A quick reminder that throughout this series we are not waving a magic wand offering you ‘twenty seven easy steps to an anxiety free life,’ but – we are delighted that some will find lifelong strategies, others will learn to walk well and breathe in their anxious self and others of you will become unstuck.
On this sixth session of our Navigating Worry course, I’d like to focus on Phil’s point of being your own lawyer, or a therapist, or even a friend. A lawyer finds out the facts – read books, articles, blogs, listen to Ted talks. We all learn and respond differently and there are a variety of answers and helps that could work for you.
Could it be that we compartalize our anxiety and set times to ‘meet with yourself?’ According to Caroline Leaf, this is an effective mental tool, shifting your focus to the task in hand. ‘This is a proactive step that gives you a sense of control over your life, even when things may seem like they are falling apart.’
When you meet with the virtual lawyer, this could be through writing out your current scenario or lists of pros and cons. Allow the lawyer to offer the hard questions, the upside perspective, the best case and the what if? One therapist suggested speaking out your catastrophizing and hearing how it sounds. This can have the effect of diffusion or even humour as the anxious person hears their out of control thinking.
Or, you could imagine telling your closest friend of your anxious thoughts, someone who knows you well and wants the best for you.
For the rest of this post, I’d like to focus on the voice we can trust.
~compassion incarnate, peace as a person, the wonderful counsellor~
When you read of Jesus life, you meet a deeply compassionate person. Jesus isn’t one to hurry you from your anxiety, but allows you to be fully human and sympathizes in our struggle. Who better to allow to come alongside us than one who knows our soul. Let’s think about Jesus ministry here on earth and learn from his counselling ministry.
This is Jesus who finds us at white weddings and the whispering wilderness, in green gardens and gushing streams, lost in dark valleys and defiant clouds.
He will not judge you. But He does weep with you. He is life abundant and wants you to walk alongside to that place of His promise. He wants you to walk in the rhythms of grace. Freely and lightly. His presence is healing.
With this in mind, write down in your journal/ask Jesus questions, such as:
Is this worry realistic?
Is this really likely to happen?
If the worst possible outcome happens, what would be so bad about that?
Could I handle that?
What might I do?
If something bad happens, what might that mean about me?
Is this really true or does it just seem that way?
What might I do to prepare for whatever may happen?
Let His peace settle as you wait for answers.
I started struggling with anxiety in the fall of 2018. It scared me. I had no idea what was going on. What I learned was with my fluctuating hormones and being in perimenopause, one of the side effects is anxiety. Many wonderful people came along side me and shared with me their tips and techniques to battle anxiety.
First defence call on the name of Jesus. Out loud even if only a whisper.
Quote scripture. Lately these two scriptures have really encouraged me. Isaiah 26:3 and Isaiah 41:10.
Breath prayer has been so beneficial. I have taken a piece of Isaiah 26:3 perfect peace, and breathed in for a count of three, saying to myself perfect, then breathed out for a count of 5 saying peace. For a total of 10 minutes.
Ask others to pray for you. Go to my happy place. Your happy place is a fictional image that you create in your mind using all your senses. A place when you feel anxious you can go to and it will fill you with peace.
Listened to the song Psalm 70:1 by Steve Bell and let the words wash over me. One time when I had my biggest anxiety attack I had tried everything I cried out these words over and over again. Come to my help oh God and hurry to my rescue.
Read a devotional where it talked about not making mountains out of molehill. That day and the next few anxiety tried to whisper to me. But I told myself that I was not going to make a mountain out of a molehill. Anxiety left each time.
I also take some pills from the health food store. Harmony Menopause pills I take daily to help with perimenopause. EMP by Truehope pills I take daily to help with anxiety. L-Theanine to take right at the first sign of an attack.
*speak to your doctor or medical professional before taking medication or supplement
Meditate and Memorise
‘Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.’ Matthew 11:25-30
Listen: Goodness of God, Jenn Johnson.