A Jungian Psychology Approach To Anxiety

Anxiety is a very common disorder in today’s world, largely due to the fact that we feel hurried, pressured and pushed to perform, pay the mortgage, deal with kids, and on top of all that, live a full life. No wonder we have anxiety. But what is anxiety trying to tell us? From a Jungian Psychology perspective, anxiety is the psyche’s way of telling us that the way we are living is out of balance. Rather than view anxiety as something to be eliminated, with medication, we need to see that the psyche is giving us a clear message about our one-sided life and is gently asking us to change this. Viewed in this light, anxiety symptoms are there to guide us out of a lifestyle that is no longer working.

Carl Jung argued that anxiety symptoms are purposive, functional and have a goal – the alteration of our lifestyle. When we eliminate the symptoms through medication, we deny the wisdom of the psyche in making normal, natural change. Anxiety often appears in mid-life, when many of us experience a mid-life crisis. The first half of life is aimed at establishing our identity, our relationships, our occupation, and building up the necessary resources to accomplish all of these tasks. But, there comes a time when we need to turn inwards, to encounter the contents of the unconscious (often provided to us in the form of dreams) and search out the essential meaning of life. What is my purpose in life? Why am I here? How could I be living a more balanced, natural life? It is anxiety that often propels us towards answering these questions. When next you feel intense anxiety, ask yourself what the psyche is trying to tell you? What is it that I am doing that creates the anxiety, then begin to address the causes of the symptoms, rather than the cure.

If we answer the question – what is the anxiety trying to tell me – we begin to address the cause. This may mean some change in the way you life your life, but this change does not necessarily mean that you become less competent, or less valued, rather, it means that you begin to value the wisdom of your psyche more than before. By addressing the causes of the anxiety and making lifestyle changes, the anxiety should diminish, having achieved its goal – leading you towards a more full, balanced lifestyle.

Overcoming the Powerlizing Power of Worry Anxiety From a Christian Approach

The way to overcome the paralyzing power of human anxiety is to replace it with the powerful promises of God’s peace. When we experience anxiety and worry, we feel unconfident and insecure about our inabilities. In contrast, when we experience peace, we feel confident and secure in God’s abilities. Truly, when we feel anxious and worried, peace cannot be found. When we feel at peace, worry and anxiety disappear. Furthermore, a Christian definition of anxiety is the loss of confident security in God, resulting in fearful feelings of uneasiness that something hurtful or bad will happen to us. When we feel anxious and worried, we fear not having the resources to cope with perceived threats to our sense of wellbeing.

We must remember anxiety and worry are thieves, robbing us of peace, serenity, sense of security, and confidence in God’s promises as revealed in the Bible. Worry and anxiety are symptoms of unbelief. They discount the promises God makes to us about sustaining us daily with His endless grace. Jesus believes so strongly about living our lives without anxiety and worry that He commands us not to do so. Jesus commands, do not be anxious for your life (Matthew 6:25 (NASB) or don’t worry about everyday life (Matthew 6:25 NLT). The reason Jesus commands this is because God is aware of our daily needs and issues. God promises to sustain us each day as He guarantees, saying Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say: The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him (Lamentations 3:22-24 HCSB). No doubt, I confess to be the poster child at times for worry and anxiety. But God, in His sustaining grace, provides for our unbelief. The purpose of this article, therefore, is to present God’s tailor-made, powerful promises for overcoming the problem of eight common worry anxieties.

The first problem is worry anxiety about uselessness. Sometimes we feel what we do for God does not matter. We feel like our work and service to Him is useless. God provides a powerful promise for overcoming the anxiety of uselessness where He guarantees, So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless (1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT). Confidently, God promises our toil for Him is useful.

The second problem is worry anxiety about feeling weak. We all have weaknesses. They may manifest as physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. God provides a powerful promise for overcoming this anxiety where Jesus promises the apostle Paul, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” [Paul responds] So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Assuringly, Jesus promises to supply His power in our weakness.

The third problem is worry anxiety about difficult decisions. Life is full of daily decisions resulting in healthy or unhealthy consequences. As sinners, we make unhealthy decisions and may fear making a wrong decision. God provides power to assist us in the decision-making process. One promise is in Psalm 32:8 (NASB) where God promises, I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Another promise is in Psalm 25:8-9 (NLT) saying, The LORD is good and does what is right, teaching them his way. He leads the humble in what is right, teaching them his way. Comfortingly, when we are teachable, God instructs us in making healthy decisions.

The fourth problem is worry anxiety about facing opponents. As Christians, we face opposition from the world. These opponents may be worldly people, worldly principles, or worldly powers. But God provides a powerful promise to overcome this anxiety in Romans 8:31-32 (NASB) guaranteeing, If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Convincingly, God provides power for facing opponents to His plan and purpose for our lives.

The fifth problem is worry anxiety about afflictions. We face afflictions and problems daily. But God provides powerful promises for overcoming afflictions. One promise is in Psalm 34:19 (NASB) where God assures that Many are the afflictions of the righteous; But the LORD delivers him out of them all. Read also the promises in Romans 5:3-5.

The sixth problem is worry anxiety about aging. We may worry about God’s care for us as we age. But God promises to overcome anxiety about aging in Isaiah 46:3-4 (NLT) saying, I created you and have cared for you since before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime-until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Confidently, God carries us all the way home.

The seventh problem is anxiety about not persevering to the end in faith or questioning at times whether or not we are Christians. God reassures us in Hebrews 7:25 (NASB) saying, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. What a prescription for peace! God’s faithfulness causes us to persevere to the end! Read also Philippians 1:6 and Jeremiah 32:40.

The eighth problem is anxiety about death. God provides a powerful promise for overcoming this anxiety in Romans 14:7-9 (NASB) guaranteeing, for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. With the confidence of being eternally secure in God’s hands, we need not fear death’s doorway.

In conclusion, God provides powerful promises for overcoming anxiety and worry. We need to practice preaching these tailor-made promises to ourselves. Doing so will not only eliminate current worry anxiety for today but will prevent worrying about God providing for our lives tomorrow. Amen and amen.