Did you know that 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from anxiety? And 25 percent of children suffer from an anxiety disorder (Anxiety and Depression Association of America).
Anxiety can be so limiting, frustrating, scary, and overwhelming. I have dealt with it for years, not initially recognizing what it was and how much it has affected my life. Yet, I serve a mighty God despite what anxiety may say. This may be a process and it may be day by day, step by step, but I will overcome. As I grow and heal as well as learn to trust God, I am also learning to cope with anxiety.
And this year has brought on more stress. So, I am sure more people are feeling anxious. People who have suffered from anxiety prior to the pandemic, you may be even more anxious. So, how do we cope with anxiety?
10 Ways To Cope With Anxiety (These are not in a specific order)
1. When you are anxious, don’t fight what you are physically feeling, don’t try to pause the pain, or suppress your emotions. Often times when I was anxious or having an anxiety attack, I would try and fight it with the intent to hurry and make it go away. But it would only make me feel worse. You are trying to fight your anxiety attack from rising when your body is already in fight or flight mode. Sounds crazy don’t it but I would do just that. After finding such tip on another google search and practicing it, I found not fighting it helped me to calm down much more effectively and quicker than it would have fighting it. Sometimes, we try to avoid what we feel. Feel it. Then take a deep breath and release it.
2. Rest. Don’t just take naps. But for people who are constantly busy and rarely take naps, every now and then we need to incorporate nap time. Get some sleep. I realized my lack of sleep or lack of quality of sleep also triggers my anxiety. Even lack of healthy eating and lack of eating adequate meals can trigger anxiety. Ok so back to rest. Pause to pray and play. Enjoy the moment. Embrace the present. Catch up on self-care, family time, organizing and even doing some things God has laid on your heart to do that you have wanted to do for awhile. Rest means pausing to be productive and present.
3. Practice deep breathing. I am still learning how to properly do this but it helps to tell your body to calm down by releasing adequate oxygen in your body through your blood and a calm order to your brain. And it is helping. It lets me tell my body “ok, I feel you.” “Im paying attention. We are going to be okay.”
4. Watch something funny and laugh daily. Mass consumption of reading and watching videos of what’s going on right now can be unhealthy. I was reading something recently about a new rare symptom or so in kids getting Covid and I could feel my eyesight get blurry and head start to hurt. It was overwhelming. Fear is increasing in the land. God did not give us a spirit of fear but that of power, love and a sound mind. So, remember that and laugh away. Laughter has been a good distraction and great medicine.
5. Pray and read the Word of God. His Word is alive and active. God’s promises and Word still stand. He is God Almighty and the prayers of the righteous availeth much. Keep praying. Keep reading His Word. I will read His Word and God will pinpoint something to pray regarding a situation. Let us involve God in every area of our lives. He cannot fail. He will not fail.
6. Take one day at a time. Don’t worry about tomorrow. You are not there yet. Focus on today. Don’t rush the process. And trust God one day at a time. Be patient. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with others. Be patient with God after all He is patient with us.
7. Practice self-care and add it to your calendar if you have to. You’d be surprise how some people with anxiety are consumed with worry and meeting the needs of others that they tend to neglect their own care. And sometimes it isn’t the physical care they neglect, but the mental and emotional care.
8. Get therapy and seek God. It is okay to get therapy. Talking with someone who is neutral, is not directly involved in your pain and personal business, and is trained in guiding you towards self-awareness, identifying the trauma and guiding you to solutions as well as identifying choices you have to heal and move forward is a great resource and support. Moreover, seek God, for His wisdom is not of this world. He created you and first loved you so He has, and knows, and wants what is best for you. He has the solutions you need. And He wants you to be free from the spirit of fear.
9. Do your healing homework. What triggers your anxiety? Why are you worried? Upon prayer and the Holy Spirit’s counsel, I found that a particular workplace was one of my anxiety triggers. I was then able to pray concerning such and delve deeper as to why I would feel anxious there and begin the work to have a better experience in that environment. Things changed and you know what, the change started in me first. I had to learn to see the people in this environment the way God did. I had to, well am still learning to, learn to see myself the way God sees me also.
10. Learn effective coping techniques. What are some things you can do to manage your stress and anxiety? What are some things you like to do to relax or have fun? Are they healthy and effective? Like listening to some good old music. I know someone told me they have been listening to Stevie Wonder. I listen to 90’s music and sometimes just worship music. Sometimes, I watch funny things like a comedy sketch. Laughter is good medicine as I mentioned before. I love taking walks. I journal sometimes. I also take time to acknowledge how I feel. Being transparent with myself and others helps me as well as others. Moreover, I am learning to be more transparent with God. Not that He doesn’t know, but sharing the matters of your heart with God is refreshing and empowering. Reading books. Cooking. Sharing a meal with family and friends. Helping someone else helps take your mind off of you for a short while and blessing someone else blesses you. I also have recently started praying in tongues more in the morning. I wake up a lot of mornings with anxiety so praying in tongues and worshiping God has been a great help. It takes my mind off of me and puts it back on God.
What are other ways one can cope with anxiety?
Disclaimer: I am not a therapist or expert on anxiety. These are merely tips from research and from my own experience and are not intended to cure, treat, or diagnose medical conditions.