All posts tagged: Worry

59 | Conquering exaggerated fear

Hi my name is Dean Smith and in this podcast, I want to talk about conquering exaggerated fear. My wife and I were talking to friends recently and they told a story of person who was being very careful about COVID including isolating herself and wearing masks when she needed to go out. And there is nothing wrong with that.

What, Me Fear?

What we think, we tend to believe. For example, most of the media outlets focus on Covid19. No wonder people are scared. The Bible says that we are who we hang out with. Proverbs 13:20 says “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Walk with the scared, and you will get scared. Scared people hide. They are fearful. Scared and fearful people have anxiety and stress to the point in which they do not live their lives. Normal and healthy things like family gatherings, visiting children and friends, shopping and attending church are seen as dangerous and self-centered. What was seen as good is seen as bad. The heroes in a fear-based culture are the ones who showcase fear. The people who hide are the good ones. The people who listen to the government and media are the good ones. They are compliant and helping stop the spread of Covid. Except this plan of division and isolation is not helping. Not according to the very people who told …

Have we completely misunderstood what Jesus told us about worry?

In the Gospels, Jesus talked a lot about worry and I think we have completely misunderstood two pieces of advice that Jesus gave us about this problem. First, Jesus said as God provides for the sparrows, that He will also provide for you. 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 ESV) Ultimately, worry is a form of unbelief, but perhaps a different form of unbelief than you may think. By comparing us to sparrows, the Lord was hinting at a completely, different issue. This is because worry may actually reflect how little we believe God values us. Why would Jesus as the question: “Are you not of more value than they?” unless, it was the actual root of the problem. You worry because you don’t believe God values you. You are important to God and whether you believe that or not is a different issue. To deal with worry, …

Dealing with the fear of the unknown

Fear of the unknown can overwhelm us and impact our body, mind and spirit in unhealthy ways as we start obsessively worrying about the future, which some refer to it as “future tripping.” The actual purpose of fear is to signal our brain that there is potential for danger or death telling us to ‘fight, flee or freeze.’ Though there is benefit to it, that changes to negative when we are consumed by prolonged bouts of fear. Psychotherapist Terri Cole, who has worked with women for 20 years, states that we must be aware of the psychological, emotional and physical cost to walking around in a constant, heightened state of fear. She says being on constant alert is not good for you and can even compromise your immune system. Exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, brain fog and depression are all symptoms that your nervous system is being overloaded by fear. And if this describes you, it may also suggest this pandemic is exposing deeper emotional issues and trauma in your life, that you have been carrying around …

Are fear and worry weighing you down?

I was at a seminar several years back, and they wanted to show us how much negative thinking affects us. Each of us were told to hold our arms out from our side and then have someone try to push our arm down while we resisted. Most of us put up a good fight, but then we were told to have that person push down our arms while were thinking negative thoughts about ourselves. It could be anything from rehearsing past failures to thinking about how stupid we were. We all immediately noticed how much physically weaker we were when we thought negatively about ourselves. And, although our thoughts don’t hold an actual physical weight, scientists say that negative thoughts ‘weigh’ on your brain in the same way that repeated movements tire your muscles. Negativity and worry have ‘energy costs’ that can tire out our neurons, that are the physical carriers of our thoughts. As a result, we feel a ‘heaviness’ because of the emotional drain on our brain and its neurons. Negative thinking and …

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 …

Credit: arbyreed/Flickr/Creative Commons

Are You living in the present?

“Don’t worry about tomorrow sufficient for the day is the evil [trouble thereof]. (Matthew 6:34) It has become clear the root of my worry stems from trying to plan for what may or may not happen the next day or even the weekend. Every angle is covered. With my worry I try to control the next day and the day after that. Elliot’s Commentary has an interesting spin on this verse, when he interprets “don’t worry about tomorrow” as “make most of the present.” Staying rooted and grounded firmly in the present day and moment will change your life. It allows us to get the most out of today. I remember one author stating that it is important to stay in the present for ourselves. I immediately discarded the thought. It would be so selfish. But after prayerful consideration, I changed my mind. When I am in the present for myself, I am able to discern the voice of God in my life. I am a much better person to live with and able to …

Pero's Bridge, Bristol, England with its two counterweights Credit: Adrian Pingstone/Wikipeida/Creative Commons

A counterweight to worry

Pero’s Bridge is one of the world’s stranger looking bridges. Built in 1999, it is a pedestrian drawbridge that spans St. Augustine’s beach in Bristol, England. The two outside sections are attached to land and the inner section serves as a drawbridge that raises to allow boats to pass beneath. It has two distinctive, horn-like objects on either side of the bridge. At first glance, it seems they are nothing more than abstract art added to decorate the bridge. In fact, it is art, but they also serve as important counterweights that exert force in the opposite direction allowing the inner span to raise quickly. Also called a “bascule” bridge — French for “balanced scale” — people have used this type of design for centuries because counterweights raise bridge spans quickly and with relatively little energy. Like a bascule bridge, we all need something to counter what life throws at us. As you watch the media, a person can quickly be caught up worrying about world events and our rapidly changing society. We worry about …

Battling the storm of worry. Photo: R/Flickr/Creative Commons

Have you lost your mind?

Sometime this past summer, I lost my mind. I sensed a cog slipping and I started losing a grip on my thoughts.  They were coming faster — racing through my mind. Fatigue set in and I eventually crashed emotionally, physically and spiritually. Slowly, I had given my thoughts over to the worries of the next day and the next week. I was living in a place and space of constant uncertainty fueled by doubt and fear. Jesus commanded us not to worry about the next day. “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” (Matthew 6:34 TLB) We need to learn to live one day at a time. This requires that we stay in the present and not concern ourselves about the future. It does not mean that we don’t plan for the future, but we must not allow the future to flood our thinking. We must simply remind ourselves that we are a child of God and in His care. God will …

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 …

Do you have God’s peace or the world’s peace?

In John 14:27, Jesus said He came to give us peace, but added His peace was not the same as the world’s. Jesus’ peace was different. To the world, peace can only take place when there is no conflict and in this crucial way Jesus’ peace was different. He gives us peace in the midst of conflict. Conflict or trouble can come in various forms — from terrorism to health to financial to family. Jesus told us when He died, He would send us a Comforter. One of the emblems used in the Bible to picture the Holy Spirit was a dove. And even today, the dove represents peace. When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us and He wants to fill us with God’s peace. But too often we put up walls preventing this.

When it comes to worry and stress: Women lead the way

[by Dean Smith] A poll commissioned by Kalms Herbal discovered that 20% of women feel stressed on a daily basis as they try to manage work and home life. The survey asked 2000 people from Britain aged 25 to 50 how stressed they were, what caused it and how they dealt with stress. The study had one major conclusion: on almost every front women feel stress more than men. The survey found:

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, Freescore.com 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.