Managing Anxiety and Worry

Do you find yourself worrying excessively or unable to stop thinking about things that might go wrong? Everyone experiences worry, stress, and fear from time to time. But if you find yourself frequently thinking about problems or possible problems, this may be a sign of a problem with anxiety.

There are many Scripture verses to study and meditate on for those of us who struggle with anxiety and worry: Philippians 4:6-7 and Matthew 6:25-34 are two particularly well-known passages about how to handle worry and anxiety. It is also helpful to have some strategies and tips for everyday life. Here is a three-step process that you may find helpful:

  1. Recognize the specific problems or concerns that are most impactful for you.

We each worry about different things, and to different degrees. Some of us stress about money and finances. You may hover over your child worrying about every possible bad decision they might make. Still others may review their work “to do” list a thousand times while tossing and turning all night. Identify the specific things that most upset and worry you, so that you can deal with them directly.

  1. Pray over that problem area regularly, giving the control back over to God.

It is important to pray “in the moment” when you are experiencing anxiety, but prayer is powerful all of the time. Regular prayer over the area you are most frequently worrying about will help you to predict, manage, and reduce the anxiety. You will see God more clearly, and He will give guidance on how to handle the problem area. And at the end of the day, God is in control. Praise Him for this, and be intentional to give Him control over the situation.

  1. Find a consistent distraction to use when the anxious thought begins to interrupt you.

Right now, the anxious thought turns over in your mind again and again and again. Find a new method of response. A specific phrase or Bible verse to repeat to yourself in that moment can be very helpful, and a replacement activity can also be a good action step to jolt your brain out of the repetition of the anxious thought. Distract yourself with something more wholesome, good, and true!

Real change comes from God 

This process will not eliminate every anxious thought from your mind, and it’s not supposed to. Perhaps you worry about your finances because you are making poor spending decisions – if real changes are needed, this process will help you to zero in on the problem, explore it with God’s insight and help, and will help you to identify helpful responses rather than obsessive worry that feels out of control. He does not want you to be stressed out, anxious, or fearful. He wants you to trust Him, to follow Him, and to allow Him to lead you.