Steps to Overcoming Anxiety and Living with Peace
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
We have all experienced anxiety at some point in our lives. And, some of us have experienced it more often than others.
It’s that uncomfortable feeling we get when we feel nervous, worried, uneasy, and apprehensive of a situation or experience that we anticipate is about to come. Sometimes we can relate the anxiety to a specific triggering situation, and at other times it can feel like it’s coming from out of nowhere and it’s a feeling we carry around with us in the background of our body and mind as we go about our day.
How do we, as Christians, deal with anxiety when it comes into our lives?
1. Reflect on God’s Faithfulness
As we see in Philippians 4:6-7, God encourages us not to burden ourselves with living in a constant state of anxiety. Rather, He encourages us to pray, request what we need, and remember to reflect on what we are thankful for.
It’s amazing how when we take time to reflect upon what we are grateful for, we are encouraged and remember the Lord’s faithfulness. We can then better place our trust Him and know that He will continue to provide for us as He has provided for us in the past.
2. Replace False Thoughts with the Truth
The Bible says in John 8:32, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” There is FREEDOM in the truth. It is when we believe lies and imaginary thoughts that we become burdened with unnecessary worry and anxiety. When you begin to feel anxiety, ask yourself, “Is this thought true? Is it absolutely true?”
Paul encourages in Philippians 4:8. “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” When we choose to focus on these things, anxiety can be prevented or begin to fade away.
Examine your thoughts and see if there is anything you are thinking that could be triggering feelings of anxiety. Then, ask yourself if this thought is true or of the kind of thoughts that Paul encourages us to think. Finally, replace that negative or false thought with a positive, true thought. Even better: replace that thought with a scripture that is edifying and encouraging to you.
3. Relax Your Body
If you begin to feel anxiety in your body, sit or lay down, and close your eyes. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale see the worry and anxiety exiting your body through your breath. Repeat this process as you inhale in peace and love from the Lord, and exhale out the anxiety and any thoughts that trouble you.
Repeat this breathing as long as you need to, and focus on all the parts of your body relaxing from your toes up to your head as you release the tension from each part. Envision yourself resting in a beautiful, tranquil place, in the Lord’s presence, free of all anxiety.
It’s very helpful to include this exercise of breathing and relaxing your mind and body daily, to help your body to be more familiar with the experience of full relaxation in order for you to be able to access that full peaceful experience whenever you may need it most.
Be well, my dear sisters, and may God bless you and keep you always!
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
(1 Peter 5:7)