Here are three simple ways to reduce the anxiety in your life.
Reduce your anxiety today by being thankful. Wait, that sounds too simple, but Paul wrote “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6). Paul said the way to reduce anxiety is to be praying about those things that bring anxiety but make your prayers also a prayer of thanksgiving. It is very hard to be anxious when we’re giving thanks to God. When we thank God, even in anxious times, we tell Him we trust Him and are content with what we have. Maybe you can write out a list of things to thank God for; Jesus Christ, His mercy, His forgiveness, your salvation, your wife, your children, your freedom to worship, a roof over your head, a job, food in the frig, and the list goes on. Praying with thanksgiving gives you an attitude of gratitude and that’s an awesome weapon against anxiety.
Live in the Day
What I mean by “live in the day” is that we shouldn’t borrow trouble by worrying about tomorrow when we’re still living in today. The late pastor Adrian Rogers said that 85-90% of the things that we worry about never come to pass and the other 10-15% is about things we can’t control anyway so why worry about something that might not happen and waste time worrying about things you can’t change? What a waste of energy and I ought to know, I’ve done it. Jesus reminds you and me; “do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt 6:34) because “which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life” (Matt 6:27). The answer is “none of us can.”
Simplify your Life
A cause of stress and anxiety can be due to our cluttered life. I admit not being able to find my own desktop so I must throw myself under the bus on this one; however I have learned more recently (the hard way) to learn how to say “No.” You can say it nicely of course, but you can also say it firmly. Another thing that works for me is I make a list of “to do’s” and prioritize it and do the hard stuff first, that way there’s hopefully less anxiety about getting other things done that week and I have more energy for the less demanding stuff as the week progresses but I have also restricted times and dates of commitment when we have designated family time. For example, every Friday night we go out to eat at an Italian pizza buffet and so that time if off limits to any other ministry work but I must admit that I still have a daily battle with knowing when enough is enough!
If you can help us with other ideas, please leave them in the comments. I know exercise, music, and sometimes just taking a nap can help so please tell us what you think would help. For me, memorizing certain Scriptures can calm my anxieties down like during times of financial difficulties, I can remember Psalm 37:25 which says “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” Isn’t that a great promise and a destroyer of much anxiety?