“Worry does nothing for you and creates chaos in you.” This was spoken to me back in my Youth for Christ days while in full time youth ministry. Another staff person saw the state of my anxiety and spoke truth to me on it. First step in recieving help, is to recognize that you are anxious. It not only affects your health but it also pours over in every relationship and career move.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 people have anxiety. I don’t know about you but hearing that statistic grips at my heart. I’ve been there and I’ve seen others struggle with it. What I want to propose is that we not only recognize anxiety but that we also really do something about it, in order to decrease anxiety. We were made to live a life of freedom and flourishing so let’s start living it.
Let’s start by looking at the first point
#1: Decrease anxiety by being and staying active
When you’re stressed your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Movement is what helps rid cortisol. Doing nothing will keep your anxiety problem there, along with adding additional problems such as fatigue or sickness.
There are plenty of ways to be and stay active. Find one that best fits your wants and needs. Don't discount something because it seems too hard or silly. Click To Tweet For me personally, I like to go dancing or to the gym.
Be open to trying new things. For awhile I had loved boxing and yoga. You’re probably thinking that is quite the opposite Dani… One got my anger out through beating a bag and the other calmed me down. For me, it was a great combo for the season I was in.
#2: Decrease anxiety by connecting with others
What do I mean by this?
Communicate with healthy and safe people that are for you. One pattern I see often through the years working in mental health, is that, some anxiety people have negative mindsets that only want to believe the worst in people.
The brain is wired to protect. Therefore people who have anxiety sometimes believe untrue things about others and themselves. This will keep people from venturing out and truly communicating at a deep level. It causes a seperation of what we really need which is connection.
You can decrease your anxiety by looking and participating in groups that promote healthy relationships. If you have a specific concern in your life, look for a support group that addresses those concerns. Chances are you will find people who are a little less judgemental and more empathetic because they are going through the same stuff.
#3: Decrease anxiety by volunteering your time
This does not have to be a huge, outlavish cause but it certainly can be. Simply babysitting for a tiered mom for her to go out and have date night with her husband can be beneficial. Doing things for other people can bring a lot of joy.
Years ago I heard a sermon by Ed Young that impacted my viewpoint on volunteering. He said “you are either serving or swerving.” This is a good way of looking at volunteering. When we serve people through our volunteered time, we are on a course of doing good and living with direction and purpose. We learn to appreciate what we have when we realize what others struggle with. We were made to lovingly serve. Get creative and look for opportunities around you to serve.
The Bible says that Jesus came “to serve” not be served. We can look at his impact and see how it changed lives around him and how his actions are still changing lives to those who place their faith in him.
#4: Decrease anxiety by praying and meditating
Both get the focus off of our selfish nature of wanting things our way. Anxiety screams I want to control and I want it my way. While praying shifts the focus from what we think we want/need to what Gods will is for our lives.
When we put into perspective what really matters in life, we focus on letting go of our need to play the role of God and we surrender it to God. It takes the pressure off and it frees us to just be instead of constantly doing. While we pray and meditate God gives us what we need to sustain us, encourage us and empower us to live our best lives. This isn’t a simple one step process. Surrendering is a constant and continual act of trusting God repeatedly. Click To Tweet
Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and by petition, with thanksgivings, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Prayer- (giving glory to God, thanksgiving, confession, repenting) Prayer is honest communication with God
Petition- request for action
Ask God what it is that you are wanting him to do. Be careful, you may get what you ask for. Make sure that what you ask, lines up with Gods will. Gods will is always right and perfect even if it can, at times be difficult.
Scripture to meditate on:
- Luke 12:22-29
- Proverbs 12:25
- Psalm 46:1
- 1 Peter 5:6-7
- Philippians 4:6-7
#5: Decrease anxiety by resting
When God created the world he rested on the 7th day. Why do you think that is? Do you think God needed it? I believe God set this as an example for us. We live in a world that is very performance driven. We constantly put loads of pressure and expectations on others. This is so unhealthy. If God rested on the 7th day then what makes you think you don’t need to?
Certain tough seasons in our life can be a drag. We can feel like we are constantly hitting a wall. This is the best time to rest. Recognize what it is you’re lacking. Ask God, a close friend or yourself that deep question. Create a plan to rest.
Vitamin D level is down from the harsh winter? Take a vacation, hot yoga class or simply watch a show that makes you laugh.
Resting could also mean taking a break (permanently or not) from certain foods. What you put into your body makes a huge impact on how we operate. Make sure you are resting from foods that do you harm or you have given too much meaning to.
Be blessed & bless others,