Anxiety is a huge challenge for many people. It is an obstacle that keeps them from moving forward with goals, keeps them from being close in relationships, and imprisons them. The intense fear that something bad is going to happen feels overwhelming and upsetting. Often, the things we worry about don’t even make sense to anyone else. Someone might worry about something going wrong on a vacation to the point where the vacation isn’t even relaxing. Another person might worry about being a failure in life, when she has earned A’s and B’s in school all along. Some worry that nobody will like them, even when they have a lot of friends. Anxiety is typically illogical, but still can be hard to control.
One of the best ways to help with anxiety is to rely on your faith. Most major religions teach not to worry. Some even call it a sin to worry. They all want you to focus on something bigger than that thing you are concerned with right now.
Even if you do not have a faith in a god, there are really good lessons to learn from religion on how to deal with anxiety. While you might not know to whom you are praying, pouring out your fears and believing something is out there that cares about you still is immensely helpful. Getting yourself into a community of people who care about you and the struggles you are facing will strengthen you. You might try a support group for starters. I know there are beliefs and prejudices some of you have towards support groups; there is a stigma about people who go to support groups. Those beliefs are generally wrong. You will find some of the nicest, most normal people in these groups. Going to a support group also gives you the opportunity to encourage someone else, which reduces anxiety as well.
Coming from a Christian perspective, God wants you to remember that he will shoulder your burdens. Jesus already took on all the punishment you deserved for every wrongdoing you committed, so there is nothing to be afraid of. You aren’t alone when you go through painful things because God doesn’t abandon you. Remembering that helps you hold on to a sense of peace and joy even in your darkest of days. Christianity also teaches us to go through things in community. If we are suffering, we are to share the weight of our sorrows and fears with others. When you have people supporting you and praying for you it makes a world of difference. Things are a lot less scary when others walk through them with you.
Psalm 28:8-9 says: “God is all strength for his people, ample refuge for his chosen leader; Save your people and bless your heritage. Care for them; carry them like a good shepherd,” (The Message Translation).
Facing your worries and then moving beyond them is definitely difficult. It is made even more difficult because we tend to walk through our anxieties by ourselves. Going through your pain in community, and in prayer, relieves some of the stress anxiety causes. Relying on God to guide you gives you strength and hope.
Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS