We all experience anxiety. But when anxiety dictates your actions, you need to find help.
According to mental health specialist Lyle J. Burrup, “anxiety is a normal human emotion” that can grow to become a debilitating disorder that “impedes normal functioning.” In his Ensign article “Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders,” Burrup argues that no matter how much it might seem like seeking help with anxiety is a sign of weakness, the only true weakness lies in permitting an anxiety disorder to control your life.
Burrup suggests that anyone who thinks they may be struggling with an anxiety disorder should immediately follow the steps below to pursue recovery and eventual healing:
- Seek a counselor’s help in learning to work with, rather than against, the traits that drive your anxiety.
- Learn to calm your body by practicing breathing and relaxation exercises, exercising regularly, and eating healthfully.
- Learn to calm your mind by practicing meditation and by challenging negative thinking with rational questions about how your thoughts may or may not align with others’ perception of you.
- Learn how to approach situations that trigger your anxiety so that you can engage with and then overcome the related anxiety, perhaps for good.
- Accept that you make mistakes; prepare a positive, accurate script about what you do well and what your personal strengths are so that you can read it when your mistakes seem overwhelming.
- Consult with a counselor to help you decide whether you need medication to help begin the process of recovery or to preserve the recovery progress you have already made.
It may take time to progress through these steps, and anxiety “may be a lifelong struggle.” However, when we receive “training in how to change distorted perceptions, thoughts, and feelings, they can become manageable.”
Burrup also reminds us of the help that can come through the Savior and his gospel: “If you are struggling, you can find comfort through the gospel of Jesus Christ, assisted by professional counseling if needed. And in His Church you can find support and acceptance as we all strive together to become one and strengthen one another.”
To read more of what Lyle J. Burrup has to say, read his full article “Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders.”
—W. Nathan Miller, Mormon Insights
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Find more insights
If you or someone you know struggles with anxiety, visit the website of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America to find tips and help for anxiety.
Read the section “Anxiety Disorders: The Most Common” in Jan Underwood Pinborough’s article “Mental Illness: In Search of Understanding and Hope.”
Read stories about others who have struggled with anxiety in Elder Royden G. Derrick’s article “When Men’s Hearts Fail.”