“There is a space in the waiting that requires us to quiet down our soul and refuse to have the anxiety override us.”
Anxiety comes in many forms, namely when we are looking towards the future.
These past few days has me shaky. I know I need to make some new moves towards obtaining my state license for marriage counseling, but I also have to pay the bills. Being a creative art therapist at a psychiatric hospital has helped my finances flourish, and it is hard to give this up right now. It requires rebalancing my lifestyle. Maybe even a downgrade. You can say I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself, but it’s just my natural tendency to have favorable outcomes and feel secure.
Are there any times in your life you feel anxious and insecure about the future? Anxiety comes and goes, but the quicker we spot it, the more likely we can reset our lives and feel at ease.
When anxiety comes knocking at my door, I want to hide! I need to be quicker at redirecting my mind and become proactive to make sure anxiety does not enter. We cannot allow anxiety to take over our lives. We have the power to open that door and let anxiety stay in our house, or we can be on the defense and kick it out!
It’s funny that we can be excited for the future and show it on the outside. But on the inside, there are doubts and fears. An anxious mindset sound like….
“I want to know, and I want to know now!”
“Will it all work out?”
“When will I hear back?”“Will this new venture be successful ?”
“Will I need to think of a plan B, C, D?”
“Should I give up?”
“Will I be rejected again?”
The more we ruminate on our stream of anxious thoughts, it’s what will we become. Can you relate to any of this? Becoming fearful has never led to positive results when having a doubtful or passive mindset. After all, the acronym for fear is clear:
Another think I would like to point out is a process and concept I would like to call…
“IN THE WAITING…”
Truly, you don’t know who you are until you find yourself “in the waiting.” We are always waiting for something to happen. It can be for a job, for a relationship to work out, to receive favorable news from your doctor, for someone to accept your movie script to begin production… and the list goes on and on!
It can hard and humbling when you need to wait for something. Sometimes you can stress yourself out to the point of feeling tense not only in your mind, but also in your body. You can get headaches, increased heartbeat, difficulties breathing, muscle aches and pains. You can feel tired to the point of exhaustion. You can also begin to feel resentful, angry, and very unsure of yourself.
It does not have to be this way. There are tools you can use to overcome anxiety and the process of being “in the waiting.” You do not have to be filled with anxiety, doubts and worries. You do not have to be perfect or be in control of everything. Negativity does not have to overwhelm you. Here are some keys to help you keep your peace.
#1) Tell yourself you cannot always have control of the outcome.
With decisions must come answers: yes, no, or not right now. You must prepare yourself that everything cannot go your way. All or nothing thinking can effect your relationships with others and it can bring your mood down. Be careful and keep track of your thought life.
#2) Think of an analogy that helps you see that worrying gets you no where.
“Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you no where.”
Stress releases chemicals in our brain and we can automatically go into feelings of anxiousness. Sometimes it is comfortable because we are so used to it. We do not have to passively rock back and forth, thinking of everything that can go wrong or worry what will become of us. Most of the things we worry about NEVER happen. Are there any other analogies you can think of that can help you see how being anxious will not change your stressful situation?
#3) Pray. Meditate. Affirm yourself.
There is a saying in Colossians 3:2
“Set your mind on things above, and not on things beneath.”
You can actively set your mind on a prayer, meditate on it, and release all of your worries. It does not have to be a long prayer or positive thought.
Here are some examples:
“In all things I will give thanks for where I am right now. I choose to keep calm as I wait for their decision on __________. I release all of my doubts and fears, never to pick it back up. Amen (let it be). “
“I have a sound mind, and I will not doubt myself.”
“I have come a long way, and I am not a quitter. “
“I speak peace over my mind. I speak to my body “rest.” I speak to my spirit: Be well.”
#4) Set a ‘Worry Time’
In Cognitive behavioral therapy, we have this activity called ‘Worry Time.’ You determine how long you allow yourself to worry about something (I recommend no longer than 20 minutes), and after the timer runs out, you let it go and go about your day. This can also work as an evening activity before you rest as it is good to mentally let go of things that worry you.
#5) Recreation Therapy
Leisure activities to divert your attention is beneficial. Staying in movement will help your body destress and release chemicals that will help you cope, instead of sinking into feelings of depression and/or anxiety.
Here are some activity ideas that are passive, active, or social:
Walk in the park, beach, neighborhood. Listening to your 5 senses.
Watch a funny movie solo or with a friend
Join a fitness group/class
Plan a Sunday dinner with family
Draw, paint, or sing
Reflecting on this process helped me to see how patience is a virtue. I used to roll my eyes when someone would say that phrase, but now I can see why patience is a fruit of the spirit. It is very important to keep your peace, rather than having peace taken away from you.
- Recognize you do not need to make a decision yet until they give you an answer.
- You do not need to come up with a plan B right away.
- You do not need to figure it all out right now.
- Remember you are in control of your decisions and emotions. Sometimes a decision to have peace must be made before your feelings follow that decision.
- Write down 5 goals you can accomplish for your day. Focus on completing your daily life tasks, and try not to think so far ahead in the future.
I give you permission to find grace and peace during stressful times that may fill you with anxious thoughts. Let me know if this article was helpful for you.