If there is one thing I have learned throughout my entire journey with anxiety, it’s the importance of communication. It’s actually one of the main coping techniques needed to overcome anxious thoughts and feelings. Every time I teach in one of my classrooms or speak at an event, I always express how eliminating anxiety, panic attacks, depression, fear, and obsessive worry begins with communicating. I have probably used the phrase, “There’s healing in communication” over a million times!
One may think that this coping technique would be quite simple, but to the anxious person, it is far from easy. If you suffer with anxiety you may have found, as I did, that telling someone how anxious you feel was one of the hardest things to do. Those rushing “what if?” thoughts of, “What if they think I’m weird?” “What if they think I’m crazy?” “What if they stop being my friend?” creep in and can keep us quiet for years. Looking back, I now know how unrealistic those thoughts were, but in the midst of my suffering with anxiety, they were all logical possibilities mainly because I didn’t know what I was dealing with. I thought something was wrong with me, so why wouldn’t someone else? I am convinced that I suffered with anxiety longer than I should have because of my fear to communicate. Thankfully, my desire to live a life free of anxiety outweighed the fear of opening up.
So why communicate and what role does it play in helping you overcome anxiety? Let’s find out:
- Communication brings awareness – As you open up to others you will find that you’re not alone. You will discover that what you feared to be this rare, terrible secret is actually a very common issue – so common that statistics show 40 million people over the age of 18 deal with anxiety. When you begin to see that you aren’t in this alone and others can relate to how you feel, communication will become easier. Plus, the lonely, depressive feeling of believing that no one understands will disappear. Anxiety is always most effective when kept in secret, so stop keeping it bottled up. Go to a loved one, close friend, or counselor that can help to give you the relief you desire to have.
- We are created to be in relationship with others and God – You may not know this, but God designed us to be in relationship with one another. In Proverbs 12:25 it reads, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Anxiety is the result of an overload of stress. It’s important to recognize that we need each other to build one another up when overwhelmed and stressed with the daily pressures of life. Everyone at some point or another, whether anxious or not, needs someone to talk to.
In addition to others, we also need God. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to do the following, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” God desires to be in every part of your life, and He wants to take your anxiety because He loves you and wants you to experience His peace. Always remember that you are never a burden to God.
- Communication doesn’t only benefit you – I have found through several years of group discussions how sharing our anxieties with each other is incredibly beneficial. When you communicate your struggles, it allows others to see that you’re human and that you, like them, have faults or issues they can relate to. I believe one of the main reasons we can hesitate to share at times is due to pride. Some people feel that admitting they don’t have it all together is a sign of weakness, which is completely false, because the truth is no one has it all together. Not a single one of us is perfect. We all struggle with something and have flaws of some sort. I know it can be easy to look at someone else and think they don’t have any problems or worries, but that’s only an observation you are making from their outward appearance. They’re probably thinking the same of you – imagine that! We can all look fine on the outside, especially those of us with anxiety. We know how to hide our feelings, and we are good at it. I remember when I began teaching classes and doing speaking events, how people who knew me for years couldn’t believe that I ever had any issues with anxiety or panic. They thought I was this care-free, worry-free person and were literally shocked when they heard my struggle with severe fear. There were also people who came to me in tears, thanking me for sharing because up until that moment they felt as though they were alone. They didn’t think anyone else dealt with the same fears and worries. The look of relief on their faces is something I won’t ever forget. Being able to show others that conquering anxiety is possible is why I love communicating. Communication truly is key for healing not only ourselves but others as well. I encourage you to talk about the trials you’re in and those God has got you through. Let your testimony be a blessing to others by sharing it.
If you are someone who has been afraid to discuss your anxious thoughts/feelings with others, I hope this little bit of advice helps you to no longer fear communication, but rather embrace it. Remember, there is healing in communication. Thanks for reading!
You can read more about Confronting Anxiety and our Freedom is Possible program here. Or, contact us to learn more. I look forward to being a part of your journey towards a life free from anxiety.