As we learned last time, living as a “worrywart”, continuing to be fearful, being anxious will lead to panic attacks, irrational fears, and chronic worrying. These are fears that are out of control. Often these fears lead to irrational responses to life’s circumstances. People quit their jobs and withdraw from life out of fear they will feel fearful at some point and those feelings are so uncomfortable for them that they avoid them by remaining in their home.
Anxiety is the most common symptom of patients seeing a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Most of the medical community, influenced by psychology, assumes anxiety problems, worry problems, and fear problems are mental illnesses. The most common “treatment” for some diagnosed anxiety disorder is medication and psychotherapy.
A chronic worrier will suffer from physical body ailments, stomach and digestive problems, headaches and muscular tension just to name a few. More serious ailments such as ulcers and high blood pressure can result.
The feelings that result from fear, worry and anxiety feel bad. They may result in loss of productivity, and even a type of paralysis in life because they become ruled by the fear. These feelings may feel like “mental illness” or a “disease” because most people who suffer this way are not aware of any predisposing thoughts.
Often, people who struggle with fear, worry and anxiety react rather than thinking. This becomes habitual and so the person has fallen into a habitual response and it becomes “second nature’ to become a “worrywart.” They have trained themselves to respond this way and have done it for so long they do not know how to respond differently.
Feelings are a normal part of life but they ought not to control our lives. This word, “feelings” has been stretched to include thoughts, desires, attitudes, judgments, and convictions. These things are actually beliefs. Because we live in such an overwhelmingly feeling-oriented culture most people do not give this a second thought! (As a point aside, actively listen to how this word “feel” is used in every day conversations. You will be shocked at its inappropriate use!) Culture tells us we must feel good at all times by whatever means possible! Much of Psychology deals with feelings and the goal is also “to feel good.”
Therefore, many set aside their convictions and beliefs if it helps to make them “feel better” which seems to be the highest goal. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being happy, unless it’s your greatest goal.
Did you know that your feelings are actually symptoms? Feelings are indicators of what is going on inside in the heart (inner-man). Read this next sentence slowly and carefully- Your feelings are actually by-products of your thinking.
Making a distinction between what you believe and what you feel is critical because your attitudes reflect your inner beliefs about self and your problems.
I will leave you with that thought for today. More next time on this important subject!