The Benefits of Anxiety

Anxious Young ManAnybody out there want to be anxious? Probably not.

Anxiety is a very unpleasant feeling. Your heart may race. Your stomach may be in knots. You may have trouble sleeping and trouble concentrating.

Medical doctors see a lot of patients with anxiety. About 20% of patients seeing a primary care doctor actually have a diagnosable anxiety disorder! They may have many different symptoms, but anxiety is the underlying issue for many.

Untreated or longstanding anxiety is certainly not good for your health. It’s a marker of stress, and we all know what long-term stress can do.

But there IS something very positive about anxiety.

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A Response to Recent Election Results

BallotAlong with millions of others I was watching the election returns on TV Tuesday night. The last two days have provided somewhat of an emotional roller-coaster for me, and I know I’m not alone. A large group of people were surprised by the election results, and are now struggling to find ways to both understand what happened and to choose how to move forward.

Some possible responses to these events are decidedly unhelpful: becoming angry, running away and hiding, remaining depressed. And moving to some South Pacific island probably won’t work for most of us!

The pundits and TV talking heads have poured over the detailed numbers and there seems to be somewhat of a consensus: the country is changing.

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Doctor, Doctor: Bitterness and Unforgiveness

Doctor, Doctor: Bitterness and Unforgiveness

Bitterness and unforgiveness doesn’t pay. Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

OK, pretty graphic. And I can’t take credit for coming up with that analogy. But that’s exactly what bitterness and unforgiveness does. It’s terribly toxic physically, not to mention emotionally and spiritually.

It does no good to say, “It’s OK. It doesn’t matter.” It does matter, and that’s the very reason forgiveness is so important – and so difficult.

Some fascinating research has found some very physical effects of unforgiveness. (And by the way, this research has been done by psychologists and medical doctors at major universities.) Here’s a sample:

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5 Tips For Growing Up

5 Tips For Growing Up

Growing up is a process. Have you ever grown up in some significant way when everything was easy?

Probably not.

There’s the cliché that says, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” I don’t believe that’s always true. Sometimes trauma can stunt our growth: child abuse, rape, severe poverty, and others. There are probably many variables that determine how one responds: genetics, time, age, support, personality, and much more.

I DO know that the times when I’ve grown the most have definitely been some of the most difficult. That doesn’t mean to say I’ve grown from every problem! But if I hadn’t had real almost-overwhelming challenges at times I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Sometimes I feel like Einstein when a fire destroyed much of his work. Far from feeling devastated, he is reported to have said, “Now we can start over!”

So what can we do to turn a problem, a tragedy, a loss, a trauma into a growth experience? These tips can help make the difference in growing up.

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Growing Up Is Hard To Do

MadelynOur little granddaughter is a month old. Is there anything more precious? We’re told Madelyn will be the last one, so we as her grandparents treasure each moment just a little bit more. We know this will be the last opportunity to stroke such silky hair, to grasp such tiny fingers, and to hold such a tiny life in our arms – at least in the Tanksley family.

A newborn baby is a full-time job. Mommy and Daddy do it gladly – at least most of the time! But their biggest job is working themselves out of a job, helping her grow to become thoughtful, loving, wise – and independent.

Growing up emotionally, relationally, and spiritually is often harder than growing up physically. We pick up fears from the people around us. Something painful happens and we pull back inside and hide. The people who should be there for us somehow let us down, and we stop growing.

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