Many people in today’s world fight a never-ending battle with anxiety. Are you one of them?
Maybe you’ve battled anxiety for most of your life with little success. Dr. Timothy Jennings says that in order to fight anxiety, it’s important to remember that anxiety is almost always the symptom of a deeper problem. He uses pain as an illustration.
“When you feel pain somewhere, you don’t initially assume you have a pain disorder, you wonder what’s wrong that’s causing the pain.”
Likewise, when we are experiencing anxiety, our first question should be, what’s wrong that I’m experiencing anxiety? To illustrate, Dr. Jennings uses the example of someone holding our head under water.
“If someone was holding our head under water and they weren’t joking, every human being will experience terrible anxiety and eventually panic attacks before they pass out. This is not a disorder. This anxiety is normal because you’re being drowned.”
Sometimes, we can find ourselves being drowned by life in a psychological way.
“We have so many responsibilities, demands, expectations coming upon us it’s beyond our ability to keep up. People will say they just can’t keep their head above water and they feel like they’re drowning in it all. It’s not physical water anymore, it’s psychological water, but you begin to panic.”
Once again, the anxiety that is experienced is not a disorder, but a symptom of a circumstance.
So what do we do when we feel anxiety rising up inside of us?
“My recommendation for anxiety is to step back and ask, ‘Okay, what is the reason I’m having anxiety?’”
When we ponder what might be causing our anxious thoughts and feelings, we can ask God to help us understand what triggers us. Then when we uncover what it is, we can ask God to help us make the course correction necessary to move to a place of peace and tranquility.
Timothy R. Jennings, MD, is a board certified Christian psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, lecturer, international speaker and author. He is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and president-elect of the Tennessee Psychiatric Association.
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