Friday, May 24, 2024

Seeking Wholeness Summary 8 - Anxiety


How to deal with worry and anxiety

~~ Watch the Video ~~

Worship: Trust in You by Anthony Brown

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time

  -- Abraham Lincoln


  • Introduction
  • Defining Wholeness
  • What is Anxiety?
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Symptoms of Anxiety
  • Causes of Anxiety
  • Solutions
  • Practical Techniques
  • Memory Verses
  • Get Closer to God


  • Psalms 94:19
  • Isaiah 26:3-4
  • Proverbs 29:25
  • Psalm 56:3
  • Philippians 4:6-9
  • Exodus 4:1-4
  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Psalms 56:3-4
  • Isaiah 26:3-4
  • Psalms 42:11
  • Philippians 4:12-13
  • Isaiah 40:31
  • Philippians 4:6 - 7  
  • Matthew 14: 26-31


Story: worry works

a man turned to his pastor and told him that he was wrong and that worry actually works.

He said none of the things that he worried about actually happened.

According to the Dale Carnegie book “How to Stop Worrying and Stop Living”

  • 40% of the things never happen
  • 30% have already happened and can’t be changed
  • 22% happen but they have no control over
  • 8% involve situation over which they have influence

Psalms 94:19

19 When anxiety overwhelms me,

Your consolation delights my soul.

We worry about …

Day to day decisions

  • Do I have a “summer body”?
  • Paper or plastic?
  • Team Kendrick or Drake?


  • Will I ever get married?
  • Are they cheating on me?
  • How can I tell them what I need to tell them?

Life problems

  • How will my life change after this medical diagnosis?
  • How can I cope after losing my loved one?
  • Do I have enough money to retire?

3 responses

When the Bible tells us “be anxious for nothing“ people have three responses

  1. Carefree person
  2. Overthinker
  3. Going through tragedy

The carefree person hears Jesus’ statements as permission to continue

  1. Not saving
  2. No goals
  3. not planning

The detail/goal oriented person feels shame and hears Jesus‘s statement as condemning

  • now they are worried that they worry too much

Someone is going through a difficult situation

  • You don’t know what I’m going through
  • It’s not that easy

I hope to speak to all 3 people today…

Defining Wholeness

Wholeness is about being _______ healthy

  • spiritually
  • emotionally
  • mentally

Free from oppression of

  • Our past
  • Bad thinking
  • Strongholds
  • The enemy

We’re talking about

  • dealing with life’s current stresses
  • being healed from experiences/wounds of the past

We’re promised eternal life

  • We’re also supposed to have: joy, peace, patience, and self control here on earth

Through this 4 year series we have identified traits that we defined as the goal for wholeness

Traits of Wholeness

  1. Authenticity
  2. Honesty
  3. Kindness
  4. Behavior not influenced by external approval / validation
  5. Living by values and principles
  6. Setting Boundaries
  7. Taking ownership of your responsibilities
  8. Living with purpose and passion
  9. Optimism
  10. Confidence
  11. Not losing control of your emotions
  12. Free from addictions
  13. Addressing Conflict with truth and love
  14. Vulnerability
  15. Not critical or Judgemental
  16. Not jealous of others
  17. Forgive those who have wronged you in the past
  18. Know that you’re worthy of receiving love
  19. Not afraid to fail
  20. Able to manage irrational fear, worry, and anxiety
  21. Selfless encounters with others
  22. Not manipulating others trying to control their actions
  23. You care about how others feel
  24. Patient
  25. Don’t give into peer/social pressure
  26. Can communicate without antagonizing others
  27. Recognize, manage, and take responsibility for your own thoughts and feelings
  28. Slow to anger
  29. Ability to maturely express your wants, needs and desires
  30. Can listen without reacting
  31. Can respect others without having to change them
  32. Can function well… Alone or with others
  33. Able to take responsibility for our own destiny in life
  34. Able to maintain a non-anxious presence in the midst of anxiety and stress
  35. Able to ask for what they need want or prefer clearly, directly and honestly
  36. Has the capacity to resolve conflict maturely
  37. Being led by the Spirit

What is Anxiety?

