3 Steps Christians Can Take to Calm Anxious Thoughts

(Unsplash/Annie Spratt)

Ever wonder why after you pray for God to give you peace you still pace the floor at night?

I sure do.

When the Bible says "Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares for you" (1 Pet. 5:7), doesn't that imply He'll take your cares away? So then why do we still stress and wrestle with panic attacks from time to time?

I think about what Paul said when he wrote: "I asked the Lord three times that this thing might depart from me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Cor. 12:8-9).

Maybe anxiety is your thorn. It seems like it is for me.

If that's you too, here are three things I've learned that help me see his grace and calm my anxiety.

3 Steps to Calm Your Anxiety

1. Meditate. This word and practice used to be taboo in my upbringing. The fear was you'd channel something you didn't want, and thus bring it forth into your life.

And yes, while that can be true, mediation has been a useful tool for church leaders and church fathers over the centuries.

Simply sitting quietly and letting your mind rest on one verse of Scripture while you focus on deep breathing can go a long way. I love the Pause app. This one is very helpful to create some good mind space.

2. Laugh. I was on the phone with a friend from years back, and we spent an hour or so reminiscing and laughing until we cried.

He said to me "I made a decision a few months ago to put myself in places of life ... laughter does that for me." He's so right. I got off that call and felt so light and peaceful.

As Proverbs 15:13 says: "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."

3. Eat. Comfort food, am I right? Well, not necessarily. Apparently, the hot dogs, diet cokes and bowls of ice cream don't actually provide the comfort you need. They taste good in the moment, but they have a lasting effect on our brain, specifically the parts that impact depression and anxiety.

In the book, This is Your Brain on Food, Uma Naidoo explains how the gut and brain are linked together. There are actually foods you can eat to make you less anxious. (Hint: Spinach and mushrooms really alleviate anxiety.)

Additionally, in a recent episode of Leading Simple with Rusty George on Charisma Podcast Network, I interviewed speaker and bestselling author Rebekah Lyons about her own bouts with anxiety as a thorn in her side. You can listen to it here.

The bottom line is this: We all have our thorns, and for you, the thorn may be your mental health.

But there is hope.

And in that hope, we find the grace that is sufficient for us all.

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