Anxiety looks different for everyone and is often closely associated with fear. Fear is "the emotional response to real or perceived imminent threat." This is slightly different from anxiety, which is the "anticipation of future threat." Anxiety comes with a range of emotions from worry to panic. Obsessive or intrusive thoughts can hinder concentration and cause disturbances in sleep and even irritability or muscle tension.
At Faith and Hope, we emphasize evidence-based interventions to help those we serve overcome the thoughts, emotions, and beliefs that underlie anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help one practice healthy thought patterns and reframe worries. There are times when Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can be used to process difficult or traumatic memories that contribute to anxiety or the fight-or-flight response. Most importantly, we emphasize the role of prayer and God's Word. The book of Psalms has many well-known examples of turning to God in prayer and seeking His presence:
"I will fear no evil, for you are with me...." (Psalm 23)
"The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?" (Psalm 27)
" I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." (Psalm 34)
As our Heavenly Father, He knows our deepest worries and fears. Even more than we ourselves understand. God knows our troubles and needs. Jesus addressed anxiety when he said,
"...do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'... your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." (Matthew 6)
Peace comes not from knowing what the future holds, but from trusting our Heavenly father and knowing Him. In Paul's letter to the Philippians, we find these words:
"The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4)
We count it a privilege at Faith and Hope to pray with our clients that they would experience peace.
What you can do:
Write one of these verses on an index card or set it as the lock screen on your phone. Review it throughout the day.
Read one Psalm in the morning and one at night. Keep a journal of verses that stand out to you.
Consider meeting with a counselor for more support, understanding, and addressing anxiety.
By: Shawn Buice, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern
*Definitions taken from The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed)
*Bible verses quoted from the New International Version.