March 21, 2019 at 10:14 pm #6371ToWalkWorthyModerator
One thing that I try to do is combine thought-stopping with replacement thoughts that are conducive to re-centering my mind on what I know to be true and right. Sometimes that is a statement about the situation – “You know that you are in no immediate danger.” Or I talk myself step-by-step through the situation I am anxious about – “Ok, now you are going to take a deep breath. Ok, now you are going to walk across the room. Ok, now you are going to…” Other times, I choose a short Scripture and repeat it to myself – “Be still, and know that I am God.” Saying these things to myself (often out loud, if the situation allows it) helps me either challenge the irrational thoughts that are driving my anxiety, direct me toward a reasonable path forward, and remember that God is always available to help.
Another thing that really helps me is writing. I know that prayer is one of the greatest tools we have for dealing with our anxieties, but I often struggle to stay focused for very long when praying (which only brings shame and raises my anxiety higher). But I have found that if I write out my prayers, then I feel much more connected to the prayer and thus also to God.
This previous idea dovetails with one I heard mentioned in some of my classes for dealing with various anxieties during the day. The suggestion was to keep a notebook (or post-it notes or paper scraps) in your pocket/purse throughout the day. When an anxiety came up, you were to record it on your paper and then put it away. At a designated time at the end of the day, you would then pull out all of these anxieties and go through them one by one. My profs termed it as a “worry hour,” where you would allow yourself to think about each of these worries before crumpling up the paper and throwing it away in the trash. Thus, you would clear your slate of worries and start new the next day. The reasoning was a little like the critique of restriction diets – if you try to completely cut off something your body wants, it may just create an even greater – and perhaps overwhelming – desire for that thing. So instead of just trying to ignore or go “cold turkey” on worrying, the idea was to limit it so that it is much more under your control. I haven’t tried this, but I think the twist I would take on it is to structure that “worry hour” as a “prayer hour” instead. So in that hour, you allow yourself to openly talk to God about the concerns you’ve had through the day – what the concerns were, how they made you feel, how they impacted your day and your interactions with others, etc. Then you (literally and figuratively) throw that care away for the night, knowing that you have laid it at the feet of your all-loving and all-powerful Father. (Philippians 4:6-7) While it might not eliminate the things that are causing anxiety in your life, it would give a framework for more effectively dealing with it.
Another tool that my professors suggested was progressive relaxation. Basically, you sit down in a comfortable chair (or I suppose you could lie down as well), close your eyes, and imagine yourself in a relaxing spot. Then, starting at your feet and proceeding bit by bit to your head, tense up – hold for a moment – then release each muscle group, while maintaining deep and steady breathing. I’m a big fidgeter so it’s not really one of my go-to tools. (I have a hard time staying still and focused the whole time.) But I have used the basic principle quite effectively in stressful situations, specifically focusing on the area of my body where I tend to hold my stress (my upper back, shoulders, and neck).
Have you used any of these techniques to combat your anxiety? How did they work for you? Or what other tips/techniques have you found helpful for dealing with anxious thoughts and feelings?June 18, 2019 at 10:52 am #6656CelinagreenParticipant
Hi my sister is visiting me this week. She is not a Christian and my anxiety level is way up and not exactly sure why. Please pray for me. Thanks!July 2, 2019 at 10:26 am #6673ToWalkWorthyModerator
Hi, Celinagreen! I don’t know why I didn’t get a notification of your message (probably missed a button somewhere), but I do pray that your visit with your sister turned out okay. How is your anxiety doing now? Anything I can do/pray for you in (hopefully) coming out of that higher anxiety time?
- This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by ToWalkWorthy.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.