Overcoming Anxiety: Tips for the Whole Family

July 24, 2023

Anxiety is worry — whether about a perceived future or an imagined threat. The word “anxiety” is often used interchangeably with “fear.” But fear is a healthy reaction to a real and present danger. Anxiety, on the other hand, focuses on the future.  

Ever wrestle with “what if” questions? What if my health fails? What if my child doesn’t make the team? Or your kids think, What if they make fun of me? What if I don’t pass the test?  

That’s anxiety.  

Yes, we should make wise choices and appropriate plans. However, worrying about the future doesn’t help us prepare for it. So one of the best ways to overcome anxiety is to focus on the here-and-now.  

Overcoming anxiety starts with us as parents. But the tips below can work for our kids, too. Helping them learn to focus their thoughts on the present can calm worries they may not even be able to verbalize.  

The “3 x 5 + 1” technique 

With this method, you identify five things (each) that you see, hear, and feel. And then you ask yourself one important question. 

  • Look around you. Name five colors that you see. 
  • Listen to your surroundings. Name five sounds that you hear. 
  • Name five things that you can physically feel — the sleeves of your shirt against your arms, the breeze blowing across your skin, the fabric of the chair you’re sitting on. 
  • Now ask yourself, What do I need to think about right now? 

Paying attention to your environment is a great way to pull your mind back into the present. 

Other strategies to help overcome anxiety 

Lean into God. Read the Bible. Pray. Who better to share our worries with than the One who knows us best? As you surrender your thoughts and worries to Him, God’s peace will guard your heart and mind.  

Exercise and play games together. Anxiety can dump a lot of adrenaline into our bodies. Physical exercise and activities are a great way to burn off some of that adrenaline. 

Keep your routines and schedules as consistent as possible. Routine brings familiarity and calmness, and it lets you control what you can control.  

Limit your exposure to stressful sensory input.Too much news, social media, or screen time of any type can increase feelings of uncertainty and anxious thoughts.  

Don’t talk about adult-sized worries and concerns with the kids.This doesn’t mean we don’t model how to handle life’s hard parts. But kids aren’t yet ready to tackle the unique stresses of adulthood. Voicing grown-up concerns to your children can leave them feeling even more anxious.  

Keep learning 

For more insight, listen to our broadcast Helping Kids Navigate Worry in Healthy Ways. And take a look at the following articles:  

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Focus on the Family’s Counseling Staff is a group of highly experienced, state-licensed clinicians and pastoral counselors who specialize in addressing personal and family issues from a biblical perspective. Focus has enjoyed a long and valued referral relationship with Meier Clinics and other like-minded agencies who serve the cause of Christ in their clinical work. Focus on the Family offers free consultation through 1-855-771-HELP.

At Meier Clinics, all of our counseling staff are in agreement with our Christian statement of faith.   They are Christian and respect our clients’ beliefs, meeting our clients where they feel comfortable in their spiritual beliefs. Call us at 888-7CLINICS to get set up with one of our Christian counselors.


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