Anxiety, fear, stress, worry, good old fashioned frettin’…whatever you want to call it, it gets in the way and hinders your progress and growth. Chances are good, if you want to be a leader or get promoted at work, this will keep it from happening. If you want to move forward, anxiety and fear of the future will impede your progress and leave you frustrated and angry.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety is the most common mental affliction in the United States, affecting nearly 20% of the population – 40 million people. As a doctor of pastoral counseling psychology, I can tell you that that statistic is likely pretty conservative and may be much higher. We all know someone or its we ourselves who struggles with anxiety. Not the occasional worry but the chronic fretting that impedes nearly everything we do. Even when it’s more isolated it can still be a real challenge to move past.
What’s at the Root?
The root problem is fear. Anxiety is emotion-centric and caused by fear of the future and more specifically, what we can or cannot control about it. It is not depression, although it can lead to depression. In the podcast, I draw clear distinctions between the two. Because anxiety is rooted in your emotions, it is caused by your thinking, which is directly connected to what you believe. As you listen, you will learn the importance of knowing what you believe and why you believe it.
There are two fundamental perspectives to consider when dealing with anxiety and worry: the world’s view and the biblical view. The truth you place your trust in affects how you think, which determines your actions and helps determine your emotions. The world tends to get emotions ahead of thinking, allowing and encouraging your thinking to be dictated by how you feel. That’s a problem.
How to Kill it!
Understanding how you cognitively process beliefs, faith, thinking, actions, and emotions is a key component to getting the upper hand and putting down anxiety. There are very subtle differences between the world’s perspective and a biblical perspective that make this all the more important to understand. Realize that anxiety is a reaction and your reactions are based on learned behaviors. What that means is you can shift out of an anxious existence by being proactive instead of reactive. You can take the initiative and change your current reality by being intentional about what you believe and how you behave. Your attitude and your actions – you totally control – and you can decide to act in moving forward instead of waiting for life to happen to you. Secondly, since reactions are learned, they can be unlearned. You can change – you can grow – you decide – you can be taught – you can study – you can learn. You have the potential to transform your life.