What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.
Do you ever feel like you can’t calm down and relax? Are you unable to control your emotions once they get going? Does it seem like once normal and fun activities now stress you out?
If you relate to these then your probably feel some degree of anxiety. I struggle with anxiety more than most, and I have learned not only to cope with it but to combat it too and live more peacefully. I have three major categories of focus that help me to combat worry in my life.
The Bible teaches us to take our physical health seriously because the Bible teaches about building better relationships. If you don dont take care of your body and you get sick a lot, you end up having less of a capacity to love than you would have had otherwise.
Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
1 Timothy 5:23
Some people find that certain diets help them, but in my experience nothing works as well as frequent cardio-vascular exercise. Not everything works for every person, so you need to do some exploring yourself to find out what can help you most.
There is a certain amount of change that has to take place in your thinking as well. Cognitive Behavorial Therapy (CBT) provides tools to help you not to go into emotional spirals. Often we don’t take the time to really unravel our anxieties, but when we dow we find that we’re completely overreacting to the situation and that it’s actually not that bad. Then you decide whether or not you’re going to keep indulging in whatever worry, anger, or other emotion you’re stuck on and change the way you feel.
We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
The Bible and psychologists agree that you can control your thoughts and they don’t have to dominate you. Again you have to find what works best for you. I use a combination of CBT and just plain old talking and letting down with people about what I’m feeling. In order to do that though, I had to build up an emotional vocabulary to understand myself better.
Taking on anxiety spiritually is difficult because it’s easier to get tangible results from psychology and medication. However, the spiritual aspect of anxiety is arguable the most important part to take on.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
God clearly commands us not to be anxious about anything, which implies that it is possible for us to have no anxieties. He also tells us that prayer is the way to do it. Specifically it takes grateful prayers. I could write down the various benefits of gratitude, but that wouldn’t capture the kind of peace that comes from prayer because it “transcends all understanding.”
Any mental health challenge is difficult to conquer, but it is possible. This article is not meant to diagnose or treat anxiety disorder if you have it. If you do suspect you have mental health challenges that require medical attention, go see your primary care physician.