I recently came across an article entitled, Why Worry? Simple Steps To Prevent Anxiety. But I have to say I frankly get anxious when I see any title that starts with simple steps. While making tea and glass cleaner may have simple steps most of life isn't so easy.
Anxiety may have complicated roots that require something deeper than just telling yourself to feel better or taking medication to slow down the panic.
In fact, some people have lived with anxiety for so long, the thought of overcoming it seems like a huge mountain that they can never scale. Ir seems to me the word steps in the aforementioned piece may be the wrong word entirely.
Meaningful change is usually found through living out life with new principles and ways of thinking and that process may take different turns and orders depending upon the person. What might be a helpful process for one may not work as well for another.
However, if you do struggle with unusual, abnormal amounts of anxiety, there are some fundamental concepts, not steps, that you would be wise to consider and even embrace.
1. Medication is often helpful and necessary. Don't start by asking for meds but don't be afraid to let your doctor subscribe them either. Often a little medication helps you get your struggle under enough control so that you can begin to deal with the underlying issues that are at the core of your panic.
2. Most anxiety comes from wrong thoughts about oneself. For example, if you believe that you must always impress your boss, then you will spend a lot of energy worrying about whether you will make a mistake, whether you've done enough or whether you'll have a job next week.
Or if you think that you must always be right, you'll be anxious a lot about what others think of your ideas or how to defend yourself before the people you care about most.
It will take some time to develop new ways of thinking, trying them out, thinking some more and trying them again and again. It will usually be slow and that's OK. This is not a three step process either! New thinking is typically developed by growing in your faith and relationship with God, counseling with a qualified therapist or reading about where your true worth is found. Jesus wisely said, the truth will set you free.
3. Overcoming anxiety will require facing some things you fear. If you're anxious about flying, then at some point you're going to have to fly. If snakes make you nervous you will eventually have to get near some snakes. While changing your thoughts are key, testing those new thoughts is essential.
If you're anxious at work to the point of never taking a break you need to figure out when you're going to take your first break and discover that you're still OK. Then do it.
If you're always anxious about speaking in front of others you need to find an opportunity to talk before some people. Sure, start small, get some help, practice and all that. But you must go where you fear the most. That's the only way you'll get real victory.
Facing fears is a powerful tool, lifechanging much of the time.
So if your anxiety seems like a mountain remember there really are some ways to get over it. It will take time, you will no doubt need some help and you'll probably face some fears that you'd rather avoid. But never quit climbing. Remember, the view from the top is worth it!