All posts tagged: Anxiety

The futility of worry

A recent study by researchers from Penn State exposed the futility of worry in a very “odd” way, that seems to confirm an equally “odd” statement that Jesus made about worry. Worry is a very destructive force and if we don’t control it, worry can actually cause physical damage to our bodies, in addition to the emotional stress that can lead to such things as depression. According to an article on WebMD, unchecked worry can cause the release of stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones are released during times of extreme stress. The release of these hormones fill the body with the extra energy required during times of acute danger. However, if there is no physical release (fight or flight), these hormones sit unused and over time can potentially damage our bodies resulting in heart and digestive problems and even affect our memory and immune system. So what did those Penn State researchers uncover? Well they studied 29 people who have a serious anxiety disorder. These were top-level worriers. For one month these people …

Why am I so anxious?

“Do not be anxious for anything,” the Bible says (Philippians 4:6). As a psychotherapist, I regularly deal with people with serious and debilitating anxiety. And I know that simply deciding to not be anxious doesn’t work. Anxiety is the product of changes in one’s brain and autonomic nervous system as a result of trauma. And trauma is a life event that overwhelms a person’s emotional capacity and understanding. Traumatic response is marked by these characteristics: Submerged memory as the brain blocks you from again being overwhelmed; Emotional dysregulation as the brain blocks access to executive brain functions responsible for regulating how we feel and respond to stress; and Difficulty forming attachments and, sometimes, disassociation. Anxiety is what a person experiences when these characteristics are inadequate to deal with traumatic memories or new stress experiences. Anxiety is experienced emotionally, psychologically, and somatically (in the body). It is a state of readiness to either respond with aggression (fight) or by fleeing or avoiding the situation (flight). Anxiety is living in the expectation that the immediate future is …

Sky diving over Palau Credit: Richard Schneider/Flickr/Creative Commons

It’s okay to be afraid

Sometimes we are being pushed out of our comfort zone and often think fear is telling us to pull back. But in reality it’s a signal to move forward, push through the fear and jump. I have been acknowledging my uncomfortable feelings these past weeks. At times I almost feel paralyzed by fear and anxious thoughts. Have you ever felt this way afraid, nervous and excited all at the same? It’s an uncomfortable feeling. And often we judge ourselves for being afraid of our next big step. We have this misconception that fear is telling us “not” to do it. Well, the good news is that fear is just a natural emotion that means you are stretching yourself out of your comfort zone. Being stretched is uncomfortable in the physical and the natural. Growing and expanding beyond where I have been comfortable for some time now. Fear is a normal part of life, but it is an emotion we must control before it conquers us. Writing for Proverbs 31 Ministry, Bobby Schuller says: “Fear is …

Grocery Store Credit: Province of British Columbia/Flickr/Creative Commons

Report: Religious people have more self-control when it comes to shopping

According to a study by three researchers from university business schools,  Didem Kurt, Boston University, J. Jeffrey Inman, University of Pittsburgh and Francesca Gino, Harvard Business School, religious people not only spend less than non-religious but they are also less likely to make impulse purchases. The study that involved looking at the results of five earlier studies on spending habits also included the group’s own research. In their study, the three researchers put 800 people through a variety of “hypothetical” shopping scenarios and as well tests to evaluate how strong their religious beliefs were. What they discovered is that an incremental increase in religious belief resulted in a 5% decrease in spending and impulsive buying. This confirmed results from a survey of spending by 2,400 people in 10 states in 2011 and 2012, conducted by Point of Purchase Advertising International. It showed that people living in more religious counties not only spent less money on groceries than people living in less religious counties, but also had “fewer impulse purchases.” There are undoubtedly a variety of …

Fear not, for I am with you.... Credit: Eric Wagner/Flickr/Creative Commons

Don’t ‘fear’ the coming darkness

An article in the Daily Mail on changes taking place at Canterbury Cathedral in London, England speaks of a significant culture shock coming for western Christians. For years, we have lived in a bubble where we could go through our day not worrying we would be attacked for our faith. But that bubble is bursting or at the very least there is a noticeable leak. Police in England have just announced they will be stationing armed guards at Canterbury Cathedral in England. Built in 597AD, it is one of Britain’s oldest churches.  This is not the church hiring its own security staff, but rather police sending in protection. And in a country where police typically patrol without guns, these guards are armed.  The article added that protection will be given to other unnamed churches and public venus. The police made this decision in response to recent attacks on churches in Europe by Muslim extremists. In July, an 84-year-old Catholic priest in Normandy, France had his throat slit by Islamic extremists in front of his congregation during …

