Fear and anxiety can have a devastating impact on the quality of life for those who have it, particularly true for those who go untreated. In an excerpt from Tim Clinton’s ‘Anxiety & Fear’ he shows us how we can learn to diffuse the symptoms to help us regain some control over our lives.
“While most people experience fear as a negative emotion, fear has a positive component. If you find that you have turned down a one way street and see a car heading directly at you, fear triggers an autonomic response that sends a signal to your brain to “flee” the potentially dangerous situation.
Fear becomes a problem when a person becomes afraid of things that are not real or when the feeling of fear is out of proportion to what the person is actually experiencing.
Fear is an emotion that draws someone into a self-protective mode. More often than not, fears are related to what a person perceives as a threat to his safety and security. He may fear losing his job, having his home burglarised or having conflict in a relationship.
Anxiety is a constant fearful state, accompanied by a feeling of unrest, dread, or worry in which the person may not be aware of what is creating the feeling of fear. Anxiety is aroused by a number of factors: External situations (viewing the nightly news, fast paced lifestyle) Physical wellbeing (lack of sleep, blood sugar imbalance) Learning (parents who were highly anxious) Trauma (situations that may be similar to experiences of the past that caused great pain)…”
Quotes about fear and anxiety:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 4:6-7
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
Unless fear, worry, and anxiety are honestly faced and worked through, people can end up in a pattern of avoidance — organising their lives around people and situations that they must avoid.
— Archibald D. Hart
Fear and anxiety are defused by knowledge. The more a person can defuse the perceived threat the less anxiety he will experience. Generally, a person battling anxiety or fear has established an irrational belief system that is creating anxiety for him/her. Try to gain an understanding of what has contributed to the anxiety.
Most anxiety reactions are learned behaviour. Be intentional in your efforts to encourage yourself and develop hope that you will be able to overcome the anxiety or fears.
Anxiety can be contagious: Those who experience strong anxiety tend to elicit anxiety reactions in those who are around them. You need to be aware of your own anxiety level and how you personally cope with anxiety when it occurs. Be patient with yourself as you sort through the feelings of fear. Changing patterns takes time.
- Thought Patterns
Encourage disputing of negative thoughts and irrational beliefs with the truth of Scripture.
- Focus on God
- Help the counsellee move his/her focus from the fear to the character of God (1 Peter 5:7).
- God wants the counsellee to trust and relinquish all fears to Him.
- Keep thoughts on God in order to have peace (Isaiah 26:3).
- Watch for Triggers
Assist the counsellee in trying to minimize activities and input that induce anxiety.
- Moving Forward
- Help the counselled learn from setbacks and resolve to continue to face down the fears.
- Gently encourage the counsellee to take risks.
- Urge the counsellee, when becoming afraid, to move his/her focus on the external world and others rather than the internal feelings of anxiety.
- Focus on the solution, not the problem (Matthew 14:22-23).
Assist the counselee in finding supportive, positive relationships.
- Be Patient
- Remind the counsellee that growth takes time.
- God will work in your counsellee life to overcome the anxiety that is keeping him from living life to the fullest.
- Remind the counsellee to try to keep an eternal perspective.
Both faith and fear sail into the harbour of your mind, but only faith should be allowed to anchor.
Tim Clinton – Anxiety & Fear
Where to Get Help in Australia
Talk to your doctor who can point you in the right direction.
Visit CCAA to search for a Christian counsellor near you.
Visit ACA to search for a counsellor near you.
Free 24/7 Counselling Services
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
Headspace on 1800 650 890