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Overcoming Anxiety, Worry, and Fear: Practical Ways to Find Peace Paperback – July 1, 2011
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From the Back Cover
Are you always expecting bad things to happen? Are you constantly worrying about family members' health or safety? Ever feel weighed down by negativity from the 24-hour news cycle? In our world, it's a wonder anyone can escape anxiety. In fact, 40 million Americans suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder. Unchecked, anxiety can swiftly steal your sense of safety, well-being, and peace.
But you don't have to let anxiety rule your life.
Overcoming Anxiety, Worry, and Fear helps you cope with and eliminate anxiety. Its compassionate combination of common sense, biblical wisdom, and therapeutic advice will free you from constant worry. Trusted author Dr. Gregory L. Jantz will help you identify the causes of your anxiety, assess the severity of your symptoms, and start down avenues for positive change.
Gregory L. Jantz, PhD, is a popular speaker and award-winning author of more than 25 books, including Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse and Every Woman's Guide to Managing Your Anger. He is the founder of The Center for Counseling & Health Resources, Inc. (www.aplaceofhope.com) in the state of Washington.
Ann McMurray has coauthored several books with Dr. Jantz, including Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse and Every Woman's Guide to Managing Your Anger. She too lives in Washington and works at The Center for Counseling & Health Resources, Inc.
About the Author
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Top Customer Reviews
Jantz opens the text with an Introduction filled to overflowing with every kind of fear a person might suffer. Aptly titled "One More Thing to Worry About," this intro to the topic at hand brings it home by addressing how commonplace most of our fears truly are. Jantz's descriptions will resonate with Christ followers in equal measure to those with no particular faith-based worldview (translated: everyone struggles against anxiety/worry/fear).
A smattering of Jantz's queries includes these questions for readers trying to discern whether or not they might find value in his newest resource. Jantz asks: "Do you ever find yourself fearful without really knowing why? Do you worry about a thousand little things during the day? Do you sometimes feel like you're smothering, like you can't get enough air? Do you wake up in the morning tired and irritable? Do you have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep? Do you avoid certain people, places, and situations because of how fearful they make you feel? If you've answered 'yes' to any or all of these questions, then this book is for you."
Jantz helps readers grasp just how cumbersome our electronic age has made our lives by giving us too much information too quickly, too often, and in too big amounts. For many people, living in a constant stream of anxiousness has become the only way they know how to live. The authors want to share a different way, a better way.
In this hefty two-part text, readers will first gain a strong foundational (biblical) understanding of the effects of anxiety, worry and fear. Specifically, they will learn how to decode their emotions and delineate "what's what" in the realms of emotions and thinking and believing patterns. A strong emphasis is placed on the importance of disciplining one's thought life and our hidden assumptions (which aren't so hidden as we might think or hope). Jantz discusses the various effects of stress in one's life and on the body; how individuals cope and self-medicate to ease emotional pain; how relationships are negatively affected by not addressing fears; how depression plays a part in these emotional struggles; and how people sometimes choose paralysis over making active choices.
Part two is the how-to "get better" section where the authors concentrate on practical methods for experiencing relief from fears and worries by taking control of the "volume" of what we listen to internally; by refusing to sweat the small stuff; learning to relax; making small baby steps toward change; proactively choosing a better way to live; making healthy choices; writing a new script for life; and intentionally trusting in God through faith.
There's much to be said about asking introspective questions and then making proactive, positive life choices. Jantz enables readers to do both, and his text is so engaging and encouraging that even those Christ followers who experienced such defeat before when attempting change will give it another go after reading this excellent resource. It's good medicine (for the heart, mind and body).
--- Reviewed by Michele Howe, author of BURDENS DO A BODY GOOD and Women's Health & Lifestyle Writer
Unfortunately many sources of anxiety are irrational in nature. We know that are fears are not grounded in reality or at least the reality is not nearly bad enough to warrant the level of anxiety we experience. Someone with generalized anxiety disorder may even have no identifiable object for the fear. The author realizes this, but yet proposes the same approach as if the fear had a real basis. Attempts to beat anxiety by these methods is often non-productive and leaves the sufferer more hopeless and self-blaming than before. It is certainly good practice to try to regain a rational outlook when faced with an irrational fear. And this often works for specific phobias, the one form of irrational fear that the author addresses with the well-known cognative therapy technique or desensitization. But generally the author doesn't offer a lot on how to treat anxiety when it is not associated with some tangible situation.
The book is basically a collection of case studies where some coping method was helpful, and the reader is basically instructed to go through trying them all. This can be discouraging and frustrating. If you have trouble in this area and buy this book, my advice is to check out the opening case in each chapter to see if it really describes your case. If it does, then that chapter may have something useful to you. If not, just skip it. Above all, don't look for any magic bullet.
The final chapter on the role of trust and faith in God is a special case. It has some very true things to say, but it also contains what I believe can be a devastating lie for some people. The message of the chapter is "you have grown comfortable in your fears and anxieties". In other words you prefer to believe your fears over God. Now if we are talking about ACTIONS we take based on our fears, there is some basis for this. We need to act on what we know is true, not on voices that we know to be irrational. However, this can be poisonous if we assume that because we EXPERIENCE irrational fear, it must be because in some perverted way we like it and prefer it to experiencing the peace of God. While actions are within our control our feelings aren't, or at least is not as simply as saying "if you trusted God you wouldn't feel this way". That is itself a deceitful voice and should not be listened to. This is the chapter that more than any of the others offers the promise of really putting an end to the problem, but it falls far short. I don't blame the author too much here, since I don't think there is any single solution. There is hope. Therapy and medication can offer varying degrees of help. My wife takes a medication that has virtually eliminated the worst of her struggle with anxiety. I have had some but less help from a different medication. But the fundamental struggle to wrestle with the the spiritual side of this issue is a very personal road that we must take with God. Sometimes all another individual can do is be there to walk with you and perhaps offer some small insights along the way.