There are many sources that cause a person to start anticipating bad things to come. Childhood abuse is the most to blame for the creation of anxiety. When a child doesn’t feel safe from the adults in their own home, they will try to rationalize and problem solve with an undeveloped brain on how to escape the fear of the future that should have been taken care of by their parents. Children that hear and see parents panicking, raging, isolating, self medicating and living in fear, the child knows nothing else but to anticipate bad things to come. The child will begin to fight, act out, hide, or developed elaborate coping skills for innate survival.
The other most prevalent cause of anxiety I have noticed is chemical genetic pre-disposition to depression. Remember, depression doesn’t necessarily need to look like the stereotypical demeanor of “down and sad”, in many cases depression shows itself as anxiety. A person worrying and obsessing over the smallest things most likely has anxiety caused by a low level clinical imbalance. You see, clinical depression can be minute enough to look as if a person is functioning normally to those around them when things are going somewhat “normal”, but when there are changes in life and problems that hit the fan, that low level depression becomes large and out of control. That is why a person suffering from this type hidden depression will show their imbalance by obsessing to keep everything in control anticipating that the other shoe will drop and they will not be able to handle it. So they keep cleaning, fixing, washing, counting, checking, saving, avoiding, hiding, and worrying to avoid a bad thing to come. After a while the adrenal glands of the worry wart can’t keep up and that person begins to show generalized anxiety, panic attacks, psychosomatic illnesses, and even a nervous breakdown. Our bodies just can’t keep anticipating bad things to come without action or else the body will fall apart sooner or later. Many times anxiety untreated will also result in very poor choices in relationships. Anxious people gravitate toward dysfunctional people because they appear to pamper them in the onset of the relationship but cause severe problems later on. Picking the wrong partner is very common among the anxiety plagued person.
The solution to anxiety is:
1) Medication– In most cases, anxiety can be treated with a low dose anti-depressant from the doctor. Miraculously I have seen medication fix unnecessary anxiety in most situations. It appears that when serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain are fixed, anxiety tends to be a thing of the past. There are so many Christians who resist taking a simple, non-lethal drug that in many cases is very inexpensive, because of the stigma created in our society about antidepressants and medication that help the brain. There seems to be a taboo that goes with the false notion that taking medication for mood or anxiety is a sign of weakness and faithlessness in Christ. I believe it takes more faith to take medication than to not take it and suffer. Also, many of the people who refuse to look into an antidepressant are drinking toxic alcohol or smoking pot everyday, and some how they justify that “medication” as OK.
2) Counseling- As I have said earlier, many people who are suffering from anxiety need to deal with the childhood hurts and false perceptions created by a dysfunctional upbringing. Along with the proper medication, there should be intensive counseling to help a person create new patterns of thought about the future and how not to keep anticipating bad things to come. The main reason most people look back, blame and focus on regrets of yesteryear, is because they are failing in the present, and see the future as defeated. If they were successful in the moment, and tomorrow looked hopeful, they would never look back or blame.
3) Spiritual confidence- Learn to focus on God as a God of the future, not the God of doom. There are many Christians who focus on a doomsday theology that keeps feeding the worry and anticipation of bad things to come. Jesus said in the beatitudes, “worry will not add one cubit to your stature” meaning, by worrying, you will not get any taller. He also said that His father knows every sparrow that falls to the ground and clothes the grass and lilies of the field. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself.” Only do what you know you can do today to plan for the future, and trust in the Lord to direct your path.
4) Learn to accept that rejection and pressure from others: There will always be those who will reject you and pressure will always be present, but know that you have the power to set boundaries with shameful people, and that it is ok if they choose to reject you. Many people suffering from anxiety believe they are helpless against another persons control over their life. You must understand that no person has that much power to control how you feel unless you give them that control. Anxiety comes when you anticipate, the other person’s reaction when you don’t conform to their wishes. I decided a while back that I would never give that much power to another human being in my life again. It doesn’t matter if it is a family member, friend, government official, or a spouse. No one on this earth will ever have the ability to make me so anxious to the point of living in fear and paralysis. The Bible says that the fear of man brings a snare, but the fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom. We should listen to those who give wise advice, and avoid those who flatter or enable.
5) Understanding your inborn temperament: Every person who comes to me for counseling is administered an inborn Temperament Analysis Profile test. This test will determine what is motivating you from the natural point of view, and what causes you to do the things you do. Knowing your basic inborn temperament will help you battle anxiety from the standpoint of understanding your natural vulnerabilities, weaknesses and tendencies. For example: if you have a choleric temperament in your control area, you will naturally become very anxious if you are in a situation where you feel controlled by others. If you have a Supine temperament in the area of control, you will become anxious if someone isn’t helping you make decisions or if you have to be overtly controlling. You see, we must understand what is causing the basis of the anticipation of the bad thing from your temperament point of view.