What’s that you say? Anxiety is normal? 

We need anxiety. Can you imagine a world without anxiety (kind of sounds appealing, doesn’t it)? In reality, though, anxiety is a necessary, God-given reaction designed in us to keep us safe. 

Just imagine for a moment that you were crossing the street, and then you saw a car coming quicker than you expected. What would you do? You would have a quick burst of energy and you would run or jump out of the way. You would possibly notice that your heart was beating faster for a short time afterwards, or you might be short of breath briefly. That is normal anxiety and it keeps you safe.

Think of a time when you had a deadline for an assignment or any other task. Those deadlines can cause a certain amount of stress/anxiety. It’s in those times that the stress of finishing something on time that propels you to get the job done. If you didn’t have a deadline, you may just keep putting it off.  

So a certain amount of stress in those situations is a good thing. 

So with all this talk about anxiety being normal, when does it become ‘not normal’? How do you know that it has gone beyond what it was designed to do? 

Consider the situation that is causing anxiety for you or your loved one. Is the amount of anxiety disproportionate to the situation? Does it go on for too long, given the situation? Is the situation causing you to worry excessively? Is the anxiety affecting your day to day life? If you answer yes to these questions, then it is worth considering the possibility of an anxiety disorder, but of course, this needs to be confirmed with your doctor.  

Whether you suffer from an anxiety disorder or not, it is important that you program some downtime into your schedule. This could be as simple as a relaxing bath, a walk, having a fun day out – whatever it is that would help you feel relaxed. 

As a Christian, I also find it refreshing to spend time connecting with God. This could be through praying, spending time reading His word or listening to/singing praises. 

There are a number of ways we can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, and over the coming weeks, I will be taking a closer look at a few of these. 

Shauna Gallagher.  

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