How Do You Face Crippling Anxiety?

by Roger Barrier

Ever wake up with a pounding heart, racing brain, and knots in your stomach?

I hate anxiety. My body and brain are just convinced that the world is falling apart, that I’m going to die early, that I’ll lose all my clients, that something will happen to a loved one, and on and on it goes…

It’s way too easy to give in…to hide under the covers and cry. Or worse, to start really believing the lies my brain is yelling at me. The downward spiral is pulling me harder and harder.

But there is a way to survive. Notice that I didn’t say that there’s a way to beat it, to win, to overcome. No, for me, it’s a matter of surviving the onslaught to fight another day.

Here’s my “toolbox” for surviving anxiety:

1. I take daily meds. Thank God we live in a day and age where it’s possible to put a leash on the neurotransmitters that cascade through my brain and cause my body to hit “fight or flight” mode.

Please, never be ashamed to work with a psychiatrist and therapist. It’s impossible to think your way through a brain chemistry issue…get help so you can fight anxiety on a level playing field.

2. “Cast your cares on the Lord” (1 Peter 5:7). Speak your fears and worries out loud. Tell God exactly what you’re thinking and feeling. He already knows…but simply acknowledging your anxiety verbally can help you figure out the difference between truth and lies.

3. “Put on your shoes of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). Ask God to take away the anxiety, to help you know what’s true, and to fill your heart with His peace. He’ll answer. And you’ll know you’re not carrying all of the stress alone.

4. “Be still. The Lord will fight for you” (Exodus 14:14). Do something relaxing. I love yoga, swimming, reading a great book, or just playing fetch with the doggies. You’re NOT wasting time. Taking a break will help your brain and body reset, bringing you back to a place where you can actually function and be productive.

5. “I will sing of your love, for you are my refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 59:16). It’s no accident that God calls us to sing hundreds of times in Scripture. It’s literally the only activity where we use both sides of our brain equally! Talk about a reset. I don’t care if you just make a joyful noise. Singing will slow your heart rate, force you to breathe deeply, and quiet your racing thoughts.

I use every tool, every time. I’m not claiming that my anxiety disappears. I fall back in constantly. But this is how I survive to fight another day.

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