I was talking to a close friend this morning (via text, of course) about clothes, babies and life when she brought up the fact that she has been feeling a lot of anxiety recently. Asking her what she thought was causing it, she responded with a grocery list of concerns. Family members, work stresses, marital concerns, illness and the list went on. Her conclusion was that she needed to get back to eating healthier meals, start exercising again and work on her relationship with Jesus. Great ways to attack anxiety!
As I looked at her list I also noticed a commonality, the majority of stressors in her life are things that are out of her control. A co-worker who stole some of her product and broke one of her salon tools. A sister with an undiagnosed illness. Family drama that she is completely removed from but still keeps her up at night.
I typed the words (amongst others): Gotta let it go. God is bigger than these situations and He is good. He is working!
And I realized those were just the words I needed to hear.
I’ve been feeling my own share of anxiety lately. Money concerns, volunteer obligations, family issues and lack of sleep (seriously, when will my child sleep through the night?) have made it a challenge just to get out of bed some mornings. I just want to hibernate and let someone else handle it all. But then I realize that most of it is out of my control.
Gotta let it go. God is bigger than these situations and He is good. He is working!
So I make a list. What specifically is causing my anxiety? The list is long. Then I break my list up into two more lists – things I can affect to some extent and things that are completely out of my control. For example, although we are on a set budget, I can affect the concerns I have regarding money through my spending, while issues between family members are just that: their issues and do not include me. Now here’s the super practical part – on the list with the things I can affect, I’m listing out goals that will help ease my stress. For example, next to lack of sleep, I’m writing down, talk to pediatrician about normal sleep patterns for 18-month-old. Once I’ve finished my list, and done all I can do for now, I put both list together and pray over them. It’s comforting to know that when there’s nothing more I can do: God is bigger than these situations and He is good. He is working!
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
How’s your level of anxiety? Maybe your list of stressors is short or maybe you could write a term paper with the amount of stress you’re currently dealing with. Take a few minutes to try and address what’s causing this inner turmoil:
- Make a list of all the things that are causing you anxiety
- Break the list into two more lists – things you can affect to some extent and things that are completely out of your control
- On the list with the things you can affect, lay out goals that may help ease your stress
- If there is anything you can do immediately, do it
- Pray over both lists giving these concerns to God – He loves you and cares about all the things that concern you
Additionally, as my friend pinpointed with her anxiety, diet and exercise can boost mood hormones and help relieve everyday stress. That’s right, eat a salad and go for walk (ya, that message is for me!).
Some anxiety issues may need further help and that’s okay too! Please talk to your doctor if anxiety is interfering in the way you live your life.