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Surrendering Anxiety

Tips for a multi-focused approach that works!

By Arminda Perch

Jeanne1 looked poised and confident outwardly, but nervousness and worry gripped her within. A young professional, she was facing life’s challenges while fighting a constant battle with severe anxiety. It disrupted her daily life and made many tasks seem daunting. Physiological changes like tense muscles and a racing heart added to her distress, causing her to feel overwhelmed and hopeless.

Understandably, Jeanne avoided her triggers, not realizing that this worsened her symptoms. When she finally sought professional help, she learned about conditions like generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. After finding out that facing her triggers was the key to recovery, Jeanne embarked on a journey of accepting and overcoming them. Determined to regain control and find peace amid anxiety’s chaos, she embraced making helpful changes to support her healing.

You or someone you know may have experienced anxiety like Jeanne’s. Anxiety disorders affect 4 percent of the world’s population, with women more affected than men.2 Symptoms vary from mild to severe and can worsen over time if untreated. Effective treatments exist for anxiety disorders, but addressing them goes beyond using relaxation techniques for short-term relief. Understanding how anxiety impacts mental, physical, and spiritual well-being is a vital first step for effective management and recovery.

Understanding Anxiety

Mental: Anxiety disorders disrupt mental processes, resulting in excessive worry, racing thoughts, intense emotions, and difficulty concentrating. Our minds typically help us navigate situations, but anxiety disorders can cause constant stress without apparent or rational reasons. This can lead to distorted thinking and unhealthy coping behaviors like social withdrawal, addiction, self-harm, or avoidance.

Physical: Anxiety also causes a chain reaction in our bodies triggered by stress hormones. The reaction leads to physiological changes like faster heart rate, shallow breathing, tension, sweating, and upset stomach. Anxiety disorders keep stress hormones circulating, which can result in issues like digestive problems, headaches, sleep issues, fatigue, or other mental disorders. When physical symptoms become overwhelming, it can hamper our mental functioning. This feedback loop makes prioritizing our physical health essential for addressing anxiety.

Spiritual: Embracing the spiritual means recognizing what sin is and what it does, then aiming for a higher purpose under God’s guidance and authority. Anxiety disorders manifest spiritually as feelings of helplessness, disconnection, excessive self-focus, doubt, and distorted views of God. Research shows that positive religious experiences reduce anxiety and improve well-being.3 Spirituality goes beyond just coping. It strives to break free from sin and disorder in the life. It fosters lasting connections to God’s sources of healing. Surrendering to divine power involves accepting God’s loving wisdom, choosing daily commitment to God’s values, and cooperating with Him by following His lifestyle plan.

Your Healing Journey

For working with anxiety disorders, I’ve developed a framework from the book The Ministry of Healing,4 which provides timeless principles for a wholistic lifestyle. I summarize its principles with two acronyms: BETTER and TRANSFORM. The BETTER framework offers TRANSFORM remedies and can help you put together a personal toolkit for managing and healing anxiety.

Become educated about ways anxiety affects you mentally, physically, and spiritually and find the best ways to address it. This might include reading, joining education workshops, consulting healthcare providers, or talking to others with similar experiences. This step improves treatment outcomes.

Emphasize nature’s restorative power, which highlights the meaningful impact that lifestyle changes have on our well-being. While medications may offer relief, they can have unwanted side effects and don’t contain all we need for a healthy mind. It’s essential to work with your healthcare provider to understand medication risks and benefits.

Trace and determine the cause. Anxiety develops for different reasons, and understanding your unique causes guides your treatment. Genetic inheritance and environmental stressors are primary causes of anxiety disorders.5 Though your genes cannot be changed, embracing a healthy lifestyle positively influences how your genes function.

Stressful or traumatic situations are often the root causes of anxiety disorders. Examples include dysfunctional relationships, unhealthy diets, illness, overwork, guilt, shame, exposure to violence, and distorted views of God’s character. Combating anxiety requires dealing with the various underlying factors. With counseling help, Jeanne linked many of her anxiety triggers to childhood trauma.

Transform unhealthful conditions. TRANSFORM is an acronym for a set of natural lifestyle remedies you can use as tools for health and healing. It stands for Trust in Divine Power, Rest, Adequate Exercise, Nutrition, Self-mastery, Fresh Water, Oxygen, Rays of Sunshine, and Mental Hygiene. Consult with your healthcare provider for personalized recommendations, and note the TRANSFORM inset that accompanies this article, where I give some general lifestyle tips for anxiety.

Eliminate or correct bad habits that can get in the way of your goals. To adjust your lifestyle successfully, change habits of messiness, carelessness, overworking, or lack of self-discipline. Praying and journaling can help you identify patterns and set goals for change.

Render assistance to nature’s efforts in expelling impurities and reestablishing right conditions in the system. Did you know that cumulative exposure to toxins like heavy metals and chemicals can increase anxiety risk? When possible, opt for glass food storage, natural products, and organic foods to reduce exposure. Use air and water purifiers and address mold and impurities for a healthier environment.

Overcoming Anxiety

I hope that the BETTER framework and TRANSFORM tools are helpful. Jeanne found success by using a variety of tools for both acute and chronic symptoms. Regular nature walks and cutting out caffeine increased her stress tolerance. Belly breathing and positive coping statements helped her through tough situations like social gatherings. Most importantly, Jeanne learned to accept and face her anxiety reactions rather than avoiding them. These steps led to gradual improvements in her quality of life and eventual recovery.

If you’re ready to start your own healing journey but find yourself struggling on your own, don’t hesitate to seek the support you need.


  1. “Jeanne” is a composite of typical clients.

  2. World Health Organization, 2023.

  3. Crystal L. Park et al., “Positive and Negative Religious Coping Styles as Prospective Predictors of Well-Being in African Americans,” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 10, no. 4 (Nov 2018): 318–26.

  4. Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Review and Herald, 1905).

  5. Suma P. Chand and Raman Marwaha, “Anxiety,” StatPearls [Internet], Apr. 24, 2023.

Image credits

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About the author

Arminda Perch, MBA, LCSW, is a licensed and experienced mental health therapist. Her website is