In a world filled with strife, unrest, and fear, anxiety nips at our heals and niggles at the back of our thoughts. If we allow it, anxiety can overtake our minds and hearts to the point of rendering us ineffective for other life pursuits. While anxiety may always be waiting in the wings, we can take steps to fight it.
Following are insights on combating anxiety:
Recognize Potential Damage
With the advent of fall, I decorated our porch steps with three little pumpkins, one for each grandchild. However, racoons decided the pumpkins were a smorgasbord opportunity. They took advantage of a little rotten spot on one of the pumpkins to eat their way to the goody inside, leaving seeds and mess all over the steps. The next night, they drilled their way into a second pumpkin and also left a partially devoured mouse. Lovely.
Anxiety is similar. It looks for a tiny spot to bore into your mind, take thoughts captive, and send you spiraling into fear and worry. Anxiety eats holes in your soul. Approaching life with an anxious mindset damages mental, emotional, and physical health. Recognize the damage anxiety brings to your life and take steps to combat it.
Avoid Projecting the Worst
Perhaps anxiety was modeled for you growing up. If you had a parent or grandparent who worried about everything and projected the worst, you may be approaching life in the same way.
When you give anxiety a foothold, it has a negative impact on your perspective. Anxious people tend to expect the worst and approach life with a pessimistic outlook. However, much of what we worry about never happens. Living life with a worst-case scenario mentality taints your perspective and creates unnecessary misery.
A mind running rampant with anxious thoughts negates peace. To counteract anxiety, we must intentionally seek calmness and foster opportunities for quietness and rest. The greatest challenge to calmness is accomplishing the secession of anxious thoughts. Doing so may require rejecting what-if projections and forcing yourself to think of something soothing. When your mind returns to anxiety, say aloud, “I will not allow these thoughts,” and envision a place that has always calmed you, such as a mountain vista, lakeside water lapping against the shore, or incoming ocean waves. Listen to instrumental music and allow calmness to overtake you.
Cherish Moments of Peace
Sometimes we fail to recognize and give thanks for moments of peace amid ongoing anxiety. Look for and cherish times when peace washes over you. Praise God for the gift of his peace. Give him your cares and concerns and trust him for wisdom and answers to seemingly impossible situations. Often, igniting forward motion beyond anxiety requires trust and faith that, with God’s help, you will overcome what threatens to overwhelm. God is our greatest resource in battling anxiety.
“Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One” (Philippians 4:6-7 VOICE).
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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