10 Ways to Combat Anxiety

By Dr. Dustin Ellis, Licensed Counselor

What is Anxiety? 
Before we can properly fight against anxiety, we must understand it. The root issue of anxiety is feeling being out of control. When we feel anxious, our bodies tend to go into a sort of manic state. Think about us a being in a state of overdrive, in which we are more aware and also feeling more energetic. This presents a problem because it causes us to think that we need to do more and to overextend ourselves in order to be up to the task.

It is in this state that we feel the need to sprint when we should be taking a measured pace.  In our current circumstances it is important for us to remember this COVID-19 issue isn’t going anywhere.  Anxiety would have us panic and overextend ourselves with the result being burned out. Try to act like the tortoise - waking up daily, answering the call, but going to bed early enough to be able to do it again the next day - rather than the hare, who would pull several 24 hour shifts in a row only to fail to show up and serve on day three.

10 Ways to Combat Anxiety
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12
 
  1. Pace Yourself. In the COVID world, don’t think about doing more. Think about how you can accomplish the same amount you did before Covid-10, only differently in order to meet the demands of the community.
  2. Slow Down. Find ways to slow yourself down.
  3. Breathe. Our heart and lungs are the controls for anxiety, when we breathe more slowly, we will be less anxious.
  4. Pray Slowly. Have a slow prayer time, speak slowly with God.  Sit and let him slowly respond.
  5. Meditate on God's Word. Study the word slowly, read out loud to yourself.  We are called to meditate on the word, but meditation isn’t a speeding activity.  Use this time to let God calm your heart and mind.
  6. Go For a Walk Around Trees.  Nature is good for us, and there is a physiological effect of walking where trees are that can allow our minds to process stress more effectively. 
  7. Rest and Relax (away From your bed, couch, or in front of a screen). You get enough screen time right now, and your bed needs to be for sleeping.  Sit outside.  Sit at the bar in your home and read a book.  Go sit in your driveway..just do something different to refresh yourself.
  8. Make a list of what you can control, and what you can’t.  Make the list specific to your to do list. Focus on what you can control and release the rest.
  9. Get accountability for your to do list.  Get a once over from someone else, to double check that your to do list is reasonable.
  10. Give yourself control over the little things.  Make your bed.  Tidy up a shelf.  Something necessary and easy that you can complete and then be proud of.

5 Tips for Dealing With Other's Anxiety
Once you are able to understand what anxiety is and how to combat it, you will be in better shape to work with friends and family who are dealing with anxiety.

  1. Listen. Resist the urge to fix, and just listen.
  2. Don’t Commiserate. It isn’t a time to let them know you are also suffering. Be a listener.
  3. Speak Truth. Reassure them that we have hope and that they are capable to get through this (when we reassure others we are also reassuring ourselves).
  4. Remind them that they are not alone.
  5. Call them to action.  Nothing seems to fix our perspective and affect despair like serving others.

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