Do you know the most common illness in the United States? Well, if you didn’t already know you probably had a pretty good guess based on the title of the blog. Yes, it is anxiety and the statistics are staggering. It’s not just the number of people, however, it’s the rate at which the numbers have grown over the last 30 years that is so mind-blowing!
I spend a lot of time working with teenagers. I have the joy and honor of having them come to me (or hearing my Facebook messenger buzz at 2 a.m.) with particular issues they might be dealing with at home or at school. Just a couple weeks ago, part of my leadership team and I took a few days to talk and pray one-on-one with each student in our class before we went into the final week of our theater production. The most common issue and request for prayer that we heard was for anxiety.
One of the best ways that I have learned to deal with anxiety and probably the one that has gotten the best response from my students is simply getting into the habit of leaving yourself notes with quotes, Bible verses, maybe a picture or work of art, or anything you think will have the greatest impact in helping you re-center.
Here are five of my favorite quotes or verses about fear and anxiety and how they help me re-center:
- “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Corrie ten Boom
This quote is so profound! Anxiousness is nothing more than worry over a possible future event. There’s absolutely no guarantee that any of the things that you are fearful may happen will actually happen. And here’s the kicker… Even if the things that make you anxious become reality, nine times out of ten they are outside of your control anyways. Tomorrow may bring sorrow or grief, but worrying about it today isn’t going to change anything. But, what anxiety and worry will do is steal your energy, disturb your focus, and distract you from the joy that you could be experiencing right now in this very moment.
- “Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” Kahlil Gibran
Ah! There’s no better quote to piggyback on Corrie ten Boom than this one! Gibran drives a little deeper into the matter by stating that anxiety doesn’t come from a fear of some potential external thing, but that anxiety arises because we fear we have no control over those events. The irony about his quote is that by moving from the external to the internal, anxiety must be now be recognized as something that is within our control because it is created within us. I’m not trying to get too heavy here, but a very simple way of looking at this quote is to realize that we can rarely control what happens outside of us, but we can always control how we react. When you are caught in a moment of anxiety take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember that you can control the anxiety. It doesn’t have to control you!
- “He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” Shannon L. Alder
I love this quote because it reminds me to be courageous. Life doesn’t just have to be about “handling” or dealing with anxiety, it can be and should be about overcoming it. What’s the best way to overcome fear and anxiety? Face it! Challenge yourself to step into your fear. Don’t just avoid it, overcome it!
- “Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” Arthur Somers Roche
Arthur Somers Roche’s quote is so significant to me because it reminds me to be on the lookout for when fear or anxiety begins. Anxiety is like a cancer; it can spread so quickly across your mind that you no longer are only worrying about that one thing, but you begin to worry about everything. Fanning the flame of fear in one area of your life will most likely spread it into other areas of your life. The trick is to catch it early. Recognize it when it begins to appear and deal with it quickly and efficiently.
- “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
One of the best ways to combat anxiety is to remember what gives you strength. I am a man of faith, so this is one of the verses I run to when I feel like starting to step away from the life-giving love of God. Now, I know that everyone in the JP Nation doesn’t share my faith and so what I want you to take away from this segment is that when you are facing anxiety you begin to find peace by taking your mind to the thing that inspires you or motivates you. If you want to explore what motivates you, take a look at this blog post from a couple weeks ago on resolve. http://www.journeyprinciples.com/resolve/
These quotes are just to give you an idea of how you can begin to combat anxiety by putting it into perspective. Remember what anxiety steals from you; the things that it makes you miss out on. Remember that you can control your anxiety; it doesn’t have to control you. Be proactive about combating your anxiety. And last, re-center yourself in what gives you strength! Be it faith or family, remember why you do what you do. Focus on the strength and energy you find in that inspiration!
What is a practice or exercise that helps you deal with your anxiety? What are your favorite quotes for fear or anxiety? What are the hardest obstacles/thoughts to overcome when dealing with anxiety