How I'm Overcoming Self-Induced Stress and Anxiety
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How I'm Overcoming Self-Induced Stress and Anxiety

Overcoming anxiety starts with the thoughts you feed yourself.

How I'm Overcoming Self-Induced Stress and Anxiety
David Vox

Prior to writing this article, I asked myself “Would I be putting myself out there too much by writing an article on my experiences with stress and anxiety?” It’s ironic because within that mere thought were many layers of fear itself.

Let’s face it, everyone has encountered stress, fear and anxiety – some more than others. Facing anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of because we all fall into it.

If you type in “anxiety” to the Google search engine you will find that it is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Some people actually have an anxiety disorder, which is the most common mental illness in the United States. This disorder affects almost 40 million adults in the United States.

Many people’s anxiety, including my own, may be induced by test taking, procrastination, fear of the unknown, fear of what others think, social media, and so on. Realistically, almost anything can cause you to have anxiety.

Throughout my experiences of meditating on God’s word, listening to motivational talks and reading the book Seven Answers for Anxiety by Dr. Gregory Jantz and Ann McMurray, I have discovered a few key truths when it comes to anxiety.

First, I realized that our thoughts directly affect our belief system, and when I say belief system I mean our state of reality. What we tell ourselves in our head directly affects our perception of reality. If this doesn’t perk up your ears, then you are probably unaware of the fact that 80% of our daily thoughts are negative.

To further demonstrate this point, a motivational speaker visited my team at the University of Florida as well as our Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and he acknowledged that the majority of our thoughts are not thoughts of affirmation but rather thoughts of negation. He went on to explain that our minds don’t want us to be successful, so we must think positive thoughts on purpose.

That said, overcoming anxiety starts with the thoughts you choose to feed yourself. Start today and change them!

Next, Seven Answers for Anxiety opened my eyes to the destructiveness of hidden assumptions. A major trigger of anxiety stems from our hidden assumptions. The authors of this book explain it best, “Behind the panic of anxiety is a storehouse of hidden assumptions. Uncovering this trove of assumptions, then, becomes vital to understanding the basis for anxiety… an assumption is not necessarily a fact.” Just because you assume something does not mean it is correct.

I often times listen to motivational speeches before track practices and meets. I listen to them because I face the fear of not winning, the fear of falling over a hurdle and the fear of the unknown outcome. One of the lines that I recently came across really affected the way I view fear: “Sadness, depression, frustration, upset and anxiety can only be produced by seeing a situation and then producing an interpretation of it and then believing that interpretation. So, therefore, you and I can only be overwhelmed by our thoughts about something – never the thing itself.”

Finally, I realized that I need to stop living by my feelings so much and start looking at the facts. What I mean is that just because I feel a certain way doesn’t make it a reality… and as an introvert, I have many feelings.

Another way to look at it is how authors Jantz and McMurray explain a life of objectivity versus subjectivity. Looking at life in an objective way is being able to make a judgment of something independent of what you may feel. Living a life in a subjective manner only feeds anxiety as it causes anxious people to reach a conclusion based on little to no evidence, just their feelings. The authors encourage the idea that “Whatever you feel is certainly the truth of what you feel, but there is more to reality than how you feel.”

Christian author Joyce Meyer supports this truth as she explains, “People live by their feelings more than anything else much of the time. If you listen, you’ll hear people talk about how they feel more than just about anything else.” Joyce goes on to explain that maybe we often times serve the god of our feelings more than the God of the Bible.

Parting Words:

When you start to feel anxiety creep in, remember the words that God left us with:

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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