Fear is a normal part of the human experience. All emotions occur naturally, whether positive or negative, and anxious feelings are no exception. Our feelings can alert us to opportunities to change ourselves or our circumstances, so we can benefit from paying attention to them. If we don’t allow them to spiral and intensify as a hurricane overrunning our lives, of course.
While no emotion is itself sinful, we must choose the healthiest way to interpret, respond to, and manage our feelings and corresponding thought patterns without acting upon them in negative ways. Unexamined feelings can spiral out of control and trigger patterns of negative thoughts which intensify the emotion and prompt detrimental actions. If we give emotion full charge to run our lives unchecked by wisdom, the results can be disasterous.
So, while it’s normal to experience fear as a category five hurricane approaches, there are healthy ways and unhealthy ways to handle anxious feelings. Today’s video offers healthy ways to handle fear.
- Identify the underlying concern (e.g. the oncoming storm’s potential damage or injuries).
- Get two paper plates to symbolize “my plate” and “God’s plate.” You can also use additional plates to represent others’ responsibilities. The key is to avoid putting more on your “plate” than appropriate or possible.
- On your plate, list your opportunities to address the concern.
- On God’s plate, write out the matters beyond your ability to influence any outcome. Instead of a plate, you could write them in a prayer journal or tucking the written worry into your Bible as a tangible way to submit the issue to the One Who does have the matter in hand.
- Monitor your thoughts. Although you can’t change your feelings directly, you can shift and replace negative thought patterns. What do you believe or think about this issue?
- Share concerns with a wise friend, life coach, or counselor who will help you process the pattern aloud. What makes sense in your head might lose its power to terrify you after you speak it aloud.
- Rein in any exaggeration.
- [bctt tweet=”Use faith to replace “what if” thought patterns with “even if … then, God” statements” username=”@tyeagerwrites”].
- Rephrase your fears as concerns.
- Read a few anti-anxiety verses and repeat them to yourself until their assurance sets in to replace the fearful thought pattern.
- Find a calming diversion.
- Watch out for nutritional issues which could make you more prone to experience anxiety.
- [bctt tweet=”Seek laughter. It changes the brain chemistry without negative side effects.” username=”@tyeagerwrites”]
- Exercise enhances our ability to respond well to stress and improves seratonin levels, which help regulate emotion.
- Cuddle a loved one or pet–proven to lower heart rate.
- Employ relaxation breathing and self-guided imagery techniques.
- Demonstrate kindness and compassion toward others.
What are your favorite ways to reign in fear? Share your suggestions and comments with us. I look forward to hearing your feedback.