Anxiety is a feeling.
As with all feelings, anxiety comes and goes. Anxious feelings actually have a purpose. The stress hormones that are released during moments of turmoil are there to alert the mind and body that there may be danger nearby. They can also remind you that you are alive: the nerves you feel in your stomach before your first date or before skydiving bring everything around you into full color. However, some find it difficult to turn this anxiety off, making their internal alarm clock feel like a raging siren.
If that is you, how can you regain peace and balance?
Evaluating Your Anxiety
Take a moment to assess whether or not anxiety is playing a major role in your daily life. Everyone experiences feelings of anxiousness from time to time, but when it starts creeping into every facet of your day, you begin to suffer in more ways than one. Consider, do you often experience:
- Muscle tension
- Body aches and pain
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
- Compromised immune system
- Impaired cognitive functions
- Avoidance of new opportunities
- Inability to enjoy yourself
- Feeling constantly alert
Luckily, there are several key daily practices that can help!
Finding Peace and Balance
1.Re-examine your diet
Certain foods and beverages such as caffeine and alcohol can exasperate anxious feelings. In addition, processed foods and high sugar foods can negatively impact your health which creates a new set of worries.
2. Catch automatic thoughts
Negative thoughts can continue the cycle of anxious feelings. Find relief from these anxious thoughts by taking your thoughts captive. Try praying Psalm 139:? which says, “Search me oh Lord, and know me. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” Ask yourself, “What are my thoughts? Where did they come from? What value am I giving it?”
3. Recognize external versus internal pressures
Determine what pressure is coming from outside versus inside forces—knowing from where the extra pressure arises helps to determine what actions to take against it. If it is coming from external forces, you may need to set boundaries and say, “no.” If it is coming from inside yourself, recognize the standards that you are holding that might contribute to undue pressure.
4. Allow negative experiences (even failure!)
Anxiety results when we avoid the possibility of feeling or experiencing pain. We need to come to terms with the fact that pain is inevitable, God guarantees it. God also promises to be with us in our pain. When you feel pain (sadness, physical pain, rejection, etc.), invite God into your pain. He’ll never leave you or forsake you.
5. Reconfirm your values and truths
Many people feel more confident, stable, and at peace when they are living their life in accordance with their values and truths. List the values you want to be the anchor of your life and the scriptural passages that can remind you of the eternal truths you live by. Refer to them often!
Certainly, anxious feelings can be both positive and negative influences on our life. They are designed to help protect us from danger and feel more alive. However, when anxious thoughts and feelings begin to overwhelm your life, begin implementing tools and practices that can help you find peace and regain your balance.
If you’d like to discuss these feelings with a counselor, our experienced therapists at Envision would love to talk with you about how to reduce your level of anxiety. Contact us today.