Doing Life Together

ID-10099572A woman walks into the mall to go Christmas shopping when suddenly she feels a sense of dread, her hands get sweaty, her heart beats faster and she feels like she is going to die.

Or a man has to give a short speech at the office holiday party and all he can think about is how humiliating this will be, he feels sick with tension.

Between family gatherings, pressure to spend money, kids returning from college, work disruption and holiday events, we don’t always feel like we are having a holly, jolly Christmas or that this is the most wonderful time of the year.

Some people feel all out panic and become immobilized. Others work their way through the season with little comfort or joy. So when holiday anxiety grips us, what can we do? Do we dive into the Christmas goodies, shop until we drop, drink to calm our  nerves, or avoid the parties and activities all together? Hopefully, we do none of the above.

Instead, we find the courage to face the fear. That’s right. In order to treat those anxious feelings, we stay in the situation, work through our discomfort until we tolerate it.

So our woman at the mall, recognizes those feelings of panic and tells herself, she is uncomfortable but will not die. She will feel anxious but can ride that anxiety like an ocean wave–it comes but it will go. She can make it through those feelings. Our man who has to give the speech, feels the tension but tells himself he can give the speech. Both know that the best treatment is to expose themselves to the anxiety, not avoid it.

Facing your fears allows you to actually work through the anxiety and become more confident to master it. To change your anxiety, change your behavior. Stay present, don’t avoid. And remember that when you are anxious, God is an ever present help in those troubled times. Ask Him to give you the courage to face the fear and walk you through it.

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