Search me O God and know my heart
Examine me revealing my anxious thoughts
Show me ways I need to release
Help me purge negativity and live in your sweet peace
Let your power and strength flow through me
Shine your light to repel all anxiety
Definition (according to dictionary.com) - distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune; angst; apprehension; concern; dread; jitters; nervousness; panic; restlessness
Anxiety does not always look like a full on panic attack where your heart is beating rapidly, you are taking quick breaths, and you are sweating and disoriented. Sometimes anxiety sneaks up on us unexpectedly, uninvited, and ultimately unwanted.
Anxiety - when you call your loved one and they don't answer or call you back before the night is over which is very unusual causing all types of "I wonder what's wrong', 'I hope they are ok', 'what if something happened' thoughts to flood your mind.
Anxiety - when you get (or miss) a call from your child's school Nurse that they are sick or from the Principal that there was an incident, situation, or altercation.
Anxiety - when you and your partner are going through a tough patch and you can't seem to come to a common ground.
Anxiety - when you need to move and you are out bid on a home and the apartments in your desired living area have no vacancies.
Anxiety - when the phone rings between midnight and 5am.
Anxiety is often caused by events or situations outside of our control and we allow our responses to also be out of control. So how can we offset the anxiety and prevent from having a full on meltdown or panic attack?
As a Christian, I find solace in God's word and believing His promises for my life. When I remind myself of this regularly, I am reassured that no phone call, circumstance, or situation is more than I can handle through Christ. This further means to keep my emotions from deciding how I respond. I am in no way suggesting to not feel the moment, but I am encouraging you to then push through in full confidence that you will get through it and things will be okay. This works for me because I believe God's word to be true and the scriptures come alive to me every time I read them. Does meditation, music, prayer, sitting in quiet, or going for a walk help you?
- How do you center yourself to help you find your place of peace?
Don't Overthink It
Instead of immediately preparing for the worst and causing your blood pressure to go up, just stick to the known facts and don't make stories up that are based on the what ifs that try to flood your thoughts. By sticking to the facts, you help prevent your thoughts from spiraling into a story that is really made up of a history of tv shows, news, and movies. Live in the moment and prepare based on the current information on hand. If there was an accident, make sure immediate family members are tended to and not by themselves. If someone has not responded to calls or texts, get someone to go do a welfare check if you are not close enough to do one yourself. I tell myself to stick to the facts when I don't have the whole story and this helps prevent myself from speculating. I live in the moment and don't try to have the whole situation resolved and played out in my mind. I don't always succeed, but I have gotten more consistent in preventing stories of stress from overtaking my thoughts and having me overthink the worst case scenarios that try to flood my thoughts. In extreme cases, when I need to be talked off the ledge of overthinking by someone other than my overthinking self, I do resort to calling my reinforcements - a select few of individuals who I know will give me neutral, yet wise guidance.
- In what ways do you talk yourself off the ledge of overthinking?
Be Proactive/Forward Thinking
Some anxiety can be defeated or significantly decreased just by being forward thinking. We often get comfortable with 'not feeling like putting in the effort to (fill in the blank--)' but if we put in the effort, our future self will thank us for it later.
- If lunch and dinner is prepped for the week or at least a few days, then an unexpected call to the school doesn't throw off your entire evening.
- A list of Doctors, their specialty, phone number, and who's Doctor in the family they are in a common place keeps the adults in the house on the same page for appointments and follow ups with regards to scheduling.
- Though we don't like to think about it, having all account and insurance information up to date is essential in emergencies and also near emergencies. This includes banking, Retirement, Stocks, IRAs, Roth IRAs, Pension, Life Insurance, and even Credit Cards, Utilities, Car and Mortgage specifics
- Speaking of Mortgage, what are the house related updates - the last time the HVAC was serviced, Roof, Warranties for appliances, etc.
What can you prepare today that your future self will absolutely love your for and you can prevent anxiety from entering your place of peace?
While we can not always control the things that have an effect on us, we can always control our response. When we keep things in perspective by being proactive about known things and stick to the facts for everything else, we have already caused anxiety to be a thing of the past. What new ways will you find to face anxiety head on?
True Story: I was going to a new location to take care of some business, and the parking lot is enormous, a bit convoluted, and fills up quickly. On the way there, my heart started racing and I had thoughts of not finding a parking space, getting lost, and being late. At first, I was like "What is happening?" Then I recognized the anxiety for what it was and I started rebuking it (center yourself). I have never had panic attacks or any anxiety of this sort before and I was not going to accept this as my reality (don't overthink). After praying and rebuking said anxiety, immediately, I felt peace and calm again. I then started remembering the directions and instructions I was provided (forward thinking) and I had peace and calm for the remainder of my ride. Upon arrival, I reached my destination safely, while I did get a bit turned around outside the building, when I got inside the building, I navigated safely and and arrived early to my destination. When we combat anxiety, we take back our confidence in who we are and what we can do.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT) - Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.