Anxiety, you are not my friend.

Merriam-Webster defines anxiety as “fear or nervousness about what might happen” or “a feeling of wanting to do something very much.”  It can be that we’re anxious to do something we really want to do.  However, that’s not the form of anxiety we’re talking about here.  For some, anxiety visits more frequent than others and can even be more intense.  Either way you slice it, anxiety is not a feeling I wake up wanting to have.  Sometimes we know exactly why we have it and sometimes we have no idea.  I’m no expert on the matter, but I have had to work to overcome some serious anxieties and would like to share some of the methods of which to deal with and overcome anxieties that I’ve learned and applied in my life.

When anxiety shows up, I show up, too.

I used to allow myself to just be absent when anxiety would show up and, truth be told, I still fall short here to this day, but I’ve learned from this as well.  When anxiety shows up, it’s important that I show up, too.  I can’t just let it win and take control of my life for however long it wishes to be present.  Instead, I show up and in my mind I envision myself grabbing the anxiety and handing it over to God.  I’ve learned that it’s so important that I stop to recognize that I really do have to “show up,” otherwise I feel that I’m at the mercy of my own anxieties until they just come to pass.  I am intentional about recognizing the feeling of anxiety, stopping, taking a deep breath and handing it over to God.

I have to remember to care about myself.

It’s easy to forget, especially for someone that tends to put others before themselves.  I can’t just push myself aside when I begin to feel the weight of anxiety.  It’s absolutely okay to consult with friend or family member when dealing with anxiety, but I found myself putting the burden of my anxiety on those closest to me.  I was upset and made it clear that I had given up on myself and needed a miracle to get over it.  This miracle was often something my wife or close friend would then feel responsible for.  This made it impossible for them to truly help me.  It was simply because I didn’t care about myself enough to relax and consider the realities my anxiety was often hiding from me.  I had to ask myself, “Why aren’t you worth standing up for yourself?”  I felt I was great at being their for others, but thought too low of myself to be there for me.  I learned I have to remember to care about myself.

Exercise!

Another great way to help deal with anxiety (I’ve read it helps with depression as well) is some good exercise!  If I’m able, I will put on my tennis shoes and head outside for a run or light jog.  I will even just do some push-ups, jumping jacks or weight lifting.  Often the negative energy my anxiety is creating is released through exercise and sweat.  This almost always washes away my anxiety or at least makes it more manageable.  If I’m going to put on the headphones, I make sure the music I’m listening to is positive and encouraging as well.  I’ve learned that exercise is much better for me than doing what I did before and that was trying to eat my anxieties away.  Not a good choice and very seldom did it ever really work.

So, like I said, I’m no expert, but if anxiety is something you struggle with, I pray that you learn to overcome it and find peace in knowing that you are loved and cherished by God who will always provide for you what you need, no matter your circumstances.  With that, I’d like to leave you with this:

Matthew 6:25-33  “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!  “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.