"I have so much anxiety and I can't eat or sleep. I'm so afraid." I heard this, and similar conversations multiple times last week and my heart ached.
And...These simple tools changed the way I look at life. Calmness helps you see:
Here are the 12 simple tools I learned during my journey and still use every day. They've helped others as well and I hope they help you too.
Under this list, I'll go into a little bit of helpful detail, or examples, so you can see how it works with a little interesting facts that will hopefully encourage you in your journey.
1. Say "Enough"
When you're ready to make change, your at a starting point, so it's important to determine that you really want to make a change in your thinking habits, because it will take effort and consistency.
2. Pray/ Ask for help
I believe that our immune system is affected by our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. So, for me, when I need to change and don't know how, I ask God for help. He made all the experts, so it makes sense for me to ask Him to guide me in my journey and lead me to the information I need.
3. Turn off media when you feel yourself STARTING to get anxious, or nervous
There's so much 'noise' in the world that contributes to all of the thoughts you are already processing and disciplining. Do you know that it is estimated that we have 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day, primarily repetitive, and primarily negative? So, it makes complete sense, that we have a lot of work to do on the battlefield of our minds to keep our thoughts healthy
The news and social media tend to repeat the same discouraging figures in front of our minds over and over, so it's not surprising that so many end up struggling or ending up with anxiety attacks, when they can't break away and clear their head.
4. Eat healthy foods that are healing to your gut (gut/brain connection)
More and more research is finding that your gut health and brain health are connected.
Fear weakens your immune system causing cardiovascular damage and gastrointestinal problems including ulcers. (which is why I was eventually hospitalized as I began to get ulcers in my early 20's)
"Long term stress weakens the response of your immune system" Penn Medicine
Their is so much you can do to start healing your gut today, by feeding and populating your beneficial gut bacteria with healing foods and herbs. You can read more about how here and there is a lot of information and resources at www.doctor-natasha.com
Some of the first simple things that helped me were:
5. Become AWARE of your thought patterns and make changes 1 step at a time
Become aware, or practice noticing what you think about or when you let negative thoughts or things you've heard roll over in your mind over and over again.
When you do that, you can "interrupt" those thoughts and make a conscious effort to dwell on something else.
6. Be patient with yourself when you fail - Failing is part of the journey of learning
Don't be discouraged when you fail, because failing is part of the learning process, if you learn from your mistakes.
7. Begin to look for things to be thankful for in every situation and circumstance and write them down in a journal.
A business teacher taught me this. When you're having trouble seeing the good in a situation, it really trains your mind to start looking at all that you have to be thankful for. It really works!
8. Breathe deeply and meditate on TRUTH daily
There is a lot of information on deep breathing that is really easy to find, but it helps me to slow down my thoughts and get calm.
When you get calm and quiet and meditate on truth, it slowly leaves no room for anxiety and fear. Whether it's a quote or phrase, or what I like to do is pick a scripture verse that talks about a truth I want to remember and focus on that.
9. Talk to someone you trust and is calming- Human connection is essential and strengthens our immune system
I think this one speaks for itself and is different for each person.
10. Make goals and plan for the future and break them down into bite size peaces that are actionable
Making goals helps focus your thoughts and allows you to move forward and not get fearfully 'stuck' in a discouraging situation. It's also a great way to learn to think outside the box and problem solve.
As, you know, I've been using the Full Focus Planner and I LOVE IT! It's the best journal I've ever used. It actually is structured to create larger goals and break them down into manageable pieces and time frames, so you can attain those goals.
11. Understand that changing thought patterns actually changes the shape of your brain, so it can be a little awkward at first but becomes a much easier flow after a short while.
Changing the way you think and being aware of what you're resting your mind on, can seem difficult at first, but you are actually making changes in your brain (kind of like working a muscle for the first time). It doesn't take long for it to become easier and for healthy thoughts to naturally flow creating new pathways.
12. Memorize truth and recall it when your fearful, anxious thoughts are stubborn and you can't get past them
This is one of the most important tools I've learned.
Take care ~ If you know of someone is struggling with fear, or anxiety right now and you think they could use these tools, please pass this along!
Get the printable version by clicking here!
Disclaimer: The above are examples of my personal experience. I am not a doctor.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7
A dedicated mother and wife who has a passion for everything healthy and gift for simplifying that knowledge and making it applicable for others.
Charise, (also goes by Rise) Takes care of the sheep with her sister, here on the ranch. She also milks cows, and loves creating natural cleaners with quality oils and ingredients, through her business: Natural Oil Health.