3 Things You Can Do When You’re Feeling Anxious

MicKenzie CrowleyFor Those Seeking Hope1 Comment

This article is written by MicKenzie Crowley, M.A. from the BCC staff.

If you’re experiencing anxiety – you are not alone! Everyone experiences fear. (Ps. 56:3b-4). [1]

You ​may be used to anxiety​ and have experienced it for a long time. I have experienced anxiety throughout my life at different points, not understanding what I was experiencing!

Sometimes​ anxiety​ ​sneaks up​ on us and catches us off guard. Maybe there’s a random trigger you didn’t expect, symptoms of stress you haven’t experienced before, or a difficult situation you’re in the middle of right now. Although experiencing anxiety feels overwhelming, there are ways to respond to fear well, and there are ways to learn the source of your fear.

1. Slow down your body

Often when we’re feeling anxious it shows up in our body. Scripture teaches that we will experience fear and our bodies will react to emotions (Mark. 16:8, 2 Kings 6:15-18, Prov. 12:25, 1 Kings 19:1-18).

You might notice:

  • Breathing starts to be difficult or shallow
  • Heart rate might start to race
  • Feeling sick to your stomach, or other symptoms

When we notice these changes, we need to ​slow down our body and breathe:

4-7-8 Breathing
First, exhale completely through your mouth, making a whooshing sound.
Next, close your lips, inhaling through your nose as you count to four in your head. Then, for seven seconds, hold your breath.
Make another whooshing exhale from your mouth for eight seconds.

As a side note, it is also important to remember that some physical problems can cause anxiety. A few examples might be postpartum, thyroid issues, etc. Your doctor may need to be involved to help you determine if there is something physical that needs to be addressed.

2. Remember God is with you.

Perspective is everything! God is close to us, and He has real power. Keep that perspective in mind, bringing everything to Him in prayer. (Phil. 4:6-7, Job 38:1-40:2, Is. 26:3-4).

One of my favorite stories of perspective is found in 2 Kings 6:15-18. Elisha’s servant was terrified, thinking that he and Elisha were on their own! [3]

The reality was that Elisha’s servant was missing a key piece of perspective:
“those who are with us are more than those who are with them” ​(2 Kings 6:16).

So when you are feeling anxious and thinking you are alone, remember that you have a powerful God you can trust – that perspective changes everything! You can turn to God in prayer, trusting Him when you don’t understand your circumstances.

3. Figure out what is true.

A lot of times the source of anxiety is the WAY we are thinking:

  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Assuming the worst
  • Trying to be perfect, etc. [4]

Other times anxiety is coming from WHAT we are thinking about:

  • Difficult experiences we’re not sure how to process
  • Current stressors or future concerns (job changes, a new school, etc.)
  • Believing we can create our own security (if everyone likes us, etc.) [5]

Instead of focusing on worst-case scenarios and half-truths, figure out what is true and focus on it:

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Phil. 4:8).

We can start to ​fight worry ​by making a list of true things – I’ll help you start here: My experience of anxiety has a source and there are people to help me figure it out; there is hope!

If you need help figuring out what is true, reach out! It’s a great privilege to be a part of the process with you, just as others have been a part of the process for me.

1) Anxiety in Teens Rising: What’s Going On? https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/emotional-problems/Pages/Anxiety-Disorders.aspx

2) How does the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique Work? https://www.healthline.com/health/4-7-8-breathing#How-does-the-4-7-8-breathing-technique-work?

3) Inspired by Priscilla Shirer’s book ​Armor of God

4) ​Supported by the faulty thinking explanation in David Murray’s book ​Christians Get Depressed Too

5) ​Supported by Stephen Ganschow’s article ​https://bethelweb.org/stress-the-disquieted-soul/

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