Let me begin by stating that I am by no means a medical professional. These are things I have learned throughout my journey that I feel led to share with you.
I have been seeing numerous blog posts or videos about anxiety lately and it made me realize it’s more common than I thought. It also made me realize, after reading every single one I come across that I have yet to find one that shares ideas on how to manage anxiety. I’m sure there are some out there but, like I said, God has led me to share my tips.
Here are 5 tips on managing your anxiety:
1. Determine your triggers.
This was a tough one for me starting out on my journey to control my anxiety and quit letting it control me. You may only have one trigger or you can have plenty more. Me? I don’t keep count. Instead, I keep myself aware of these triggers so when they are happening I can do the next things on my list to manage the anxiety that’s coming.
Yes this sounds so simple to some. For me, breathing is hard, especially when I feel that tightness in my chest. I won’t lie to you; 99% of the time someone has had to remind me to breathe. That person now of course is my husband but there have been others: my parents, my sister, and friends. Breathing is more than just the natural act that comes to us to stay alive. Calm breathing is what I find to be beneficial. When you experience that trigger or begin to feel the effects of your anxiety, breathe. Breathe deep. Breathe in a way that when you inhale, your stomach comes up and when you exhale, your stomach becomes flat again. When you inhale, hold that breath for 5 seconds before you exhale. Continue this until you feel calmer. This also helps me relax my body so I can actually fall asleep so my brain doesn’t start running 500 mph.
Unless you are interested in hand lettering and a specific type of journaling, there is no need to go run to Pinterest. That was my first mistake. It made “making my journal” too overwhelming. Your journal is just that-yours. It does not matter what it looks like, if you write in it every single day, or log every detail of your life. I use my journal to help process my emotions and determine triggers for my anxiety. I also use it to vent or plan out things I need to say in a certain situation. If someone was to read a page in my journal I’m sure they’d be completely confused, but that’s completely irrelevant. It’s my journal remember? My journal doesn’t have cute handwriting (because I’m not an artsy person) and it’s definitely not organized (because for me that takes up too much time when I need to focus on writing what I’m thinking). Use your journal the way you want.
Yes, you read that right. I said cry. I never said to send yourself into a panic attack cry but crying is helpful, especially when your anxiety is so strong and overwhelming to the point where you don’t know what else to do. Sometimes a good cry is all we need. Just let it all out, whether it’s a sad cry or an angry cry. There’s a song by Matt Hammitt called Tears. This song truly helped me in so many ways learn that it’s okay to cry. Part of the lyrics say this:
“Just let ’em fall, like healing rain
Watch the walls, start crumbling
Let your heart beat, and feel the weight
You’ve carried disappear”
God made tears. They didn’t just appear because we have anxiety or we’re sad. So let them fall. Let them heal you. Sometimes that’s what we need to just feel the weight being lifted off of our shoulders. God doesn’t always need us to speak. Remember: He knows our needs before we even speak them.
5. Pray and read your Bible
I did not put this one last because it’s least important. If I was prioritizing these tips, this would be number one. Prayer is the most important thing in managing your anxiety. Even though God knows our needs before we speak them, we still need to be adamant about prayer. Pray for strength to overcome your anxiety. Pray for courage to handle it even when it’s at its worst. Pray that God will help you. It does not matter where you pray or how you pray. Just pray. I promise He will come through. There are tons of bible verses that talk about anxiety. Find one or use them all. Say them out loud when you feel anxious. Say them out loud when you don’t. Post them in your house in places where you will see them every single day. I am a sticky note person. I will have sticky notes everywhere and not think twice about it. I write scripture on the mirror so I see it every morning I am getting ready and every night when I prepare for bed.
With that being said, I will leave you with this:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7