Catholic help for anxiety ranges from counseling services to self-help through prayer. A strong belief in God is central to getting help for anxiety in this faith-filled approach.
Anxiety from a Catholic Perspective
From the Catholic perspective, anxiety results from not having enough faith and trust in God's divine plan for you. You begin to worry when you are not sure of what may happen to you in situations. As you keep trying to figure out what might occur, your anxiety builds. By relying on your faith in God and believing that He has a plan for you, you will start to feel as though you are better able to control your nervousness.
However, if you are suffering from chronic anxiety, also referred to as clinical anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder, it is essential to get help from a professional such as a:
- Catholic Charities counselor
Catholic Help for Anxiety
Many practicing Catholics who experience anxiety turn to their faith to reduce and eliminate their anxious feelings. They use the power of their faith in God, their religious beliefs and their prayers. The Catholic practitioner usually prays to a specific Saint and recites or reads prayers to that Saint. Many Catholic Saints have wonderful words of encouragement in their writings regarding worry and anxiety. They reassure the faithful that worry and anxiety do not help, that the Lord listens to prayers and that in His plan all things will pass.
The following are examples of the Saints that Catholics often pray to for help with anxiety.
Saint Dymphna, or Saint Dimpna, is the Patron Saint of mental illness, mental disorders and nervous disorders. Many Catholics send prayers and novenas to the patroness for healing for themselves or their loved ones. Others pray for her intercession so they will remain safe from any mental or nervous conditions or disorders. The National Shrine of St. Dymphna is located in Massillion, Ohio, on the grounds of Heartland Behavioral Healthcare. The location is the first church in the United States dedicated to Saint Dymphna and today Mass and Novenas are held at the Shrine.
Prayers to Other Catholic Saints
Although Saint Dymphna is the Catholic Saint most associated with anxiety, Catholics also pray to other Saints for help with their anxiety and worries.
- Saint Teresa of Avila, or Saint Teresa of Jesus, is the Patron Saint of headache suffers. She is one of only two women to be awarded a Doctor of the Church for her work and writings. She is well known, and quoted, for her writings on prayer, God's will, pain, courage and humility.
- Saint Padre Pio and Saint Martha are two other Saints that are often prayed to regarding anxiousness and worry.
Throughout the United States, Catholic Charities provides a range of services to people of all faiths. One of the services the organization provides is counseling for behavioral and emotional difficulties that affect people's lives, including problems of anxiety.
Catholic Charities offers counseling for individuals, families and couples that are experiencing a number of different types of difficulties including:
- Feelings of anxiousness
- Troubling behaviors
- Life changes
- Issues regarding relationships
A Word of Caution
If you or a loved one suffers from anxiety and is a practitioner of the Catholic faith, the first step toward Catholic help for anxiety is your strong belief in God and the power of prayer. However, if you or your loved one suffers from a generalized anxiety disorder, it is very important to seek professional help.