We are definitely living in unprecedented times, which for most of us have caught us off guard. We are now facing a common enemy, which is causing many of us to step into roles we have never faced, make life changing decisions we never thought of making and dealing with the uncertainty of a new reality. I for one, am the first to admit that I am having trouble adjusting and my mind can get away from me most days. But I also know that I have control over my mind and the power to get a hold over the anxious thoughts that can occur from time to time.
Now I am no licensed therapist, psychiatrist or certified anything, so these are purely my opinions and things that have helped me. I just wanted to share a few ways to combat anxiety and negative thoughts because not only do we need to keep ourselves healthy physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Please feel free to leave your comments and anything that is helping you through this time.
PRAYER AND MEDITATION
I know this seems cliche but it is the best thing anyone can do right now. I also listed this first because if you don’t try anything else or read this post in its’ entirety; remember that God is always listening and still has everything in control. The Bible tells us to worry about nothing and pray about everything. The following scripture I love because it really spells out how to deal with anxiety.
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 minds in Christ JesusPhilippins 4:6-7
God is able to give you peace beyond anything you can imagine. My job is currently in furlough right now, but I have peace that God will provide for my family. I can attest that after I pray I feel so much more at ease than I did before. Some people need someone to talk to, and who better than God himself. And please know that God hears every prayer no matter how simple or intricate. Don’t feel like you have to be a pastor, clergy member or have a vast vocabulary to pray.
You can also partner up with someone else. The Lord says when two or three are gathered in my name than I will be in the midst. My family has started a prayer line through Zoom each week so that we can pray together. You can link up with your spouse or a friend on the phone, but just try PRAYING; IT REALLY WORKS.
I have also tried to meditate more on the word and by listening to worship music. I have been having trouble sleeping so I have shifted to putting worship music on while I am trying to fall asleep. This helps with keeping my mind from roaming and helps keep my thoughts positive. It also can be very calming. Here is a scripture I am reading daily right now as well as Psalms 91.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land- 2 Chronicles 7:14
It’s easy for your mind to roam when you are not occupied. I have found that giving myself little projects has been keeping my mind focused on what I am doing at the moment; like writing this blog post. Try to finish a project that you started, try a new recipe, play games with your kids, beat your face like you’re going out for the night. I try to find a task that will occupy my time for at least a few hours. I know many have turned to Netflix to catch up on shows and occupy a few hours of the day. But I would recommend shows and movies that won’t highlight what’s going on in the world right now. Stay away from movies like Contagion or Outbreak and watch some comedies or shows that will keep you in a good state of mind. Here are a few things I’ve watched on Netflix
- Self-Made- The Madame CJ Walker Story
- All American
- Money Heist
- Good Girls
- The Intruder
- Tiger King
Completed all of your own projects? Why not help someone else. Giving to others is a method that can bring so much joy and fulfillment. Have a service, offer a free course or tips through a webinar,etc. Mentor someone virtually while you have the time. Donate clothes or food to those less fortunate. Everyone has something to offer, so think of how you can help someone else in this time of need.
Block Out Negative Media
Now this some people may disagree with, but I for one have stopped watching the news completely. You have to be aware of your triggers, and this is definitely one for me. Yes we need to be informed, but whatever pertinent info you need will most likely will be highlighted on your phone or will be communicated from someone. The news can be daunting especially at a time like this, and can also be very sensationalized. Constantly hearing statistics and seemingly no good news, was taking my mind and spirit to a place I did not want to be. If you must watch the news, than allot yourself one time during the day to catch up and one news source to watch. This will help you from becoming consumed and going down the rabbit hole of news story after news story.
Social Media also plays a role. Most of us are on various social media channels, but be mindful of what you are intaking. Whatever we ingest starts to resonate in your mind and spirit, which includes social media images. If you notice someone you follow is highlighting negative thoughts, or their posts are not bringing you peace or upliftment, than maybe you may need to unfollow them for the time being. This works the other way around too. Be mindful or what you are posting. Remember that people are highly sensitive right now and you want to me mindful of that. You may not want to post every single thought you have or come off as complaining. Memes can help some cope by laughter, but remember that some are dealing with loss right now, so just be cognizant when posting.
Studies have shown that keeping your mind and body healthy are great ways not to aggravate anxiety symptoms. This can include exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, connecting to people you love and eating balanced meals. Now I’m the last person to give anyone tips on working out, but I do dabble in the kitchen. I am making sure to keep myself and family both physically and mentally healthy during this time. If you need tips on healthy food options check out my post here which includes immune boosting foods and easy recipes. There are also certain changes in diet or nutrients that can help with anxiety like lemon balm, omega-3 fatty acids, green tea and dark chocolate.
Talk to Someone
Now I mentioned that we can always talk to God, but sometimes you need a physical person to share with. Identify positive people that you can talk with about how you feeling. This can be a pastor, parent, friend, etc. Just make sure it is someone who will take your feelings seriously and wont ignite flames of anxiety even further. IT IS OK TO NEED HELP. I wanted to put that boldly because a lot of times we want to appear like we have everything under control. Meanwhile, we are trying to tackle things we’re not equipped to deal with individually and can cause more damage. Anxiety is serious and can lead to other serious issues like depression. Don’t feel like there’s something wrong with you or try to be superman or superwoman.
And if you feel like its something you can’t handle by talking to a close friend or relative, look into more help. There are licensed professionals that are still working and taking clients during this time. Thank God for technology where you can do Zoom meetings or therapy suite. Don’t be too prideful to reach out to your doctor for recommendations. Remember, we are all in this together.
This time has brought upon many feelings, emotions and thoughts. People, including myself, are anxious about a lot of things. Health, jobs, finances; the state of the world,etc. There are many things that can cause us to be anxious in this moment, but I want us to combat that. I wanted to show my transparency by writing this but also wanted to offer solutions. Again these are just my opinions, but please let me know if they help. Continue to stay healthy and safe physically, mentally and emotionally!