Do you struggle with anxious thoughts? Here are some ideas to help settle your spirit.
I never considered myself a particularly anxious person.
Maybe it’s my upbringing.
Or perhaps it’s my personality.
But for the most part, I’ve had this basic ability to “take things in stride.”
When I found I could no longer shrug things off like I used to or move quickly past the pain.
Suddenly waking up in the night with a feeling so close to panic I could hardly breathe.
All of this gave me a much better understanding of my friends who struggle with anxiety. Women who walk around with a big knot in the middle of their chest. Women who find it hard to sleep well at night. Women who wake up with pressure bearing down on them before they’ve even rolled out of bed.
My friends, I’m so sorry that I haven’t been as sympathetic as I should have been.
Because I see now what you’ve been going through and how hard it is to carry a load you’d be so glad to set down.
If only you could.
But how do you put aside the heavy cares which seem to stubbornly stick there?
Before I go any further, please understand that I’m a woman of faith. And that I believe God has an answer for all our troubles if we turn to Him.
I believe that with all my heart.
So the things I’m going to share with you today are not intended to replace crying out to God, but those things to do while we continue calling out to Him.
Because while we can’t always change our circumstances and concerns, we can take real steps toward restoring our peace.
7 Simple Things to Settle Your Anxious Thoughts
1. Don’t listen to the news
While I don’t normally suggest we “hide our head in the sand” I do think there’s a time to turn off the news. If your heart is already heavy, then it doesn’t help to heap even more ugly things to your mind—especially if they’re things we can’t do anything about today. So for this season, let others worry about this stuff instead.
2. Take a break from social media
Either cut way back on your social media use or stop it altogether. At the very least, it adds unnecessary noise to your life, and at worst, it adds harmful negativity. I recently took a step away (not easy for a blogger to do 🙂 ) and limited my time there, only hopping on to “stalk” my grown kids and a few cheerful friends. Did my soul good.
3. Add active movement to your day
The last thing we want to do is “move” when we’re feeling down or anxious, but it helps so much. Move your body. Clear your head. Breathe in new air. You won’t regret it! Start small if you must and keep it simple. Find a friend to walk with or join a nearby gym if you can. When our kids were little, I’d make sure they were safe and then walk circles around the outside of the house (desperation inspires creativity!).
4. Confide in a close friend
Sometimes simply talking your troubles over with an understanding friend can help you feel better. While conversation doesn’t necessarily solve problems, it can offer comfort and perspective too. The very act of voicing our fears can take some of the “power” out of those thoughts.
5. Be extra kind to yourself
We can be so good to others, but we’re not always as kind to ourselves. Lately, I’ve found that reading a good book, enjoying an extra cup of tea, or baking up something special can nearly qualify as “therapy” for me. This kindness isn’t for selfishness or self-indulgence, but a recognition that you’re in a fragile place and it’s okay to show yourself a little grace here.
6. Take your thoughts captive
This is probably the hardest one to do, but so essential for you to have victory over your anxiety. The Bible tells us to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) which means we can — and should — DO something about our thoughts. When that anxious thought pops into your mind, you can tie it right up and send it packing. Every time.
7. Give thanks for the good things
Once you’ve cleared your mind of those worries, quickly replace them with things for which you can be thankful. If you’re really low, then start with the easier things. Give thanks for the sun that came up or for the food that you ate. Notice the color of the sky or the smile of a child. Sometimes it takes a bit of practice if you’ve been out of the habit of counting your blessings (or if you’ve been through an extra grievous trial), but this can have a far greater impact on your soul than you might first think.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
So walk in peace, friend,
Matt and Lisa Jacobson, authors of 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife, are the hosts of a weekly podcast to talk about what it means to be a biblical Christian in marriage, parenting, church, and culture. Matt and Lisa offer deep encouragement, along with practical steps and true-life stories, as we grow in walking the faithful life together.
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