Fear is a lie.
Does that seem right to you? I mean, surely, fear has its purposes and should be listened to…right?!
99 % of the time, however, the validity of my own fear has been lacking.
In fact, fear has done more to hurt me than to help me.
Yes, of course, there are times when that “fight or flight” response warrants necessary, but I’m sitting here trying to remember the last time I really required the use of it and, thankfully, I’m coming up with nothing.
Yet, somewhere along the way,
I trained myself and my body to respond as though it were in crisis,
and I didn’t even realize it!
We are what we teach
I think, for the most part, we really aren’t aware of it either. We don’t realize that we are teaching ourselves, in a physical way, to be afraid, but we are!
Running late? The heart speeds up.
Kids not doing as asked…again? The body tenses.
Someone takes our parking spot or jumps ahead of us in line? Body tenses, heart races, palms begin to sweat.
We are continuously confronted with circumstance after circumstance, and our bodies are reacting to them. Sure, we can all justify our bodies’ responses as warranted and validated, but did you know that these seemingly innocent reactions from our body, with the racing heart and the tensing up and the sweaty palms, those are all rigged and attached to something known as the fear response. Now, I’m not going to get all crazy scientific here, because that is not my area, but I will say this:
If your body is continuously putting out a fear response,
your mind is continuously receiving it (& vice versa).
How the body makes you anxious
To put this a little more plainly, throughout each day, as your body responds with tension, or a racing heart, or whatever the case may be, your body is literally telling your mind over and over again: Be afraid! Be afraid! Be afraid!
So, now tell me. If your own body is sending this message to your mind, what do you think is going to happen here?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that responses like this will bring both mind and body up to speed with the idea:
“We’ve got a crisis going on!”
Wait, does doesn’t anxiety start with the mind?
Until recently, I always thought that anxiety originated in the mind, not the body. While it certainly can, I have become aware that the reverse can also be said, and I have seen it evidenced in my own life.
I recently took a day to notice each time my body would stir up a negative response, and I was floored. I had literally trained my body to respond in varying degrees of tension and escalation to most things that were happening throughout my day…and my mind? Ha! You can forget about that! In an effort to explain what was happening to me physically, my mind would synchronize to my body’s responses, stirring up its own anxiety and causing my body to react once more. It was an endless, hellish cycle, and it was time to stop.
Living any day with any level of fear woven through it is
no way to live whatsoever.
God has a design for us that is much more powerful than that!
How to stop anxiety with your body
I challenge you to try this for yourselves…Take note of how your body (not even your mind, but just your body) responds throughout the day. If it bristles, if it tenses, if the heart races, just like mine has…try accepting yourself just as you are and reminding yourself that there’s no danger here. Sounds silly and a bit trite, I know, but I couldn’t be more serious!
Having this powerful weapon
where I can tackle my anxiety with awareness of my body,
a heavy dose of acceptance for what its going through,
and reassurance that I am safe and there is no immediate danger here,
has broken down walls that seemed insurmountable before!
Be aware. Be accepting. Be reassuring. Be well.
If you have struggled with anxiety on any level, my heart goes out to you and where you’re at, and I implore you today to give this a try. Different things work for different people, of course, and this is just one approach, but I have found this to be among the most effective for me.
No matter what approach you take to your anxiety, no matter what path you try, it is so important that you accept yourself right where you are and that you take your time. Anxiety is a difficult road walked, but it is also a road that you can leave behind when the time is right.
If you are looking for prayer, I would be honored to do so for you. You may contact me through the comments or directly through my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a strategy that has worked for you, I would love to hear about it, and I’m sure others would be grateful for your share.
If you are looking for additional resources, I cannot say enough for the guy over at Calm and Courageous. I am certain God led me to this site. It was the beginning of my complete turnaround