What is anxiety ?
So many of us are so anxious about being labelled “anxious” that they need help to reduce this anxiety. It’s part of the mental health stigma that exists and that prevents many people from getting help.
One in five people in the UK suffer high levels of anxiety while one in nine people worldwide experience an anxiety disorder in any one year according to (Baxter et al 2012). It’s a huge problem! “the elephant in the room” (Mind 2011).
Although the causes of anxiety and stress have not changed over time, the anxiety trigger has certainly changed in the recent years. It is well documented what the main causes of Stress and anxiety are rooted in: Health, Finances, Relationships, family, work, violence, conflict and war. However, these traditional sources of anxiety have diversified including family dynamics, divorce, family types, including same sex and single parent families. These have led to increased isolation and loneliness. In addition to this, childhood abuse has increased, all which have led to modern living being more stressful with more complex stress situations and solutions often unsuccessful. Consequently, a general sense of lack of control over our own destinies is hovering over us especially among our youngsters.
Despite major factors in anxiety such as poverty and some diseases declining, there are constantly new anxieties coming up including inequality, identity crises and living with long-term disability. To add insult to injury, modern technology has brought entirely new sources of anxiety for the present generations including, cyber bullying, social media addiction, identity theft, grooming. Also, social anxiety has increased due to increased Social media use as well as loneliness a feeling of disconnectedness. In fact, social media has been known to sometimes give people especially the young a false sense of success in terms of the number of friends they have on sites like Facebook while in reality, they lack genuine confidants or friendships.
Unfortunately, anxiety and stress can affect everyone and no one is immune. This has become a concern in the church and among christians especially because it is rarely talked about. Although the bible prepares us for problems and difficulties in life, we are still liable to experiencing stress and anxiety. However, the bible has given us solutions to these problems and reminds us that we are not alone in these experiences.
However, as Christians it is important to be aware of stress and anxiety and then we can deal with them from God’s perspective. If we don’t identify them early, we will still suffer consequences and sometimes it becomes harder to see God’s perspective when we are too stressed or in mental illness.