“Merimnah” is a New Testament Greek word for “worry” or “concern.” When Merimnah is used in a negative sense, it is used to convey, “worry.” When Merimnah is used in a positive sense, it is used to convey, “concern.” When Merimnah is used in a negative way, it is called “unsolvable worry.” When Merimnah is used in a positive way, it is called “solvable worry.” Solvable worry is normal worry and responds to problem solving. Unsolvable worry has no problem to solve. Unsolvable worry is when we worry about trivial things, things that might or might not happen.

In every stage of life there are “solvable worries”… its part of life. It is how we deal with it that is important. We must find a way to problem solve in order for them to diminish. For the very young, it may be love, food and shelter. For the teens and young adults, it may be friends, clothes and social interaction. For mid-life adults, it may be raising children, holding a job and nurturing a home life. For the elderly, it may be health, place to live, paying bills and death.

The problem with unsolvable worry is it leads to anxiety, and anxiety leads to depression. When we are unable to deal with unsolvable worry, we should seek help before anxiety and depression take over our lives. Professional help may be through a behavioral counselor or a local pastor. The goal is to change your thinking to a constructive and positive process and develop workable coping skills. The following are some ways to reduce worry and anxiety.

First, stress management is important. External stress is what happens to you; internal stress is what you feel. Negative thinking turns external stress into internal stress. The goal of stress management is to reduce your internal stress by changing the way you respond to external stress.

Next, is building emotional resilience, which is your ability to recover and bounce back from life’s challenges, and is key to overcoming anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy and stress management are both helpful in developing resilience. An important characteristic of resilience is a positive view of yourself and your abilities.

Medications, such as antidepressants, tranquilizers and sleeping pills, are only effective in the short-term. One must identify the root of the problem and seek a long-term solution to worry and anxiety. However, research has shown that a combination of psychotherapy and medication can be more effective than either one alone.

There are programs for teens and young adults, including positive reinforcement programs, metal health programs, positive youth development programs, “trusted” mentors for guidance, local community and school programs, church pastoral guidance programs, national youth programs, such as, National Teen Leadership Program, Teen Outreach Program, Teen Behavioral Health Program, and Juma Youth Connect Program (employment/job training).

The following are things teens and young adults can do to lessen worry and anxiety: don’t worry about being judged, stereotyped or perfect; don’t worry about being afraid of failure; look to the rewards of positive thinking; and, seek a safe place to reflect, dream, and make plans for positive change. It is important to surround ourselves with positive people.

There are other things for us all that can be beneficial to combat worry: sleep; regular exercise; and, be more realistic… eighty percent of the things we worry about never happen. Worry undermines our confidence. Don’t be afraid to face your fears. “Do not worry” is the single most difficult instruction in the Bible. Worry is opposite of God’s grace. Read God’s Word and be reliant on his comfort and encouragement. Some think worry is the lack of faith. Remember the opposite of fear is faith.

According to the Bible, there is nothing wrong with realistically acknowledging and trying to deal with the identifiable problems of life. But it is wrong, as well as unhealthy, to be immobilized by excessive worry. Such worry must be committed to God through prayer and trust. Taking the Holy Scriptures to heart as to what God has to say about worry can release us from paralyzing fear and anxiety.

In Philippians 4:6-7 it says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”