Is your answer to any of these questions yes?
Do your friends say that your anxiety is excessive or unrealistic?
Can you control your anxiety?
Do you feel your anxiety has taken over your thoughts more days than not for several months?
Do you suffer from restlessness, fatigue, shakiness and muscle tension?
Do you experience shortness of breath, a dry mouth, trouble swallowing or stomach problems?
Do you feel on edge, have trouble concentrating, experience difficulty sleeping or falling asleep and are you irritable?
Answering yes may mean that your day-to-day life is sometimes overwhelmed by anxiety. We all experience stress, worry and anxiety. Times of stress, worry and anxiety can be caused by a change in jobs, a move to a new city, the arrival of a new family member or other life transitions. Changes in life can raise concerns and fears about the future. Unhealthy anxiety manifests itself physically, emotionally, spiritually and relationally; anxiety can become all-consuming and affect every area of our lives.
Anxiety does not just affect busy adults. It can also infiltrate the life of your child or teen and keep them from reaching their full potential.
A child can experience anxiety second-hand through the anxiety of a parent or guardian, as well first hand anxiety that is caused by his or her own situation at home or school. Anxiety can impact a child’s confidence at school and his/her ability to be independent from their parents. Children don’t have the words or capacity to understand what anxiety is and why it impacts us at times. Children, at times, need help understanding how to normalize their fears and how to come up with creative coping methods. It is also important to ensure that children don’t feel responsible for their worry and don’t make anxiety part of their identity.
Teenage years can be hard enough without the constant pestering of anxious thoughts. Anxiety can impact a teenager’s ability to build healthy friendships, participate in class and try new activities. Teens need to be empowered to ask for help when they need it and to question the fears that enter their thoughts. Enabling them to work through their anxiety is a wonderful stepping-stone that equips them to deal with future struggles.
Adults often list anxiety as a common symptom. Anxiety can control adults’ decisions in the work place, their ability to be in romantic relationships and their fears about making the right choices for the future. Working on issues of anxiety may involve unraveling years of built up subconscious fears and negative internalized thoughts. As an adult dealing with unhealthy levels of anxiety, you need to redesign your personal coping skills to enable you to deal effectively with the anxiety that normal life events can bring. You can take steps to deal with your anxiety and to reduce the frequency with which anxiety occurs so that you can function normally in your daily life.
The good news is we aren’t intended to be consumed by anxiety. In Philippians 4:6 we read: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus. God desires for us to live full lives and to rely on him for our needs and future plans. Help is available and we can learn how to live with change and without life affecting anxiety.