< Back to Spiritual Growth

Diagnosis: Anxiety — Pinpointing the Source of Your Worry

Nov 19, 2018 |

Recent studies suggest that over 40 million Americans suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. That number, which represents roughly 18 percent of the population, probably doesn’t surprise you. Anxiety is practically a natural byproduct of the culture we live in.

A Steady Stream of Bad News:

Blame the 24/7 news cycle. Positive stories—the kind that ease your mind and make you feel good about the human race—work well as fillers and occasional features, but they don’t keep people watching. Outrage and catastrophe are what draw viewers. So networks deliver a steady stream of graphic images and dire reports designed to make you fear your safety, your way of life, your country and the future of the human race. Washed away in the endless tides of breaking news are Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.”

Social Media Addiction:

Blame social media. If Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are to be believed, most of the people you know …

  • look fitter, happier and healthier
  • travel to more exotic locations
  • eat more photogenic food
  • rub shoulders with more famous and attractive people
  • have more successful spouses and kids
  • lead far more exciting, fulfilling and purpose-filled lives

… than you do.

If you buy into the myth that social media reflects reality, you may convince yourself that your life somehow pales in comparison to other people’s lives. You may wrestle with feelings of discontent or inadequacy. You may wonder what you’re doing wrong. That’s when anxiety tends to rear its ugly head.

Real Life Stress:

Not all anxiety is triggered by distorted reality, of course. Sometimes anxiety is an understandable reaction to an exceedingly troubling situation. Perhaps your student debt is ballooning beyond your ability to repay it. Or you realize you can’t support your family on your current salary. Or a loved one suffers a catastrophic illness. Or the IRS notifies you that you’re being audited.

Our culture is like a minefield of anxiety. One wrong step can have catastrophic consequences. What’s a person to do?

The wisest course of action is to defuse the mines that surround you. If you eliminate (or even reduce) their destructive potential, you can begin to create a safer environment for yourself.

Three ways you can defuse your minefield of anxiety.

1. Schedule regular social media “cleanses.”

Eliminating social media from your life completely may not be a practical solution. But giving yourself time away from it certainly is. Periodic weeklong cleanses, in which you shut down your accounts and spend time away from your screens, can do wonders for your emotional health. Think of them as anxiety detox sessions.

2. Stay engaged, but not enraged.

Turn a discerning eye toward the online news sites you visit or the television newscasts you watch. Pay attention to their efforts to provoke anxiety through sensationalism or rhetoric. Stay informed, but guard yourself against emotional manipulation. If you start to feel overwhelmed by negativity or hopelessness, balance your news gathering with more upbeat stories. Take control of your news consumption.

3. Dig down to the roots of your anxiety.

No two people experience anxiety in the same way—or for the same reason. Depending on your situation, your anxiety may be the result of

  • a fear of abandonment
  • a fear of failure
  • a traumatic event in your past
  • the death or loss of a loved one
  • an upheaval in your normal routine

or something else entirely.

Triggers for your anxiety may involve anything from crowds to your child’s academic struggles. If you’re not sure where your anxiety comes from or what triggers it, talk to a counselor or therapist. The more you understand about your enemy, the better equipped you’ll be to battle it effectively.

11 comments on “Diagnosis: Anxiety — Pinpointing the Source of Your Worry

  1. Cheryl Botha says:

    This is a great blog-thank you. God has recently healed me of anxiety and I am currently looking for resources for myself to encourage and speak to others one on one or in a small group. A copy of this would make a great starter when sharing my journey with someone. Is there any way I could please copy it and print it out for my collection or give me a quick way of joining this blog without going all the way through the email every time to access it. Bless your work Thomas Nelson Bibles and the person that writes these blogs which I have just stumbled on today. My husband was looking for a NKJV Bible to buy and post to a stranger he met at a work outing. This young man is admitted he was not saved. He seemed keen as my husband spoke to him about reading the KJV Bible to go back to his roots and rid himself of bitterness. My husband wants to buy a NKJV. I know the price of the NKJV of Spirit Filled Bible is $42 dollars but don’t know what’s inside it. I don’t know the price of the NKJV Study Bible which seems great. Please let me know the price in an email. Thank you. Cheryl

    1. John.Andrade@harpercollins.com says:

      Thank you for sharing this! It’s very encouraging to hear how God is using our work. You can bookmark the Thomas Nelson Bibles blog. That will help you check the site often as new posts are added regularly. As for the Spirit-Filled Life Bible, it is available at a number of retail stores. We have set up a web page (https://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com/spirit-filled-life-bible/) on our site that gives you more information on the Bible and where you can purchase it. The price might be different between retailers according to sales. You can find the same information on the NKJV Study Bible at this web page – https://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com/nkjv-study-bible/. I hope this helps. Thanks again for your comment. Blessings!

