1. Slow Down
We think about getting through the next task and the next. We think anxiety will be relieved by achieving more—and sometimes it is. But not for the long-term. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, applying the brakes can be helpful when anxiety takes over. Slowing down is a way to reclaim your life and acknowledge your limits in a healthy way. When you’re anxious, take a breather. Put on the brakes and lean in.
“You should sit in nature 20 minutes every day. Unless you are busy; then, you should sit for an hour.”--Zen saying
Press the pause button on your worry, and take a look around the room. What do you see? Close your eyes for a moment and focus your attention on the sounds around you. What do you hear? Now with your eyes remaining closed, focus on how your clothes feel against your body or on the temperature of the room. Have a peppermint and focus on its strong taste and smell. By reconnecting with your sensory experience of the world, you become aware of what’s actually happening and the “what-ifs” fade to the background
3. Thought Stopping Technique
Tune in to your own internal dialogue. You will probably be surprised with how much of your thinking has to do with possibilities (and often negative ones) instead of concrete realities. When you practice stopping thoughts that contain negative possibilities, you’ll rob fear of its power. Learning to deal with what is right in front of you is your best chance at combatting anxiety.
4. The Next Right Thing
“Just do the next right thing, one thing at a time. That'll take you all the way Home.” -Glennon Doyle
Real rest is not about vegging out in front of the television. Sometimes we DO need something mindless to give ourselves a small break, but true Sabbath is about doing what gives you life. A good Sabbath may involve cooking or baking, writing or painting, getting outside, playing with your kids, and yes, a good Sunday nap. Also, taking a Sabbath rest doesn’t have to occur on a Sunday or Saturday. It’s not about the day of the week; it’s about carving out time for regenerative activities and self-care. Treat yourself to a mini-Sabbath every day if you can. We need margin and play in our busy lives.
Mallory is a mother to a 4-year-old boy, a chaplain/bereavement coordinator at Kare-In-Home Hospice in Flowood, Mississippi, and the music director at First United Methodist in Ridgeland, Mississippi. She enjoys reading, writing, and spending time in nature. Read more of her writing through her newsletter, The Life Abundant: Tales from a Hospice Chaplain.