Stress vs Anxiety

Stress is any demand placed on your brain or physical body.  Any event or scenario that makes you feel frustrated or nervous can trigger it. 

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, or unease. While it can occur as a reaction to stress, it can also happen without any obvious trigger.

Anxiety is an emotion

Apprehensive, uneasiness or nervousness about the future

Natural response to a perceived stressful event

Anxiety tells us that something is important to us

We don’t decide to get anxious

  • It happens to us

Anxiety Is not a disease

It’s a natural response to trauma

Example: I have “the coughs”

  • When I get sick
  • When water goes down the wrong pipe
  • Sometimes when I smell something bad

“The coughs” is not a disease.  

  • It is not a diagnosis
  • It’s just a natural response when I need to clear my lungs.

Anxiety is just a signal of an underlying cause.  

Long term depression and anxiety are signals of a toxic pattern.  


Anxiety is a major trigger for

  • Addiction relapse
  • Increased physical pain
  • Sleep problems

Cause of:

  • Depression
  • School dropout
  • Suicide
  • Difficulty focusing and holding down a job
  • Relationship breakdown

90% of illness

Many researchers believe that toxic stress is responsible for approximately 90% of illness. Including

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes

Only 5 to 10% of disease is said to come from genetic factors alone.  

    -- Cleaning up your mental mess (Caroline Leaf)

Helpful Worry

When is it helpful to worry?

Helpful worry

  • Issue at hand
  • Thinking ahead
  • Anticipating problems and trying to solve them
  • Planning

When is it unhelpful to worry?

Unhelpful worry

  • Focusing on things you can’t change
  • Things that never happen
  • Constant distraction
  • It leads to diminished trust in God and peace
  • You spend too much time living in the future
  • It produces inaction

Do What You Can Do Now

  1. Do what you can do now
  2. Give God what you can’t do
  3. Trust God to handle it

Separate real worries from hypothetical worries

  • Hypothetical worries of worrying about things that might happen later

Anxiety Disorders

Disordered Anxiety

  1. When you feel in danger when you’re actually safe
  2. Interferes with your ability to function

People with general anxiety disorder have persistent, excessive worries that don't go away even in the absence of a stressor.

1 in 14 people have an anxiety disorder

Each year it cost over $42 billion to treat anxiety disorders


  • Panic attacks
  • You stop going to work
  • Can’t go outside
  • Can’t drive
  • Stop doing the things you love

5 Major Anxiety Disorders

  1. Generalized anxiety disorder
  2. Panic disorder
  3. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  4. Post traumatic stress disorder
  5. Social anxiety disorder
    • When normal interactions cause excessive worry, fear or embarrassment.

Anxiety disorder is said to be caused by

  • Genetics
  • Brain chemistry
  • Personality
  • Childhood adversity
  • stressful life events
  • Current Traumatic issues
  • domestic violence, child abuse, bullying, witness death
  • Irrational thoughts and cognitive distortions

Symptoms of Anxiety

What are some of the symptoms of anxiety?

It looks different in everyone

Symptoms include:

  • butterflies in your stomach
  • racing heart
  • you feel out of control
  • nightmares
  • panic attacks
  • painful thoughts or memories that you can’t control
  • general feeling of fear and worry
  • fear a specific place or event
  • rapid breathing
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Numbness or tingling sensations


  • Not make logical decisions
  • high risk high payoff options

Study: When people are stressed they are more likely to choose high risk high payoff options

  • MIT Study


  • heightened state of awareness
  • faster breathing and heart rates
  • elevated blood pressure
  • a rise in blood cholesterol
  • increase in muscle tension
  • Decrease digestion
  • Making you feel nauseous
  • Giving you diarrhea or constipation
  • Loss of appetite (for some)
  • Cortisol increases appetite (for others)
  • Crave high fat, high sugar food

High Functioning Anxiety

  • Detail oriented
  • overthinking
  • Helpful
  • Trouble saying “no”
  • Outgoing
  • People pleasing
  • Hard working
  • Fear of failure
  • Performs well under pressure
  • procrastinate

Causes of Anxiety

We’re Busy

We’re stressed.

