Does Your Anxiety Feel Like it is Spiraling Out of Control?
Are your anxious thoughts feeding off of each other and gaining momentum at a rate you cannot keep up with? Has one anxious thought after another turned into a tornado of negativity in your mind and heart? What can you do when you feel like the whirlwind of anxiety has taken over? How can you get back to a place of peace?
Recognize the Storm Within
For me, the first step is recognizing that I am in the midst of an anxiety storm. Just like rain, clouds, thunder and lightning are signs of a storm…sleeplessness, irritability, mood swings and appetite changes are some signs of worry, doubt and fear. The temptation is to shame myself into hiding the inner whirlwind of anxiety. And that is exactly what the enemy of my soul would like! But Jesus came to carry my burdens and give me peace. So regardless of how I feel, I call it out of the darkness and bring it to light.
Investigate the Climate Changes that Provoked the Anxiety
After calling my anxiety out of the darkness, I find that I must pause and take a look back. Often times I can pinpoint a circumstance, event or change that set the tornado in motion. Something that caused me to feel out of control or overwhelmed. Usually by going back to that moment I notice where I left God out and let worry, doubt or fear in. Then it all makes sense! I am trying to face this situation without my Heavenly Father, my Creator…I am trying to survive the storm in my own strength.
Invite Jesus Into the Eye of the Storm
When anxiety takes over, my strength is depleted and my thoughts are weak…I don’t have enough willpower to overcome it. So, rather than trying to fight my way out of the anxious storm, I invite Jesus in. The quicker Jesus becomes my center…my focal point, the better. However, I know myself well and either shame, pride or independence tries to prolong the process as if it is stronger and smarter than God! Then I remind myself:
“Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed out the mountains or hills? Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord? Who knows enough to be his teacher or counselor? Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction on what is good or what is best? No, for all the nations of the world are nothing in comparison to him.” Isaiah 40:12-15
Calming the Winds with Hope
Humbled by the greatness of my Creator, hope can begin its battle against the anxiety. My circumstances may not change, and I have to accept that I cannot control most things in life. But little by little, one thought at a time…hope can reverse the tornado effect of my anxiety.
“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
Practical Tips for Weathering the Storm of Anxiety
- Recognize and call out your anxiety, fear, worry and doubt.
- Pause and take a look back to see what conditions caused the anxiety.
- Invite Jesus to join you in the midst of it.
- Dive into the Word, and let your faith in the “Greatness of God” be strengthened.
- Talk with your spouse or a trusted friend. Consider a counselor.
- Listen to a faith-building podcast like Hope for Everyday Life, Focus on the Family or your favorite pastor.
- Self-care is important…get plenty of sleep, eat nutritious food and drink plenty of water.
- Take a break from your anxiety by doing something fun!
- Go outside for a walk or hike. Nature does wonders for the soul.
- Write a thankful list and count your blessings.
- Tell God all about your worries, doubt and fears.
Anxiety is all too common these days. Fight the good fight by growing faith. Let hope do its work to reverse the effects of the anxiety tornado…one by one unwinding it until peace returns again. For additional tools on dealing with anxiety see: Mottos to Calm My Anxious Heart.
Sincerely with Hugs,
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