Frank Sinatra’s mega-hit song, My Way, has a line about regrets. “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few too mention.” We should all be so fortunate! And by the way, doing it my way versus God’s way, not the path I choose. Sorry Frank! Now, about regrets, we do have a […]
It’s a tall biblical order–be anxious about nothing. About 40 million of us struggle to follow this command. Far too many reasons to feel anxious in today’s world, right? Consequently, we must be aware of anxious feelings when they arise and then know how to eliminate them.
In my book, Letting Go of Worry, I explain that worry is the mental part of anxiety. To let go of worry involves the mind, body and spirit. Here are 7 practical ways to say goodbye to worry and be anxious about nothing:
1) Take a deep breath: When anxious, the body gets aroused. That arousal puts you in a state of tension. And a tense physical state is not good for your health. So, we need ways to reduce tension and relax our body. The opposite of tension is relaxation. A technique for relaxation is slow breathing. Simply take a deep breath and exhale slowing. Inhale through your nose, hold the breath, then exhale slowly through your mouth. We do this in Pilates or when we need to slow down. And it’s no secret, sometimes our body just needs a little extra help settling down. Deep breathing is a free and easy technique to use when you start to feel anxiety.
2) Have a conversation and distract your brain: Anxiety is sometimes triggered by loneliness. Call someone. Talk to your minister, a counselor or friend. Human connection lowers anxiety because it lowers the body’s defense system. Human connection is a simple but very powerful way to stave off anxiety.
3) Exercise: It works. No matter how uptight you feel, a hard workout calms the body. I know so many people who work off the tension of the day by going to the gym. So if you need to lower your anxious feelings, this is the way to go. And you don’t need a gym. You can do jump rope, running, walking, or in the privacy of your room dance your heart out. Anything to work up a sweat and get you moving.
4) Engage in self-care: A hot bath works for me. For others it might be a heating pad, massage, cup of hot tea, etc. Whatever calms and relaxes, work into your regular routine. We all need a little down time now and then. Read a novel, watch a funny show or distract through word games.
5) Listen to music: Music in an underused resource. Put on a relaxing channel and unwind. Close your eyes and be swept away. Or meditate to music. Music meditation has been shown to calm anxiety. Of course the type of music you choose makes a difference. Classical and spa music work well for me.
6) Live in the moment. Anxiety is prompted by, “what if?”questions. It is future focused in terms of what might happen. Stay in the moment. Focus on the here and now and be intentionally grateful for the many blessings you have. This redirects your mind from worried thoughts to peaceful ones.
7) Meditate on the Word. The Bible does more than distract the mind, it renews your mind when you meditate on it. Bible verses that speak to contentment and peace such as Isaiah 26:3, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you,s” will calm your mind and spirit. Find those scriptures that speak to worry and anxiety. There is a list of them in the back pages of Letting Go of Worry. Read them, meditate on them and watch you worry disappear.
Is it possible to let go of worry and be anxious for nothing? Yes! God would not command us to do something but not provide a way to do it. Be intentional as to where and how you direct your mind. It takes practice but you can do it.
For more tips on how to be anxious about nothing, get a copy of Letting Go of Worry.