We chase anxiety because boredom makes you notice pain

The busyness distracts us

New things are accompanied by anxiety


  • Conscious or unconscious association

Study: Dr. had a pen in his hand and poked person who couldn’t form long-term memories

  • Came back in 10 minutes later and tried to shake hands
  • They gave explanations of not trusting people with lab coats or his beard etc.
  • This shows that we have unconscious emotional associations to events that happened to us
  • We come up with reasons that are not true

This shows

  • We have unconscious emotional associations to events
  • We might not know consciously the cause of our fears
  • Our stated reasons may not be the real reasons
  • Asking yourself why isn’t always the solution
  • We come up with reasons that are not true


Ordering in a Restaurant

Different approaches

  • look at the menu ahead of time
  • Ask the waiter was popular or what do they recommend
  • “what are you getting?“
  • Order for me

Just order quickly

Certain personalities

  • Want all the information available
  • want to be right

Practice Quick Decisions

  • Ordering in a restaurant
  • Let go of perfectionism

A Need For Control

Isaiah 26:3-4

3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep you in perfect peace,

Because he trusts in You.

4 “Trust in the LORD forever,

For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.

If you think about:

  • Past > low mood, depression
  • Future > Anxiety
  • Trying to control that future

Are you trusting in God to solve your problems or are you trusting in your own ability?

Peace is connected to trust

You are trying to predict an outcome that is uncertain

  • Leads to worry


“Uncontrollable” Stress is more toxic than stress that you feel is in your control

--Maler, 2011

The exact same stressor can have little toxic effect if the subject has a sense of control over the situation


Fear of Man

Proverbs 29:25

The fear of man brings a snare, But one who trusts in the LORD will be protected.

You know that you have fear of man when people’s opinions matters too much and your decision is based upon seeking to control their reaction.  

Fear of Failure

Fear of the Future

Psalm 56:3

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."

Fear causes us to look into the future and erase the presence of God. Faith causes us to look into the future and assume the presence of God.

Identify the Lie

Having Anxiety and Depression

  • Stop listening to yourself… And start talking to yourself



Philippians 4:6-9

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

Finally brothers and sisters whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything it’s excellent and praiseworthy – think about such things

And the God of peace will be with you

  1. Pray
  2. Focus on whatever is right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy


  1. Moves the heart of God
  2. Changes the chemistry in your brain

Moves the heart of God

  • Habakkuk praying against the wall
  • Parable of the persistent woman

Prayer changes your brain

Neural plasticity means that our brain is constantly changing and rewiring itself

It has been found that 12 minutes of daily focus prayer over an eight week period. Can change the brain to such an extent that it can be measured on a brain scan

—Switch on your Brain by Dr. Caroline leaf

The same way that toxic and negative thoughts harm your brain, prayer can heal your brain.  

  • To transform your brain and renew your mind.

Prayer Changes Your Brain

Change Your Focus

Your life is moving in the direction of your strongest thoughts

  • Do you like the direction your thoughts are taking you in

Don’t Focus on What You Don’t Have

Exodus 4:1-5

1Then Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to my voice? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’ ”

2And the LORD asked him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

3“Throw it on the ground,” said the LORD. So Moses threw it on the ground, and it became a snake,and he ran from it.

4“Stretch out your hand and grab it by the tail,” the LORD said to Moses, who reached out his hand and caught the snake, and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5“This is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

  • God responded with a question

Moses was saying:  Give me something else

“What is that in your hand?”

God will always point you to what is at hand… What he already gave you

Moses was worrying about hypothetical questions

You need to focus on what God has already given you.

Social Anxiety - Be Curious

When normal interactions cause excessive worry, fear or embarrassment.  

Mindset: Show up to see not to be seen

Are you here to see or be seen?

  • Be genuinely curious
  • The energy goes in the other direction
  • You aren’t worried about what to say or who to talk to
  • When you are interested you become interesting
  • This looks like confidence

Practical Techniques

Grounding Techniques

  • Attention redirection

Things you can do when you are stressed

Your body thinks: What you focus on is important

  1. Chew gum
  2. Count backwards from 100
  3. Go For a 10 Minute Brisk Walk/Run
  4. Glance at Greenery for 40 Seconds
  • “watch grass grow”
  1. Splash cold water on your face
  2. Put a cool cloth on your face or wrist
  3. The elastic band technique
  • Wearing elastic band on your wrist and when you feel stress slap it on your wrist gently
  1. Focus on colors
  • Pick a color and look around the room and find all the optics of that color
  • What is the most common color in the room?

