intervention. I didnt automatically stop having panic attacks. I still had to catch my breath and count to 10 in the middle of a work meeting to avoid a potential breakdown.
God didnt heal me instantly right on the spot. On the contrary, my experience wasnt one of immediate relief. It wasnt a miraculous healing that some encounter in church pews.
Managing my anxiety was a long and drawn-out process. It was the result of many months of intense counseling sessions and emotional energy. But in that process, I found relief. And I experienced healing.
It all started by going to speak a complete stranger about my fears where I learned about tools to help stop the onset of a panic attack. I slowly began to learn how to manage overpowering feelings of anxiety. As I accepted the fact that I struggled with a disorder, I began the frightening process of opening up to my family and friends. I took a step back and observed the bad habits I needed to break, and I even had to say goodbye to some unhealthy relationships. The process was anything but easy or formulaic, but it allowed me to slowly regain that peace of mind that Philippians talks about.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So did God heal me?
A Meditation To Create Space Between You And Your Anxietyjessica Morey
Simple Steps To Help You Cope With Anxiety
If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Anxiety involves feelings of worry, fear, and apprehension. Anxiety is typically experienced on cognitive, emotional, and physical levels. For instance, when feeling anxious a person may have negative or disturbing thoughts.
On an emotional level, one may feel scared or out-of-control. It is also common to experience severe anxiety through somatic sensations, such as sweating, trembling, or shortness of breath.
These symptoms are common for people who have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. People with panic disorder are typically familiar with the struggle of managing feelings of anxiety. It can feel as if the anxiety is taking over or completely out of ones control.
Does anxiety have an overwhelming pull in your life? Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to manage your anxiety. Listed below are 4 tips to help you cope with your feelings of anxiety.
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Focus On Something Less Anxiety
At times, it may be most helpful to simply redirect yourself to focus on something other than your anxiety. You may want to reach out to others, do some work around your home, or engage in an enjoyable activity or hobby. Here are a few ideas of things you can do to thwart off anxiety:
- Do some chores or organizing around the house.
- Engage in a creative activity, such as drawing, painting, or writing.
- Go for a walk or engage in some other form of physical exercise.
- Listen to music.
Consistent Bedtime & Afternoon Naps
My girlfriend asked me, Did you sleep good? I said No, I made a few mistakes.
I really cant overemphasize the importance of consistent quality sleep. Every anxious person Ive met has either been in denial about how little sleep they get, or theyre overlooking the fact that theyre going to bed at random hours every night.
One of my readers wrote this message to me after reading an early draft of my book:
When I began forcing myself to sleep eight hours a night, my physical health problems cleared up, my emotions balanced out, and my anxiety disappeared. My mind could function and that tight feeling around my eyes vanished. Eight hours of sleep is a miracle pill.
I was chronically in a severe sleep deficit, which took a major toll on my mental health.
The endless stream of digital information I was taking in every waking hour only compounded the problem. And because I kept going to bed at random hours, my mind never had enough time to shut down, relax, and digest everything that poured in during the day.
During the month I cured my anxiety, I made consistent sleep one of my highest priorities. The first thing I did was optimize my bedroom for ideal sleeping conditions. Here are the steps I took:
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Plan For Certain Scenarios
Pre-travel anxiety most often stems from the what if aspect of traveling. While no one can plan for every possible worst-case scenario, its possible to have a battle plan for some of the more common ones, such as:
- What if I run out of money? I can always contact a relative or friend. I can bring a credit card for emergencies.
- What if I get lost? I can keep a paper map or guide book and my phone with me.
- What if I get sick while on the trip? I can purchase travel health insurance before I leave or be sure my insurance will cover me. Most insurance policies include access to a list of healthcare providers in different areas of the country or the world.
Be On The Lookout For The Physical Signs Of Anxiety
The worried feelings that come with anxiety can seem hidden to everyone but the child trapped in the turbulence. That’s why it’s especially important for grown-ups to pay close attention to a child’s behavior and to look for the telltale signs of anxiety in children.
Anna, of Brampton, England, remembers when her 7-year-old son started having trouble at school.
“He was just coming home and saying his stomach hurt. He was very sick,” Anna says. When she followed up with him to try to get to the root of his stomachache, she says, “he did tell me he was worried about school, and he told me specifically it was a teacher that he was worried about.”
A stomachache, headache or vomiting can all signal anxious feelings, especially as a child gets closer to the source of the anxiety.
“You’ll see that they’ll have a rapid heartbeat. They’ll get clammy, you know, because their heart is racing,” says Rosemarie Truglio, the head of curriculum and content at Sesame Workshop. “They’ll become tearful. That’s another sign. … Anxiety is about what’s going to be happening in the future. So there’s a lot of spinning in their head, which they’re not able to articulate.”
Rachel, of Belgrade, Mont., says her 6-year-old son really doesn’t want to swim or go to their local splash park.
We heard this from so many parents: My child is terrified to do something that I know won’t hurt them, that they might actually enjoy. What do I do?
