Managing Anxiety  
Sponsored by WHPC Steven Ministry

Managing Anxiety  
Sponsored by WHPC Steven Ministry
Presented by Kyle Bender

Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church (the home church of our Third Well class) has an active Stephen Ministry. Stephen Ministry is the one-to-one lay caring ministry that takes place in congregations that use the Stephen Series system.

Stephen Ministry congregations equip and empower lay caregivers—called Stephen Ministers—to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting. Recently during the Covid-19 crises there was a felt need to address the greatly increased level of anxiety. Kyle Bender, our Director of Family Ministry, recently presented this excellent review of how we can think about anxiety as we continue our needed practices of relative isolation and social distancing.

Review and enjoy the guidance. 

Our Current Pressure Cooker Context 

Same chair - many different roles

All our roles are overlapped and mixed together.   Many happening at the same time.

Some of us may wish we had more roles to play. 

Physical distancing.  Loss of transitions and identity usually found in moving from different settings - home, commute, office, church, gym, etc.

Yet, there is hope, reflection, new possibilities…at it’s best it’s BOTH/AND

Managing Anxiety

Star Wars Princess Leia and Friend.

The Princess is Winning!

Anxiety:  Good, Bad, Normal, Problematic 

We will all experience worry, anxiety, fear as a part of normal life.

Anxiety can be good and appropriate

Can make us aware of something that is not right in our environment or life.

Can mobilize us to do something we need to do or push us to take action in areas we’d rather ignore.

Linked to flight, fright or freeze.

Anxiety might ask us to answer, “How am I going to juggle all of this from home everyday?” or “Do we have enough toilet paper?” or invite us to wear a mask in public or make masks for others.

Anxiety:  Good, Bad, Normal, Problematic 

When acute stress/anxiety moves to more chronic experiences we need to pay attention.

Normal worry moves to obsessive worry - usually future orientated and things outside of your control.  Ruminating thoughts that keep coming back.

Living in the worry-filled future is taking you out of the present moment.

Anxiety is linked to adrenaline - fight, flight or freeze.  Chronic exposure is harmful to physical health.

Anxiety:  Good, Bad, Normal, Problematic 


Spinning Mind

Racing Heart

Tightening Body

Difference between anxiety and panic.

Panic is irrational, catastrophic thinking.  Leads to hoarding and closing up.

Is what I’m feeling anxiety? 

 Most likely all of us would say that we are experiencing stress or anxiety about current situation.

Is there an emotion or feeling underneath that if you were to get curious about it for a second.  Can you identify what you are feeling?

If you can identify and put words to it, then you can start to regulate it and deal with it.

Anxiety or stress could be feeling - sad, helpless, confused, despair, irritation, anger, lonely, afraid, etc.

Grief and Loss

Managing Anxiety

Daily Check-in 

Morning, Noon, & Night

On a scale of 1 - 10, how am I feeling in each of these areas?











Benevolent Detachment 

Releasing to God the things we cannot control.

Limiting our exposure to and or worry of these things by offering them to God.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5: 7 )

Managing Anxiety

Inarticulate Groaning

This is really challenging our need for certainty, security, and control.

Anxiety can show us our misplaced trust around these issues.

How can you develop some practices that remind you to rest, trust, release your life and this situation to God?

If God designed us with the gas pedal of anxiety, he hardwired us with breathing as the brake pedal.

On Living with Others

We are all going to cope and process with all of this differently. 

Numb and become more apathetic

Get very logical and move toward reason

Get emotional and move toward feelings 

Others may try to create order in their outside world (projects, cleaning) to compensate for the disorder they are feeling in their interior world. 

You may work really hard to maintain structure and schedule

Go into emergency mode.

Make space for yourself and others to cope in different ways.

Get outside!

Limit your media exposure - news and social media

Practice kindness

Check your vitals - Have you eaten?  Water?  How did sleep?  How much screen time?  Have I moved in awhile?

Worst case/best case/in-between

Make a list of everything you are worried or anxious about.  Then label each one as either “Within” or “Beyond” your control.  Take action on the within.  Release the beyond.

Daily Check - In Rating Scale

Opening Letter from Esther Perel -

Thoughts around Benevolent Detachment came from John Eldredge’s new book, Get Your Life Back:  Everyday Practices for  a World Gone Mad. 

Managing Anxiety  - Sponsored by WHPC Steven Ministry

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