Christians and Anxiety

Friday Inspiration—Anxious? How to Find Your Way to Freedom. By Dr. Gail Brenner.

As many of you know from your own experience, anxiety can be overpowering. It’s like you’ve just dived into a big puddle of superglue. No matter how hard you try, there you are stuck in the middle of it. You just can’t figure out how to release its grip.

The mind loops in worry and fearful thinking, and the tension and agitation in your body won’t let go. It’s just plain uncomfortable.

When we’re caught in the grip of anxiety—or any form of suffering—we have two choices available to us:

  • We can stay stuck in the story of what’s wrong, telling ourselves how awful the experience is and justifying our point of view;

  • Or we can do something about it that aligns our understanding with the truth of who we are beyond the personal, separate self.

I love that this choice is available to us! We can continue to suffer or we can begin to find our way to peace. So let’s see how to do that. If you’re stuck in anxiety and pain, there has to be a narrative running in your mind that’s creating a problem.

But don’t take my word for it. Investigate the thoughts in your own mind when you’re anxious, and notice how they’re filled with judgments, comparisons, worries, and should’s.

What do these thoughts tell you about yourself? That you’re a victim, inadequate, and have problems that need to be fixed. Or if you’re like me, they simply tell the same story over and over that roots the anxiety even deeper.

An essential step to finding release from anxiety is to recognize the thoughts that are making you anxious. Notice how persistent they are and how you feel when you’re entertaining them.

Then stop feeding them with your attention.

There’s no magic, no fairy dust or special technique that will take these thoughts away. You just need to stop being interested in them as much as possible.

Distract yourself—by taking a breath, doing some jumping jacks, taking a big stretch, and orienting your attention to your environment in the present moment.

Notice what you’re taking in through your senses—seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Use your attention wisely to get curious about the details of what’s here and real right now, ignoring everything the mind is telling you.

Find a couple of things you feel grateful for to activate your essential capacity for love and well being. If someone else is with you, meet them with presence coming through your eyes.

With your attention in deep connection with the present moment, you’re simply here with what's real, alive and breathing.

It may take time and many journeys through this process. You might find peace for just a short time before the mind and body seize up again.

But it doesn’t matter. Don’t lose faith.

Anxiety doesn’t hold a candle to the power of love and truth.

I receive emails almost every day from people whose experience has been transformed by their fierce determination for freedom that just won't quit.

Keep trusting in the life force that is infinitely greater than your false personal self. Keep returning to the aliveness that is who you are. This is the anchor that will set you free.