Christianity was supposed to be about becoming like Jesus. We went in the wrong direction.
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Anxiety can range from a slight apprehension to a crippling paralysis. It can be neurological in origin or arise developmentally in disadvantageous circumstances. It can even be useful if it provides a sense of caution in a dangerous environment.

Sometimes anxiety can produce OCD like symptoms in which a person keeps anxiety at bay by familiar or repetitive actions. The comfort of the familiar can become a prison in its own right. For this reason it can be beneficial to attempt to occasionally intentionally to do something in a different way. This can, while perhaps uncomfortable, help a person keep “prison” doors open.

A type of anxiety like selective mutism can be location dependant (such as school vs. family environments) or can be individual related such as with a parent, boss, teacher, or cop. Anxiety can even be topic related such that things like religion, politics, or even something like a favorite song can be seen as being “attacked” the response to which can be retaliation.

Most anxiety is dealt with through avoidance. However, being aggressive or assertive can also be used as a defense mechanism keeping others away. Most people with anxieties leave childhood without much conscious control of their actions. The development of automatic protection mechanisms is often seen as just one’s “normal” personality. The adult with these mechanisms may not even realize how they have come to dominate his life.

The person who is introverted or reclusive may find that social encounters produce the anxiety that he prefers to avoid. However, there may be a longing or desire for a relational connection that seems to produce an anxiety of its own. A solution to this dilemma is to stop thinking of people as a monolithic social construct and experiment with encounters with individual people who may not have as much of the anxiety producing characteristics that others may have.

A person who had a bad experience may reflexively act to avoid circumstances where that experience could be repeated. This reflex may operate by producing anxiety whenever even consideration is given to anything similar to the previous experience. Much of anxiety mastery lies in exercising manual control over reflexive defenses.

Anxiety mastery often begins with gaining a more complete understanding of the anxiety defense mechanism, its triggers, and what conditions allows it to dissipate. This knowledge is useful to construct experiments that can modify triggers and responses. For example, a person who is anxious in social situations may pick a particular store clerk to experiment with using brief humorous statements and see if over time an anxiety response can be reduced. These sort of experiments can be useful to begin to take manual control over one’s life.

One might find a clue to overcoming anxieties from the bible verse;

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. - 1 John 4:18

However, one has to understand that the “love”, which is defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, is essentially, selflessness. The idea being that as Christians transition from the destructive aspects of living for self to the Christ emulating process of living for others, fear has less of a grip on a person. The word “perfect” should be better understood to be “complete”.

This might be understood by those who have been in combat and come to be resigned to the fact that they will probably be killed. That sort of condition can make many of the things that cause others anxiety seem irrelevant.

Being able to change perspective such that what one fears is less intimidating, is a good way to begin to get control over anxieties.



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