How to Conquer Anxiety

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I don’t know what it is, but the older I get, the more anxious I get. It is the weirdest thing. I can fill my breathing begin to get shallower when I think of all of the things I need to do, I am more nervous on flights now than I have ever been and am extremely hesitant to go to certain places out of fear of what could happen.

After speaking with a few of my close friends, I have found that anxiety as you get older is more common than you may think. Especially when you have a family. Not only do you have to consider yourself, you now have to consider the safety of your children. And you have to think about how your children and husband will be impacted if, God forbid, something unfortunate may happen to you.

I have found myself being very selective of where I go and when I go as a result. Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW God is in control and will protect me, but I still have uneasy feelings at times that increase my anxiety.

I refuse to live a stressed life full of anxiety, so I began to do some research and have found multiple ways to defeat anxiety without medication. Not that there is anything wrong with managing your anxiety with medication. That is just not my personal preference. You have to do what is best for you.

Tools to help you conquer anxiety

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Focus on being brave

You are not going to believe this, but my five-year-old son just came behind me, took a look at this content as if he actually read it and said, “Focus on being brave.” He can read a little bit, but he is not advanced enough to have understood this content. Wow... Out of the mouths of babes. He has a great point too. Ironically, I use this as a tool and I focus on being brave when I feel extremely anxious.

In fact, on my last flight, I was extremely anxious because it was my first time flying without my husband and son, and of course all I could think about was how they would be impacted if something were to happen to me. Terrible right? I know... Smh.

So what I did on the flight was focused on how many people fly each day and how statistically, the odds of me getting into a car accident are far greater than me getting in an airplane crash yet I still drive multiple times each day.

When I felt turbulence, I began to tell myself that they are just speeds bumps or potholes. Just like the ones I may run over while I am driving in my car.

And if those methods didn’t help. I turned on my good old gospel music and began to focus on how big God is. And how he was in control of that flight. The gospel music and prayer was all I needed. They made me feel so calm that I began to doze off on the flight.

Prayer and what God says about anxiety

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Just like in every other troubling situation, I strongly recommend that you turn to prayer and ask God to help you conquer your anxiety. Prayer works. I have seen it time and time again. And most of all, God does not want us to be “anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving” He wants us to  present our requests to Him. (Philippians 4:6 NIV.) His word also states that He wants us to “cast all [our] anxiety on Him because He cares for [us].” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV.) What a great reminder that is. He will literally take whatever matters are troubling us and take our burden. That in itself should give us peace.

Additionally, we should have peace knowing that God is in control. He knows the plans He has for us. "Plans to prosper [us] and not to harm [us]. Plans to give [us] hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV.)

God has a perfect plan for our lives. No matter how it may appear in the moment, He will work it out. He will protect us from harm. He will ensure that all things work together for our good. (Romans 8:28.) He has our best interest at heart. If we remember those things, and focus on His word and focus on His promises, we will be able to overcome our anxiety and live in perfect peace. 

Guided Meditation

 

I must admit that I was a skeptic at first, but once I tried it, I quickly realized that guided meditation was exactly what I needed to incorporate into my life. Before I tried it, I imagined that it would consist of me sitting crossed legged on the floor with my eyes closed and listening to the humming of monks. Boy, was I wrong. I’m sure that is the preferred method of some, but to those who that may not be appealing to, you have options.

My first experience with guided meditation was through an app on my phone called Headspace, which you can find in your app store. I am absolutely in love with this app. They offer a free 10-day trial to get you started. During that 10-day trial, you will complete short guided meditation sessions (each session lasts for about 10 minutes.) After the 10-day trial has ended, you have the option to purchase the program for $12.99 a month. Or if you are a penny pincher like myself, you can just restart the sessions beginning with day 1.

I have also found a guided meditation video lead by the Headspace instructor, Andy Puddicombe, on YouTube. (There is something about his voice and British accent that is so calming.) :)

Through each guided meditation session, Andy will guide you through how you should be breathing, what you should be thinking about (or not thinking about), how you are sitting, as what you should be letting go of, i.e. any tensions in your neck or shoulders.