Navigating life with a one track mind. Photo: Blind corner Skagway line in Alaska Ted McGrath/Flickr.Creative Commons

A woman’s perspective: Keep on track with a one-track mind

We have all heard the expression, “you have a one-track mind.” It is usually spoken with a negative connotation. Well, I am beginning to think a one-track mind would be great! And, to be honest, I have been working very hard to stay on only one track at a time. I believe this is the way to the “peace that passes all understanding” that Paul talks about in the book of Philippians. The Apostle Paul is the perfect example of a one track mind.  He knew his purpose was to preach salvation to the Gentiles and when he stepped into his mission, things became clearer as he kept his focus on that one thing. Nothing was going to deter Paul from his call to the Gentiles.  It was his purpose. I am beginning to understand when we have a single focus in our daily lives there is no room for other thoughts. When we keep that focus, anxiety ceases because there are no other thoughts roaming around in our heads distracting us from our purpose. …

We need to protect our mind. Photo: Joe Goddard/Flickr/Creative Commons

A woman’s perspective: The garrison around my mind

This past month I noticed a change in my pattern of worry. At times, it seemed non-existent. My husband knows firsthand my battle with worry and anxiety. I succumb to worry and it’s wandering ways often throughout my day. But lately, it’s as if my thoughts bounce off a guard rail that won’t let them pass through. My thoughts cease to stray and a cloud of peace settles over me.  At times, I have noticed an anxious thought wander in and then just disappear. My mind is protected by an unknown force and I experience peace in a way that I have not known before. It is the “peace” that Paul spoke about: “and the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Philippians 4:17) We exercise our body to stay fit physically and in the same way we need to discipline our mind  and  learn to control our thoughts. The Apostle Paul tells us that we must literally take every thought captive: “and we …

Are you a time traveller?

Recently, I came to the realization that I was a bonafide time traveller and spent most of my time in the future. Rarely did I live in the present. I was worrying about  the next day or the day after or even the following week.  Sometimes it was just a barrage of small things that caught me. I would worry about what to wear when I was going to church in a couple of days or to an event in a few weeks. I spent most of my day in another dimension of time — the future. Travelling to the future and then back to the present, over and over again, sent my thoughts spinning out of control.  I was always anticipating the worst.  My “fight or flight” response was  triggering all the time. Worry was creating fear. Fear propelled me into the future. Time travel was ruining my life. Jesus warned us about living in another time dimension. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough …

A key to successful prayer: Do you believe God loves you?

When the pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, He replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 NASV) Can anyone be commanded to love God or love anyone for that matter? Yet we are told this is the greatest commandment for a believer. How do we do it? The Apostle John provides the answer: “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NASV) The key to being able to love God is first understanding and believing that God loves you and this is our “great” struggle to obeying the “greatest” commandment. A study by Baylor University, published in the journal Sociology of Religion, concluded that understanding God loves us is even an important key to successful prayer.

How much do you worry about your appearance?

Why did she do it?

She was 85-years-old, financially well off and healthy — both mentally and physically. So why did Oriella Cazzanello travel from her home in Arzignano, Italy to a right-to-die clinic in Basel, Switzerland in February 2014 where she committed suicide with the clinic’s help. Her family had no idea she was planning this. They only found out about her decision after they received her ashes and death certificate from the clinic.

The divided mind of worry

In the New Testament, the Greek word for worry is an interesting word and understanding its definition provides a clue on how to deal with worry. The word for worry most often used is “mirimnao” (Matthew 6:25, 28, Luke 10:41). It combines two Greek words ‘merizo’ which means ‘divide’ and ‘nous’ which means ‘mind.’ ‘Mirimnao’ literally means ‘divided mind.’ 

Slaying the worry monster

So how much do you worry? There are so many things to worry about — finances, kids, jobs — and because of that it is difficult to tell how much a persons worries in a day. But one of the big worries for all of us is finances. In 2010, conducted a survey to discover how much Americans worry about finances and in particular their debt. They discovered that of the 1,000 Americans (aged 18 and over) who were surveyed, 57% considered themselves in debt.

Study: Worry leads to increased risk of a stroke

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found a connection between worry and strokes. The group led by Maya Lambiase followed 6,000 people for about three decades starting in the mid-70s. They ranged in age from 25 to 74. Lambiase’s team asked the participants a series of questions and then tested them to determine their levels of anxiety and related depression. From that point on, researchers tracked the rates of stroke for the group.