  2. Emily says:

    This was very timely and helpful. Thank you!

  3. Godson says:

    Great timely word from the mercy’s seat.. Thanks greatly. It blessed my soul.

  4. Becky Witt says:

    I desperately need prayers for anxiety and PTSD. I have suffered for years.

  5. Fred says:

    I recently awoke in a panic attack in the middle of the night and I thought I was going to die. Living alone was not helpful at all. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, or get enough air into my lungs. The air I could breathe did not feel fresh, and I would walk outside in the mid 30’s temperature. Back inside I would try to lay down but that would only last minutes before I was back up and nervously pacing around. The episode lasted four horrible hours. At different times I felt my heart go hot, at one time I felt it go cold. At one time I was putting cold water on my face…and at another I would be putting warm water on my face. The whole event felt very claustrophobic. And yes, from the moment I awoke, I cried out to God and Jesus repeatedly. The event subsided and I passed out from exhaustion and slept for one half hour…got up and went to work. My heart was sore and still is tender at times. Toward the tail end of the event, I texted two women who I knew/ know are monsters of faith: both of whom did not get the messages until later in the day: both of whom donned the arm our of God and prayed for me. But for me, just knowing I sent out a plea for help…helped tremendously. All that being said, I daily suffer from a flux of anxiety and depression. Not sure if anyone has advice or can help, but figured I would try reaching out. Thanks

  6. Vive says:

    Just what I needed as I prepare myself for my mammogram tomorrow. God’s timing is awesome.

  7. Tina says:

    This is an excellent blog. Anxiety has become a “generic” word that gets thrown around. It is real and progressive (it gets worse). It causes other problems including clinical depression. It can become (what I call) a disruption in our connection with God. The mind feels like a fog of thoughts….creating new habitual thinking. Negative habitual thinking. A constant focus, study and meditation on God’s word & the lessons about anxiety that are in the Bible can nourish the positive pathways in the brain….that remove the “static” from our connection with God and the Holy Spirit. So we can hear and focus on God’s word! It’s truly the way God made our brains. If you study Neurology and the brain, you see that God clearly designed our brains to habitually focus on his Word. To….make it a habit. It can change what anxiety does. I have struggled with anxiety for over 20 years. But…by keeping my connection with God flowing, I pray & meditate. The answers (sometimes medical) become so very clear. I have been to many doctors and in my opinion without The Spirit, we cannot truly find peace. Your blog was so insightful and this is truly a consequential problem. I would love to help others that are struggling because it is a mind/ body/ spirit connection. (And I could go on and on) 🙂 . Thank You for being here! It matters…..

  8. Bob Foster says:

    I’ve been a house painter for almost 40 years and a good one too. Out of nowhere I got anxiety so bad I feel it shooting through my body previous to a job. It starts the day or night before a paint job and continues through the night. In the morning I almost physically vomit with anxiety. If and when I finally make it to work I’m fine. Really? I’m a strong proud hard working Christian man! Heal me Lord.

  9. Terri Hunt says:

    I have struggled my whole life with anxiety, as a child I went through emotional and physical abuse. As an adult I still struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. It’s hard, but with God as my heavenly Father somedays are better than others and I never feel alone because I lean so hard on God. I wouldn’t make it without him. Lots of prayers and reading God’s word. My prayers are with anyone who struggles. Take one day at a time, one step at a time.

  10. Misty O'grady says:

    I have OCD, ADHD, and RSD (rejection sensitive dysphoria), so I really appreciate knowing I am not alone. Trusting God at his word is a bit challenging, but I have to remind myself to take things one day at a time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *