Have you noticed? Lots of people are feeling anxious these days.
Some people are feeling anxious because in not so many days we’ll have an inauguration that will lead us into uncharted waters. What will it mean for us as a country? For the world? What will it mean for me as an individual?
Some people are anxious because no matter who is president, the problems at home are still the problems at home. The car is still making that funny sound. Every time you start to get an emergency fund saved up an emergency comes along to wipe it out. You don’t quite know what’s happening in your relationship and the not knowing is as anxious as dealing with the problems. There’s still the matter of that test the doctor ordered. The lab is being awfully casual about getting your results back, not knowing that you can’t sleep until you know.
Some people are anxious because, well… it’s just what they do.
One of the keys to dealing with anxiety is to identify what’s under your control, which probably a lot less than what you think in your imagination. Once you identify that, focus on taking concrete actions where you do have control.
Sometimes those actions feel small and useless in the face of worldwide events. Sometimes they seem to be hopelessly inadequate baby steps in light of the mountains we have to climb in our lives.
But take enough small actions and they add up.
This summer I went to a birthday party for a friend. Included in the guest list was a family whom she’d been helping. I watched the children playing soccer and saw their wide eyes as they surveyed what was probably the biggest birthday cake they’d ever seen.
And then I thought about other children, the hollow eyed children of Aleppo. You see, this family was a Syrian refugee family. They were here because of the work of a lot of people but also because my friend had decided to do the things she could do. She couldn’t broker peace in Syria but she could help one family find a new start and a new life. Or maybe find life itself, away from the bombs.
This month I’m offering a webinar on anxiety, “If I love Jesus why do I need Xanax?” We’ll look at what causes anxiety, how our brain feeds it, what faith has to do with it as well as talk about some tools for dealing with it. I’ll also share one of the roots of anxiety that I’ve discovered in over ten years of working as a therapist. It’s not one people talk about a lot, but it can make all the difference in how you handle anxiety.
Click on the link to register. You’ll have three different chances to attend, and the webinar will be both live and free all three times.
In the meantime, what helps you when you’re anxious?