Lifestyle Changes

  • Get Regular Exercise
  • Rest
  • Nature Walk for Minimum 20 Minutes
  • Spend Time with Family/Friends

Get Regular Exercise

  • relieves tension
  • stimulates the release of chemicals in your brain called endorphins


  • natural pain killers
  • improve sleep
  • help relieve stress

"It’s one of the best ways to manage stress and maintain healthy digestion," Koch says.

Rest & Relaxation


Don’t Trade Sleep for Productivity

  • No aspect of our biology is left unscaved by sleep deprivation
  • 7-9 hours per night

The more stress you have the harder you have to rest

Slow-paced Instrumental Music

5 Minutes of Alone Time with no Stimulation

  • No phone
  • No music

Nature Walk for Minimum 20 Minutes

Spend Time with Family/Friends

  • Tend and befriend response
  • Oxytocin is released when you meet with people

Spend Time with Your Pet

interaction with animals increases oxytocin which decreases stress

Breath control

Down-regulation via breathing

  • Diaphragmatic breathing (deep breath)
  • Inhale through nose; hold; exhale through mouth
  • Increase duration of exhale compared to breathing

Most effective for stress - decreases energy

Box breathing

  • Used by DOD
  • Bottom up - breath controls what’s going on in head
  • Breath in - 4 secs
  • Hold - 4 secs
  • Breath out - 4 secs
  • Hold - 4 secs

Memory Verses

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

and lean not on your own understanding;

6in all your ways acknowledge Him,

and He will make your paths straight.

Psalms 56:3-4

3 When I am afraid,

I will put my trust in You.

4 In God, whose word I praise,

In God I have put my trust;

I shall not be afraid.

What can mere mortals do to me?

Isaiah 26:3-4

3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,

Because he trusts in You.

4 “Trust in the LORD forever,

For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.

Psalms 42:11

11 Why are you in despair, my soul?

And why are you restless within me?

Wait for God, for I will again praise Him

For the help of His presence, my God.

Philippians 4:12-13

12 I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Isaiah 40:31

 31 Yet those who wait for the LORD

Will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary.

Philippians 4:6 - 7  

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Get Closer to God

Matthew 14: 26-31

26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

28 Peter responded and said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and when he began to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out with His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

When Peter was walking on the water and he was sinking

  • Jesus responded immediately when he yelled out
  • Jesus reached out his hand
  • This means that Peter was close enough to Jesus that Jesus could reach his hand out to save him

It doesn’t matter how well you can walk on water it matters how close you are to Jesus

it doesn’t matter about your ability it matters about your surrender

God will bring you down low enough to let you know that you need them and bring you up high enough to let the world know that he’s with you

Peter Walks on Water


  1. Get closer to Jesus
  2. Focus on Jesus


Unchained Disciples : Dealing With Anxiety

Unchained Disciples : Dealing With Anxiety - Part 2

Unchained Disciples : Dealing With Anxiety - Part 3

Unchained Disciples : Dealing With Anxiety - Part 4


Triggers for anxiety

  • Abandonment and rejection
  • Low self-esteem
  • Seeking validation from others
  • Irrational thoughts and cognitive distortions
  • Unhealthy social supports and relationships
  • Ineffective interpersonal skills
  • Relationship turmoil and or social anxiety
  • If you can’t
  • ask for what you need
  • Set boundaries
  • Manage conflict

The unknown and loss of control

  • Negative self talk and cognitive distortions
  • Negative people you associate with
  • Sense of powerlessness

Death and loss

  • People and pets
  • Jobs and promotions
  • Safety and security
  • Dreams and hopes
  • Relationships, children
  • Sickness


Negative self talk

People Pleasing

boundaries is about allowing the consequences to fall upon the person who’s responsibility it is

  • It is not about getting someone else to do what you want them to do