Anxiety and Coping with our Fears

Anxiety and Coping with our Fears

Anxiety is nervousness, being worried or stressed. Men may disguise their anxiety and channel it through workaholism, anger, and frustration. Women are more open about their fear and anxiety. Women are worrisome and express anxiety through fretting, or in feeling shaky. They tend to have anxieties that hold them back or hold them up from doing things they need to do.

When the anxiety becomes more of a panic, we tend to develop a phobic reaction to things that make us anxious, and our world becomes smaller. If you’re anxious in a certain setting–for example, if you’re anxious about talking to certain groups of people–you’ll begin to eliminate those settings from your life.  But the anxiety is not going to go away. So you’re probably going to find yourself eliminating more and more because you haven’t really gotten to the root of the anxiety. You’ve just tried to eliminate where the symptoms manifest. 

Common Roots of Anxiety

For many, the issue of control is at the root of anxiety. Their known fears are often expressed in areas they can control. What can I control? How can I keep the thing from happening that I’m afraid will happen? Interestingly enough, what’s underneath it all usually is a fear of something they cannot control; that they’re more deeply afraid of; that they’re not conscious of; or that they haven’t yet made the connection with. They may be afraid that their child is going to die, or that they will be humiliated or shamed in some way – and all of that gets translated into these symptoms.

Oftentimes anxiety that comes as a result of unresolved issues in our childhood will emerge later on in our adult years when we can no longer keep a lid on things. I think for a long time we can operate. We’re running fast. We’re growing up. We’re in school. We develop a false persona where we can hide things from ourselves – and then later on, it begins to crack and crumble. Some of the things we kept under wraps and in control, we can control no longer; and that’s where anxiety starts to emerge for a lot of people.


If you’re anxious in a certain setting–for example, if you’re anxious about talking to certain groups of people–you’ll begin to eliminate those settings from your life.  But the anxiety is not going to go away. So you’re probably going to find yourself eliminating more and more because you haven’t really gotten to the root of the anxiety.

In addition to that, a lot of people have a predisposition towards being anxious – they’re a little more high strung and they cope by being very performance oriented. They stay busy, but when their lives begin to shift and they don’t have the same structure, the anxiety emerges. 

How Do We Cope or Mask Anxiety?

  1. Eat– I’m so stressed, I could eat this whole cake! Food is our medication. Food is accessible, easily available, and instantly gratifying.
  2. Being busy – We’re always on the go. We may subconsciously be thinking that if we’re busy, then we don’t have to feel the feelings we don’t want to feel.

Dealing with Anxiety

The funny thing about fear is that the more you fear FEAR, the more powerful it becomes. So then, our instinct is to want to stop feeling afraid. After a while, we become afraid of feeling afraid, and so we try to conduct our lives in such a way that we don’t have experiences that make us feel the anxiety. But that’s when we get into trouble. Here are some steps that can help in dealing with anxiety:

Steps:

  • The first step is to know that fear in small doses and in normal doses is something that is survivable.
  • We don’t need help getting rid of the scared feelings. We need help in being able to cope with our fears and feelings.
  • We need to begin to face our limits and our losses – face our powerlessness. Integrating all of that into who we are as a person helps us combat our fears and anxieties.
  • Turn over to God what we cannot control, and let Him be God in those areas.

To deal effectively with our fears and anxiety, we need to face the truth about ourselves and grow into a place where we can accept who we are.

A lot of people dealing with anxiety have this ideal image that they are supposed to be more than they are. They think that if only they could get certain things under control, then they would be this great person. What’s important to realize is that we don’t need a ton of GREAT people running around in the world. We need people who are TRUTHFUL about themselves and are more accepting. We then become more able to entrust ourselves and our limitations to God and receive His promise of being a refuge and safety in the midst of our fears and anxieties.

Do you need help getting connected?
Join us at one of our Weekend Workshops.
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Just like David, the Psalmist, we can say, “This I declare of the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I am trusting Him.” (Psalms 91:2)



Steve has a CD available on Fear & Anxiety, you can get it here.

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Steve Arterburn

Steve Arterburn is a nationally and internationally known speaker and has been featured in national media outlets such as Oprah, Good Morning America, CNN Live, The New York Times, ABC World News Tonight, GQ and Rolling Stone.Steve is a best-selling author of books such as Every Man’s Battle, Healing Is A Choice, and The 7-Minute Marriage Solution and recently co-authored Take Your Life Back with Dr. David Stoop, and The Mediterranean Love Plan, with wife Misty. Along with Dr. Dave Stoop, Steve edited and produced the #1 selling Life Recovery Bible. With over 8 million books in print he has been writing about God’s transformational truth since 1984, and has won three Gold Medallions for writing excellence.
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Steve Arterburn is a nationally and internationally known speaker and has been featured in national media outlets such as Oprah, Good Morning America, CNN Live, The New York Times, ABC World News Tonight, GQ and Rolling Stone. Steve is a best-selling author of books such as Every Man’s Battle, Healing Is A Choice, and The 7-Minute Marriage Solution and recently co-authored Take Your Life Back with Dr. David Stoop, and The Mediterranean Love Plan, with wife Misty. Along with Dr. Dave Stoop, Steve edited and produced the #1 selling Life Recovery Bible. With over 8 million books in print he has been writing about God’s transformational truth since 1984, and has won three Gold Medallions for writing excellence.

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