We are living in unusual times. Not since the Spanish Flu in 1918 have we seen something so drastically disrupt the world’s routine and rhythm like we are seeing today. 

We would think that in the abundance of information and news coverage we would feel more secure, but since this information can be riddled with contradictions and mixed messaging, it seems to incite more anxiety and panic. Anytime we’re experiencing something that seems to threaten our sense of safety and security we are going to feel anxious and ungrounded.

Think about our physical bodies. 

When we’re cold our bodies will trigger little muscle contractions, known to all of us as goosebumps, to help warm our bodies so we can return to a balanced state. Our bodies are always looking for practical ways to return to homeostasis–a stable, consistent, internal environment. Our mind and emotions are similar.

When we’re feeling anxious our minds start searching for a way back to safety and security. To this end, there are some questions we can ask ourselves and some prompts we can reflect on, that will not only help bring our mind and emotions back to homeostasis, if you will, but also help us understand more about ourselves and other important feelings and beliefs that could be lurking underneath the surface.

  1. What feeling is underneath the anxiety?

If you were to peel back the anxiety like an onion, what would you find? Anxiety is code for fear, so what specifically are you afraid of right now? For example, maybe you’re feeling anxious because you’re afraid you could lose your income which may bring stress on your family causing tension between family members. 

Journal Prompt: What feelings are underneath the anxiety?

Faith Prompt: “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy”. – Psalm 94:19

  1. What are your feelings telling you about what you need

Our emotions are like those indicator lights on your car dashboard. If you’re running low on gas, the gas light will come on to let you know that you need gas. When anxiety or fear “pops up on your dashboard,” so to speak, it’s telling you something about what you need. If you know how you feel, then you can know what you need.

Journal Prompt: What are your feelings telling you about what you need?

Faith Prompt: “You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need.” – Philippians 4:19

Chip Dodd created this feelings chart to help us see how every core emotion (listed in the center of the chart) has an impaired version as well as a gift to offer us, if we make space to acknowledge the emotion we’re feeling. For example, the gift of fear is wisdom, and the impairment is anxiety. What that means is when we slow down and compassionately acknowledge the fear we’re feeling, we can connect with the gift of wisdom to help guide us through a situation that feels scary.

  1. What practical steps could you take to meet your needs?

If being aware of how you feel gives way to knowing what you need, the next question is: what practical steps can you take to meet those needs? 

  • Feeling lonely? You probably need connection. Maybe you could FaceTime a friend that you feel safe to be honest with about how you’ve been feeling.
  • Feeling overwhelmed? You might need to breathe. Box breathing is such a great tool to reduce feelings of anxiety and help calm your body. Start by taking a deep breath in through your nose (to the count of 4), hold at the top (to the count of 4), exhale out of your mouth to the count of 4, and then hold at the bottom (to the count of 4). Repeat as many times as you need.

Journal Prompt: What practical steps could I take to meet my needs?

Faith Prompt: “And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” – Luke 12:7

You aren’t alone in feeling anxious, and you’re not alone in seeking the support you need. As you slow down and reflect, I hope you not only find a reprieve from the anxiety you’re feeling, but you also learn more about yourself and what you need in the process. 

As you settle into the practice of giving yourself permission to explore the feelings that are showing up for you, you can more quickly discover what you need, and how you can practically go about meeting those needs. I hope these truths settle in your heart and bring you a renewed sense of peace.

~

Are there worries that you’re facing that have severely impacted your wellbeing? Take time today and recommit them to Jesus because He cares. And know that God has also provided the gift of mental health professionals to help when needed. While we do our best to provide you with resources that will help you in your journey as a woman on mission, please note that no article we share on mental health can replace professional help. So If the darkness is overwhelming and you are in need of help, please reach out to a trusted professional counselor. And, know that we love you. Each and every one of you was made in the image of God, valuable and treasured by Him, so please hold on and never give up. 
Barbara Hill
Barbara Hill

Barb Hill is an east coast native living in Nashville, TN with her sweet pup Nash. She is a mental health counselor with an undergrad in Biblical studies and Masters in Biblical counseling as well as Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is passionate about writing, traveling, and working with her clients in her private practice. You’ll most likely find her with a friend catching up on life and planning her next adventure.

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