After each session, I literally feel lighter, less stressed, and even more energetic. There have been days when I got home from work, had absolutely no energy to cook dinner and straighten up the house, but after taking about 10 minutes to meditate, I was able to tackle each task with energy and enthusiasm. I strongly recommend it and really think you will enjoy it.  

How meditation has helped me

While I have tried guided meditation from time to time, it is not something that I do frequently. Not that I have intentionally been avoiding it. I just haven’t gotten good at prioritizing it. However, I find myself practicing some of the breathing techniques when I feel extremely stressed or anxious. For instance, my son seems to have the most energy at night when I am trying to get him to settle down for bed. He is giggling, dancing, making funny faces and noises to make me laugh. Of course, it is a blessing that he is such a happy child, but Lord knows when I am tired, I don’t have the patience for it. I become extremely impatient and sometimes even anxious. I can feel my breathing become shallower. Once I become aware of my breathing changing, I begin to take slow deep breaths and long exhales. Shortly thereafter, I begin to calm down.

Just Breathe

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I don’t know about you, but I also find myself rushing all the time. Constantly moving fast. Moving fast around the house in the morning to get myself and my son dressed and out the door on time. Rushing him into his preschool. Rushing in the car on my way to work and rushing from the parking lot to my office. Lately, I have begun to feel like all this rushing is making my blood pressure high, and none of it is worth it. Now I find myself moving slower and taking deep breaths. And let me tell you. Slowing down and taking those deep breaths has made a world of a difference. It is not that serious. I cannot control traffic, so there is no use in me rushing around the beltway and getting anxious or frustrated when I am stuck with everyone else in that dreadful DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) traffic.

When you feel as though you are having one of those moments when you are frantically rushing from one place to another or from one task to another, remember to just breathe. You will get to everything you need to get done... eventually. And until then, just relax. While we like to think we are in control of everything, we have to remember that we are not, and breathing through it will keep us a lot calmer, cooler, and collected. Slowing down will definitely aid you with feeling less anxious.

Change the channel

I mentioned in a previous post Peace Perfected - Mornings with God that I realized I had to start changing the programs I was watching on TV to help me conquer my anxiety. I can honestly remember feeling anxious while watching the morning news. I mean, 90% of the stories you hear are about how you can no longer eat a particular food because studies have shown that it is a carcinogen or there was another mass shooting in another public crowded location. It is always something. And as a result of all of the scary, heart wrenching stories, I would literally stop going to certain places out of fear that something may happen while I was there. How silly is that? To stop living out of fear of what could happen. I know… As I write this, I am ashamed to admit it, but I share it in hopes that I will help someone else.

I had to learn to control what I was allowing to enter in my mind’s eye. Even to this day, if the news has me feeling a certain way, I will turn the TV to something a lot more lighthearted. Heck, I will even turn on cartoons sometimes or my favorite - HGTV. 😊 It works like a charm every time.

The next time the program you are watching has your spirit feeling crazy, change the channel and note how you feel. It can make a much larger impact than you would ever imagine. Just try it. 

Together, let’s commit to living a fulfilling life that is not limited out of fear of what may happen. I would hate to live to see 90 and to say I wish I wouldn’t have been too afraid to attend an outdoor concert or go see the 4th of July fireworks at the D.C. monument grounds out of fear of a terrorist attack. Just typing that is so ridiculous. So ridiculous that I have just made up my mind that I will no longer let fear hold me back. Can you make that vow with me? Let’s live freely and enjoy the beautiful lives we were created to live. Let’s step outside of our comfort zones and do the mere thing that frightens us to overcome this false reality. We are safe in His (God’s) arms.

Conclusion

We covered the things in life that make us anxious as well as how we can overcome that anxiety through prayer, guided meditation, changing the programs we watch on TV, and changing our perceptions. Now is the time to put these items into action so that we can live in peace and enjoy our lives. We can stop wasting time being anxious about things that will probably never even happen and do the things that we enjoy knowing that God will protect us.

Have you tried guided meditation? If so, what impact did it have in your life? What other things do you do to conquer your anxiety?

As always, I hope this content was helpful, as it is my mission to help as many others as possible by providing a positive platform. My mission is to serve the community online.

Be at peace, be courageous, be fearless and be determined to live your best life.

Until next time. 

XOXO,

Tiffany