From the holidays to the coronavirus, from families to work, stress attacks our spirits, minds, and bodies. If unchecked, stress can give way to anxiety and anxiety can begin a long slide into the dark tunnel of depression.
Scripture offers a special sort of sanctuary and we can always call upon the redeeming grace of God, but certain tools and techniques can help us better function moment to moment and day to day.
To cope with anxiety in stressful times, follow these 10 tips:
Keep Things in Perspective – things could be worse. Things may get better. Nothing lasts forever and the only certainty is things will change.
Affirmations – positive words can help during a negative situation. “You are strong.” “You’ve got this.” “You’re doing great!”
Connect with Nature – feel the cool breeze in your hair and the warm sun on your face. Listen to the birds and enjoy the ground beneath your feet. Stop and actually smell the flowers.
Destroy – write your worries on a piece of paper, and then tear it to pieces or burn it. Smash a pillow or pound dough. Buy $10 worth of dishes and smash them in a dumpster.
Create – write in a journal. Color. Make a paper mosaic or collage. Sing. Play music.
Exercise – walk. Move. Get up and get out. Get the blood flowing.
Meditate – dedicate time to slowing down and pay attention to your body. Recognizing your breathing during meditation or yoga helps you recognize and better control your body during times of anxiety.
Connect with Others – call a family member. Text a friend. Chat with strangers.
Connect with your Spirituality – pray. Call out to God. Read scripture or theology. Remember that God is with you. “He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” — Deuteronomy 31:8 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” — Matthew 6:34
Practice Radical Acceptance – the only thing you can change is yourself. You have no control over others and little influence over most events. Accept the things you can’t change.