Voice of Anxiety—listening and adjusting the impact
By Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC, LPC-S
At some point within your journey of counseling you will probably experience anxiety and/or stress. When anxiety attacks it often comes with some fear-based statements about being hurt, not being loved or basic needs not being met. This handout will address one method of intentionally listening to those statements and defusing the anxious fear by comforting the pain that drives anxiety. The method is from the Center for Relational Care in Austin, TX.
We all have and hold emotions that are necessary to experience healthy relationships. Often times our cup of emotions becomes full of painful, positive or a mix. When there is a high amount of painful emotions like hurt, sadness, or disappointment those can be seen in behaviors and thoughts that look like resentment, fear, anxiety or insecurity. When those thoughts are ignored they can develop into guilt, condemnation and isolation either emotionally or physically or both.
The Voice of Anxiety can become very potent and can almost silence the initial hurt, sadness or disappointment. While it is important to address the Voice of Anxiety, it is also equally important to allow the original pain to be comforted. Scripturally there is evidence that King David, Asaph, and others experienced anxiety. Look at Psalm 55:1-7 for an example from King David. We know God always provides help for us so can allow wisdom from three scriptures to be applied as we learn to let God and others comfort our pain that is driving the anxiety: Matthew 5:4; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Romans 12:15. Practice expressing your emotional cup with God and then let Him comfort you. Tell God what hurts, ask Him to heal the hurt, invite Him to comfort you and then practice gratitude by resting in God’s character. By relating to God and others with compassion and love, we will see the fear driven out that is supporting any negative thought patterns.
While you are being comforted, it is important to honor your limits physically. In the process of healing if the anxiety begins to hinder basic physical conditions like eating, breathing and thinking clearly, it may be necessary to obtain a medical evaluation. Nutritional supplements are often helpful along with some possible suggestions for short-term medication if necessary. You may also enjoy learning the anatomy of anxiety by reviewing the typical neurological path of anxiety, as you analyze the current situation; see the specific fears, behaviors and negative thoughts. Learn to communicate your hurt appropriately in relationships and your isolation will also be removed through these growing healthy relationships. Contact me for some practical steps to incorporate into your daily life to manage and relieve anxiety.