Whether it’s you or someone you know and care about who has anxiety, it is imperative to navigate it.
When you employ strategies to navigate anxiety, you and your loved ones will be able to enjoy life, see the blessings you have, and enjoy the life you have.
The overthinking hurts
“Are you busy being busy? Do people come to you for everything because they know you will find a way? Does your mind race at night with thoughts you cannot control as soon as your head hits the pillow? How many hours do you spend ruminating on your actions and words to see if you sounded stupid, offended someone, or said something you can’t take back? When you look at your phone, are you overthinking why they have not responded or why they responded the way they did?”
Childhood experiences can lead to significant mental health challenges
Melanie had several experiences during her formative years that resulted in significant mental health challenges. Some of the experiences resulted in her believing that she needed to be silent. Therefore she never had the opportunity to express her thoughts and feelings. She held them all in which resulted in more mental health challenges. When Melanie sought help for anxiety she was given medication and sent on her way. Melanie discovered that when she mixed medications, she felt that her mind was quieted and that she now had a sense of control intrinsically that she never had extrinsically. The result was an opioid addiction.
Satan wants us to stay ended, to say submerged in hurt, pain, and suffering. In that space is where resentment, humiliation, frustration, and embarrassment consume you. The wounds are spiritual, mental, and emotional, but also become physical. And when the physical body isn’t functioning, we can’t carry out our calling and walk in our purpose. Satan is so sneaky that he has us convinced that God wouldn’t create us with all of the beautiful gifts He’s given us.
When Melanie surrendered everything at Jesus’ feet, she finally had a glimmer of hope. Take ownership of your responsibility to equip them to be able to help you.
The truth about mental health
Your mental health will influence so many aspects of your life, overall health, relationships, happiness levels, and success. Mental health is not something you put on the back burner and let simmer. Anxiety and depression must be addressed.
Strategies to navigate anxiety
Power of the pause
When you execute the pause in your daily life, you’ll take back power and authority in your life. There are three steps.
- Pause. No matter what you are doing, stop and pause. Feel your feet on the ground. And breath.
- Breathe. Your breath is an indicator that you are living. Breathe with intention. Inhale for a count of 4 or 5, hold for 4 or 5 counts, then exhale for 4 to 5.
- “I am” statement. Repeat your “I am” statement. It must come from a place of love. In addition, it needs to be rooted in truth. For example, I am here, I am strong, I am capable.
This exercise will bring you back to a sense of grounding. It will help you recognize what you feel, choose to stop the escalation, and breathe with intention, speak truth over yourself to be grounded in a rational state of mind to be able to choose what’s next. You will no longer be in a reactive state of mind but an abundant, confident mindset.
Flipping the script
Robyn referenced her 5 Cs for navigating anxiety. Catch, Challenge, and Change the thoughts for more Control and Confidence. She also referenced Romans 12:2, which reads: Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.
Melanie’s flipping the script model
This begins with a validating statement followed by a statement that is counteractive to it. For example, “I feel anxious” – validate it. And, a counteractive statement would be “I feel anxious but I’m capable of remaining calm. Another way to flip the script is to use the word yet. For example, I can’t read a book yet. This gives possibility and opportunity.
This method is a reminder that we can hold a thought captive but we have the power to control it through the help of Christ. You can deescalate your response to an event by following this method.
Have a safe person
Your safe person doesn’t have to be someone in close proximity. It is someone you can go to raw, honest, and vulnerable. And they will give you compassionate action but will not tolerate inappropriate behaviors or talk. Your safe person may say, “Okay, I understand you are anxious. I’m here for you and will help you walk through this.” Also, know your love language.
You don’t want a safe person who will enable you to stay stuck in the funk. They also won’t allow you to make your thoughts bigger than they are. God says, be slow to speak, slow to anger, and fast to listen. You want these characteristics in your safe person.
Sometimes hearing the safe person repeat back to you, helps you see how untrue your thoughts are.
As humans, we are quick to accept the lies or the negative things we’ve experienced – what we’ve done or what’s been done to us. We don’t hesitate to let experiences or thoughts define us. Instead, own your belovedness. You are worthy, loved, and a masterpiece. Your truth brings you back to your center, but it must be based on the truth, the Bible. Truth statements are based on God’s word and bring us back into alignment. Your truth statements are not circumstantial and things you’ve done or that have been done to you do not change the statements.
Scripture is the inerrant word of God. It is not to be misconstrued for our benefit.
He is always there to help you employ strategies to navigate anxiety
God is always alongside us, even in the muck and mire. It often takes getting still and reviewing our lives to see it, but He’s had a hand in everything we’ve experienced.
Community can help you stick to strategies to navigate anxiety
Evaluate from a place of genuine, authentic truth, who the people are that you need in your circle. There is a saying, “You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.” When you begin to evaluate who you are surrounding yourself with, are they able to challenge you and pour into you to keep you moving forward or are they keeping you stuck?
The church is made up of humans. We are to try to be Christ-like, but we are sinful humans. Mistakes will be made. People will mess up. But don’t lose the thirst you have for Christ and don’t let humans who have hurt you cause you to not attend church or be in a church community. Find your church to fuel your soul. Your gut will tell you when you are in the right place.
Church is not about a building but about people who love Jesus and want other people to experience the love of Jesus.
The reality is, we all thrive in community, but when we have a community of like-minded Jesus-loving people we will feel more secure and be able to stay secure in our faith journey.
Scripture to refer to in times of need
Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Sometimes, God will halt you because there are lessons to be learned before he launches you into what He’s prepared for you. But he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Jeremiah 29:11 is another verse that is great to reflect on. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God is a keeper of promises. He always works things out for His good.
Find a verse that constantly reminds you of a truth God is stating to you that you can refer to when things feel impossible.
About Melanie Wilson
Melanie’s mission is to create a safe, supportive environment to heal and rise up strong. She is the mother of two adult women and lives in Florida with her husband and emotional support dog. Melanie also raises and cares for horses. In addition, in 2022 she received the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Many entrepreneurs, like Robyn and Natalie, have anxiety. Read more about navigating anxiety and how to grow your business without social media to avoid additional triggers like comparison and imposter syndrome.
More strategies to navigate anxiety
To learn more strategies to navigate anxiety download the free eBook, “A Guide for Alleviating Anxiety and Developing Healthy Habits for a Healthy Mind.”
Learn more about You, Me, and Anxiety: Take Action Over Anxiety to Enjoy Being You – https://therobyngraham.com/life-with-anxiety/.
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