How to Take Charge of Your Anxiety

I am NOT AN EXPERT! I simply have a great deal of personal time with Miss. Anxiety and Mr. Stress. Ever have a migraine? Have tension in the neck and shoulders? Hmmm….grind those teeth or maybe a clincher like me? What about crazy fits of anger? Insomnia? Tears? Panic Attack? And the list could go on and on and on, right? How do we stop the ANXIETY????  I can ONLY speak for myself and to say I am still a work in progress and most likely will be until death.

First of all, years ago I simply started understanding myself. I read personality books and continue to read them today. Not only to understand my weaknesses, because I did dwell on those at great length as we must improve, right? Eventually, I am not sure what happened, but I realized it wasn’t the weaknesses I needed to change I needed to focus on using and enhancing my strengths.  Yes, we all have certain things we should change, but those are more bad habits or learned behavior not things the are core to who we are. Once, I learned about my strengths I started to use them to eliminate things that increased my anxiety level. This is something I still work at even today.  My number one strength is order and organization. When things go too long or get to busy and things are out of place I literally feel myself hyperventilate and begin to lose control. So, how do I handle this with kids with active lives. Well, I created spaces that are for them to enjoy their toys and crafts. Then I gave myself permission to set boundaries for them and myself. They can have disorder in their rooms and the basement. We restore order once a month and they must never destroy order in the rest of the house. HA…if that were always true life would be great.  It works most of the time, but let me tell you day 25 of 30 I am near losing it when I walk through that basement to get to the school room. Try allowing space for your kids, your mind, and allow order in those places you see all the time. Learn about yourself and pick that one thing that you are good at. I bet it is also that one thing that raises your anxiety level. Find a way to let go.

Secondly, I make lists this keeps me focused on tasks. If I don’t I have moments that I feel lost on which direction I need to head next…laundry, cleaning, planning, shower…hehehe yes I need to remind myself to shower. Life with four kids, home schooling, activities, gardening, and so on I can go a couple of days before my husband says, “Honey, take a walk and then a shower.”  Or I get caught up doing random things and then forget to do something important, which will bring on guilt and anxiety.  As I write that list I am in my head talking it through with God (more on that). I create a monthly project list and daily to do’s. I also have monthly folders to keep things put away so I do not think or wonder about them until I have to. You know everyone has that pile of cool things you would like to do with your kids at Christmas or a next vacation or a camp they would like. Well, instead of leaving them in a pile to sort through weekly or even daily I place them in file folders labeled by month. Then each month when I do our draw erase calendar, meal plan, etc I pull that folder out and sort through the things to see how everything works together. Some things I keep are even for a few years out. Then I am not worried about forgetting cool ideas for a birthday party or a gift. All this helps me, but I have to be careful not to get to caught up in things to do, which is why I talk to God about it. Let Him lead your day and that lifts all anxiety.

Next, I have this devotional that I love.  A couple years ago I was reading and came across part that talked about allowing God to lead through each day. This I always knew, but it hit my heart and soul that evening. It was freeing to know I could wake up each morning, give the day to God, and follow His lead. I have been pretty good about it, but have days, when like a friend of mine said, “When you have the worst days…the days that just feel like you are battling all day…then surprise the end of the day comes and you realize you were fighting for control all day. If I had just let Him take the lead it would have been a great day.” Yep, I still have days like that, but more and more of them are freeing days where we just go with the flow. It is wonderful and my kids have even commented that Mom has been more fun lately. That makes me happy. Let it go to Him. Let Him lead you. How? Just ask Him to take charge and WAIT, wait on Him to tell you what is next. It may come immediately or take a few minutes, but before you know it you are playing games, doing dishes, folding laundry, doing a science experiment, baking, and whatever He always comes through. Just go with it. TRUST ME everything does get done! That was and still is the hardest thing for me making sure things get done. I have faith in Him that He provides for ALL my needs even the time to do what needs to be done.

Fourth, is simple make time for yourself. Get out of the house even if just for a drive.  Maybe do some form of exercise. Read, journal, and pray. Watch a movie. I have learned that I need to balance this time with people and being alone. Some people NEED people others NEED to be alone. For me to recharge I need to be myself. Yet, I love to have friends and be around people. So, we work to have balance in our relationships and time. Alone time is good for shutting everything down and just listening to your own thoughts. To listen to Him.  MAKE that time for you.

Lastly, the latest thing I have been struggling with is holding myself back from God and all He has for me. How is this causing anxiety? Well, do you ever feel moved to do something, but just think you can’t? Then an inner battle occurs and carries on and on and on. All the while life is happening. I have really been focusing on letting go of fears, guilt, unforgiveness, ideas of perfection, etc. and focusing on where I am holding back or being “disobedient” to God and all He has for me. For example, just last night this verse was part of my Bible study and it brought this journey of letting go of anxiety full circle for me. Yes, back to square one, but so much further along in the journey than 10 years ago.

Here you go, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and THE ANXIETIES OF DAILY LIFE [caps inserted], and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.” Luke 21:34-35

Back to letting go of everything. Each day that I HOLD onto something that keeps me from God it keeps Him from giving me everything He wants to give me that day. Holding on creates the anxiety. For me I have learned my anxiety is self induced. Is yours? GREAT! Then you can fix it!!

WHAT ARE YOU HOLDING ONTO? Like the song says “Let It Go”.

Thanks for reading. Please pray for me I am praying for you!