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Why Wont My Fear Go Away And Leave Me Feeling Normal Again
Fear may be a one-off feeling when you are faced with something unfamiliar.
But it can also be an everyday, long-lasting problem even if you cant put your finger on why. Some people feel a constant sense of anxiety all the time, without any particular trigger.
There are plenty of triggers for fear in everyday life, and you cant always work out exactly why you are frightened or how likely you are to be harmed. Even if you can see how out of proportion a fear is, the emotional part of your brain keeps sending danger signals to your body.
Sometimes you need mental and physical ways of tackling fear.
The Road To Recovery Can Be Slow And Messy
Ill be honest with you: Today I still struggle with anxiety from time to time. I still have those moments of uncertainty. My faith does not remove the voice of negative self-talk.
But I do have confidence in one thing: God meets me where I am. He has been with me every step of the way. From diagnosis to recovery. And looking back, I can certainly attest that I am not the same person I was several years ago as I sat in the doctors office discussing different side effects of antidepressants. I can confidently say that the worst is behind me.
When I hear that there is no room for God in the whole mental health debate, I want to remind those people of something that I think is one of the key issues at the center of this whole conversation: God loves people in their humanity and we are to do the same of one another. Despite our perceivedweakness, despite the things that would hold us back, despite our human tendencies to fear and to feel insecureGod still uses us to inspire, to lead and to love others. He uses anxious people.
I am the most peaceful I probably have ever been on my journey, but every now and then, I still feel a little off.
But its encouraging to know that I dont have to be perfect.
I dont have to feel perfectly.
I can just be.
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Six Simple Habits That Defeat Anxiety
Deanne Repich, Director: National Institute of Anxiety and Stress
If youre like most anxiety sufferers, you probably spend much of your day wrestling with physical symptoms, feeling afraid, or even hiding your anxious feelings from others. When stressors arise your racing heart, trembling, dizziness, obsessive thoughts and other symptoms take over.
Anxiety can keep you feeling trapped and once you feel this way, its difficult to know how or if you can ever feel better.
If you suffer from anxiety, take heart. Studies show that simple anxiety-reducing habits can go a long way toward improving how you feel.
Here are six simple habits you can use to defeat anxiety and take back control of your life.
Breathing Exercises For Anxiety
Mindful breathing is part of the foundation of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. It involves diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing, also known as belly breathing, which is very helpful in calming the body because its the way that you naturally breathe when asleep or relaxed.
How to Practice Mindful Breathing
It might be helpful to start off practicing mindful breathing for five minutes once a day and build it up from there. Maybe youll find that you can add a second or even a third 5-minute session, practicing mindful breathing at different times of your day. You can get additional benefit if you gradually extend your mindful breathing to 10, 15, 20, or even 30 minutes at least once a day. Let this be a part of your practice of mindfulness that you look forward to doing, a special time for you to center yourself and return home to your being. Feel free to use an alarm clock or timer you can that feature a pleasant sound.
Explore your breath:
- Take a moment right now to be mindful of your breath. Gently place your hands on your belly.
- Breathe normally and naturally. When you breathe in, simply be aware that youre breathing in when you breathe out, be aware that youre breathing out.
- Feel your belly rise and fall with your breath. Now take two more mindful breaths and then continue reading.
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If Someone Has A More Serious Anxiety Problem Avoid Stigmatizing Them
What can we do for folks with more serious issues? People experiencing things like panic disorder, depression mixed with anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or obsessional thinking may fear that theyre literally going crazy. Helping them may feel beyond your ability.
You can still be supportive in many ways. When someone is experiencing significant anxiety, its helpful to reassure them that your overall perception of them hasnt changed. Theyre still the same person theyre just suffering a temporary problem situation that has become out of control. Theyre not broken and who they are hasnt changed. To the extent possible, you can help the person stay connected to positive aspects of their identity by participating in or encouraging their interests and hobbies.
Sometimes, individuals who have chronic anxiety problems arent interested in changing. For example, you might be friends with someone who has agoraphobia or an eating disorder, but their condition is long-term and stable. In these cases, you can be accepting of that person so that they dont feel isolated. Being matter-of-fact about their limitations without excessively shaming them or insisting they should pursue becoming normal is often the best strategy.
Tip : Talk About Your Worries
It may seem like a simplistic solution, but talking face to face with a trusted friend or family membersomeone who will listen to you without judging, criticizing, or continually being distractedis one of the most effective ways to calm your nervous system and diffuse anxiety. When your worries start spiraling, talking them over can make them seem far less threatening.
Keeping worries to yourself only causes them to build up until they seem overwhelming. But saying them out loud can often help you to make sense of what youre feeling and put things in perspective. If your fears are unwarranted, verbalizing them can expose them for what they areneedless worries. And if your fears are justified, sharing them with someone else can produce solutions that you may not have thought of alone.
Build a strong support system. Human beings are social creatures. Were not meant to live in isolation. But a strong support system doesnt necessarily mean a vast network of friends. Dont underestimate the benefit of a few people you can trust and count on to be there for you. And if you dont feel that you have anyone to confide in, its never too late to build new friendships.
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