You don’t want a completely stress-free life. Not really. But don’t some people seem to handle it better than others? Are they born that way? What have the unafraid and worry-free people learned that you haven’t learned yet? Can you become better at it? Yes, anyone, even you, can unlock the keys to overcoming fear and leave worry behind.
So how do you do that?
As a human being you actually need stress in your life. Without it you cannot grow or become Fully Alive. Physically, your bones won’t maintain their strength without weight-bearing exercise. Your heart and lungs need aerobic exercise to remain fit. Mentally, you gain confidence and resilience when you solve hard problems and develop new skills through painful effort. Spiritually, your trust in God grows when you experience Him being with you through difficult times.
And yet in our 21st century world the amount of stress threatens to overwhelm our internal human systems. It can feel as though it’s about to take you out. Pandemic, war, inflation, and deep divisions in society at large and family, health, financial, or other problems personally seem too much.
You as a human being have limits on what you can “take.” And it seems those limits are often exceeded.
Scott Peck began his book with the line, “Life is difficult.” But why do some people do better than others at this stressful life? Here’s what they know and what you can learn; it’s not the amount of stress you experience but your response to it that matters.
Your Response to Stress
In no way do I want to minimize the harm you may have experienced through adverse childhood experiences or other forms of trauma. Injustice, abuse, poverty, and many other forms of harm are real. They affect you. Their impact on you doesn’t go away by pretending it’s not real. We must never stop working to prevent and remedy such harms.
But you often hear stories of people who have overcome tremendous problems to become positive, generous, and successful human beings. You probably know such people personally. They chose how they would respond to the stress life brought them.
And so can you.
How do you respond to stress right now? Perhaps you respond with fear and anxiety. Your thoughts start swirling. You imagine the worst. Your stomach gets tied up in knots. Your head aches. You can’t sleep. It becomes difficult to concentrate. People around you experience you as irritable and negative. And you’ve certainly got lots to worry and be irritable about!
If you were to observe yourself from the outside, you might acknowledge that you’ve become one of your own worst enemies. Your mind is in turmoil. Your body is getting the fallout. And your spirit seems to be of little help.
But you can Retrain Your Brain! You can learn new ways of responding to very real problems you experience. Your circumstances may or may not change, but you can change.
Choosing Your Response
You know God says, “Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:6). “Fear not” (Isaiah 41:10 and many others). But how is that possible? You can’t get un-anxious or un-afraid by putting in more effort. “I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid! I’M NOT AFRAID!!” That doesn’t work.
And neither does quoting more Bible verses, though the Bible has a great deal to say about the subject. You can’t just “try harder,” or “pray more,” though your personal engagement and talking with God are critical ingredients in a resilient response to stress.
A room doesn’t become un-dark by trying harder to get rid of the darkness; you must turn on the light. And that’s how you will defeat fear and overcome anxiety as well; by turning on the light. By proactively putting something new in the place of the previous stress response you have naturally been going to. You retrain your brain.
“All of the Above”
God created you as an integrated whole human being, physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual. What affects one part of you affects every part of you. Most of the time the solution to a “big” problem is not a or b or c; it’s “all of the above.”
That “all of the above” needs to address all the different aspects of how God made you. And it’s important to not only treat the symptoms, but to also get under the surface and deal with the deeper matters in your heart. A pill to calm your nerves may be needed at times, but it doesn’t solve the problem.
The path to defeating your fear, leaving worry behind, and living with emotional wellbeing will involve addressing the care of your physical body. It will need to include wrestling with your mind and its thoughts and feelings. And of course you will need to grow your relationship with God, since He is the only true source of peace. The solution is truly “all of the above.”
And we have a brand new resource to help you do just that. Our Defeat Your Fear and Anxiety online course will help you learn about your anxiety triggers, care for your body appropriately, implement tools to win the battle in your mind, and bring God’s presence and peace right into the middle of your circumstances. It will show you how to Retrain Your Brain.
If your ways of managing stress are working efficiently and well already, great! But if you’re one of the majority of adults in our society who are struggling with fear and anxiety, this course will help you!
And if you get the course now, I’ll walk with you through the material. Beginning April 26 we’ll meet online for five group sessions where I’ll unpack the tools in more detail, and you can ask questions and hear how other course attendees are wrestling with similar issues as you are.
Let me show you how to Retrain Your Brain.
Learn how to Defeat Your Fear and Anxiety now!
Questions? Contact me here, and I’ll respond personally.
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- Unafraid, worry-free people know something you haven’t learned yet. They’ve learned how to choose their response to stress. Let me show you how to Retrain Your Brain. Tweet that.