Anxiety in the modern world is a troubling phenomenon that seems to be growing with each year that passes.
The tension and unpredictability of the current global climate seem to be the major contributing factor. Still, examples of anxiety as part of the human condition can be observed as far back as Biblical times.
Thankfully, as is often the case with Scripture, with its many descriptions also come many solutions.
When anxiety appears in our lives, we can refer to the Divine word in the Bible regarding mindfulness, meditation, and other mental health practices to ease our suffering. Let’s take a look at how you can effectively battle anxiety as a Christian through God’s grace.
Anxiety is considered by most to be the negative emotions of nervousness, worry, and general unease. The feeling of anxiety is generated in part by our nervous system as a stress response whenever we encounter a perceived threat.
However, beyond the simple emotional response of anxiety exists a cluster of anxiety disorders characterized by a persistent feeling of dread that lasts for more than two weeks with no obvious cause.
Examples of these anxiety disorders include depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorders, OCD, and social anxiety. These are serious psychological illnesses that negatively impact all areas of a person’s life. They typically require serious interventions, which can include treatment by a medical professional.
Unfortunately, national prevalence data indicates that nearly 40 million people in the United States (18%) experience an anxiety disorder in any given year.
So, it’s more important than ever to recognize anxiety in yourself and others and learn how to ease these feelings through a variety of different psychological, medical, and spiritual techniques.
As with many of the other troubling occurrences throughout life’s journey, you can seek strength and guidance from the word of God by referring to the Bible.
It’s comforting to know that even way back during Biblical times, people were experiencing the same anxieties we go through today, caused by stressors that range from existential to circumstantial.
Thankfully, warming words and thoughts can be found throughout the Bible in the form of stories, sermons, and His divine word.
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul,” it says in the Book of Psalms, 94:19. No matter what’s happening in your life, a constant you will have throughout your highest highs, and your lowest lows is the enduring comfort and protection of God. Seek Him in times of distress, and you will find consolation.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear.” This is a phrase you may have heard before, originating from a popular sermon from the apostle John, 1 4:18.
The meaning of this sermon underlines the importance of the circular nature of God’s love. Perfect love is an expression of God’s love for us, which is only complete (or perfect) when reflected back onto Him. When you’re fearful about your fate, consider the scriptural notion that the very same fear can be easily cast out by not only accepting God’s love but by reflecting it to Him, your family, and the world.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9.
Just because you are a dedicated and faithful Christian does not mean that life won’t throw obstacles your way. We are reminded so often throughout the Bible that God is there with you wherever you may go and through whatever situation you are in. He is always present to imbue us with the strength and bravery we need to face any situation.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,” 2 Timothy 1:7.
Anxiety can easily manifest itself in the form of self-doubt. Fear and unease about what’s to come is what defines anxiety, leading to low self-belief. But, as we can understand from this passage, among the many gifts God gave us is an unwavering spiritual power and clarity.
A final spiritual affirmation you can repeat to yourself when you feel struck by anxiety comes from Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,”
Beyond comforting words and stories, there are also many practical exercises you can try which have been proven to fight anxiety.
Here are a few examples:
Meditation practice involves controlled deep breathing and concentration to on a sense of inner peace. The benefits of meditation include more calm, focus, and even tolerance of physical pain. Start a daily meditation practice by sitting in silence for 10 minutes, focusing on your breath, or using guided meditation audio.
Mindfulness is slightly different from meditation, referring to a state of consciousness that promotes stress relief and a general sense of well-being. Mindfulness practice usually revolves around non-judgmentally recognizing the plain facts of the present moment and can include a mental body scan, breathing exercises, and observing physical sensations.
Sometimes the best solution is the most obvious one. Getting plenty of high-quality sleep, eating natural and healthy whole foods, staying hydrated, and limiting your use of social media can work wonders for your mental and spiritual health.
Anxious thoughts are a normal feature of the human condition.
We encourage you to practice good health care by trying out simple anxiety relief strategies like mindfulness-based stress reduction, meditation techniques, and maintaining your health.
But remember that comfort can always be found in the Grace of God, and He gave us all the tools we need to overcome even the direst circumstances.