One morning, Death was walking towards a city and a man asked:
“What are you going to do?”
“I am going to kill 100 people,” Death replied.
“That is horrible!” the man said.
“That’s the way it is,” said Death. “That is what I do.”
The man hurried to warn everyone he could about Death’s plan.
As evening fell, he met Death again.
“You told me you were going to take 100 people with you,” the man said. “Why did 1000 die?”
“I kept my word,” Death replied. “I only killed 100 people. Anxiety killed the other 900.”
The pandemic we face today has led some people to develop a state of anxiety, which can be very dangerous for their physical, spiritual and emotional health.
Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. This is equivalent to 18% of the population of this country. But, the saddest part of this matter is that only a third of those who struggle with anxiety receive treatment. In our next blogs, I want to talk to you about this topic, which is very important in the moments in which we live currently.
In our last blog, we began to study Jesus’ experience with His disciples when He gave them the order to cross to the other shore and a great storm arose (Mark 4: 35-40). The disciples thought they were going to perish and called their Master, saying: Master, aren’t you worried that we are going to perish? On the other hand, we see a Jesus who was sleeping in the middle of the storm while His disciples were anxious because they seemed to perish swallowed by the dark waves of the storm. We see an anxious group because they were afraid of perishing and a Jesus who was calm because His Heavenly Father was in control of everything.
Is it a sin to have anxiety? Did Jesus’ disciples sin by being anxious in the midst of the storm? It is a very complex question. Let’s try to figure it out by asking ourselves what anxiety is.
Anxiety is part of the human body’s natural response system to any true or false threat we experience. When your mind perceives that it is in danger, it sends a series of signals to your body and as a result there is a response to that stress.
Stress is the response to an external threat when you experience a crisis, a task you have to finish, or the threat of an uncertain future. On the other hand, anxiety is the reaction to that stress you are experiencing. It has an internal origin. Low levels of anxiety manifested by the body are normally found at one end of the spectrum and can present themselves as low levels of fear, apprehension, mild sensations of muscle pressure, sweating, shortness of breath, or perhaps doubt about the ability to complete a task. These symptoms of normal anxiety levels do not interfere with your daily functioning.
On the contrary, these normal levels of anxiety help us to function more effectively since they produce greater motivation and attention to the stress we have in advance. Experts like Jennifer Fee draw their attention to seeing anxiety as a messenger. She says anxiety is that messenger that tells you what is important to you. Try to communicate with your needs, so that you can meet them correctly. If you kill the messenger, you will not receive the message.
When you don’t see anxiety as a messenger, it can reach clinical levels. Clinical or destructive levels of anxiety are at the other end of the spectrum and they increase high enough to rapidly decrease your performance and to cause a physical and emotional decline. Anxiety disorders are characterized by a severe and persistent worry that is excessive to the situation that is experienced. These symptoms cause anguish, they affect your daily functioning, and they occur for a significant period of time. In our next blog we will continue talking about this important topic. Come back! Please share your comment about how you are managing your anxiety, and feel free to ask any question.