I come from a family of worriers. I think the one person to not inherit the worry gene was my brother. He doesn’t seem to worry about much. He’s always been pretty carefree, which I think is so awesome. I wish I was more like him in that respect.
However, I’ve always been a worrier. It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis. Growing up, I worried about letting others down. I was very much a perfectionist, which resulted in me feeling the need to never make mistakes and always please others. I had to have perfect grades and follow the rules because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. The thought of ever getting a C on a report card was the most horrific thing! (I’m not exaggerating.)
Looking back now, all I can do is laugh at how insignificant my worries were.
As I got older and started experiencing my gut issues, that became my source of worry. I worried that I would never get better. I worried how I would feel the next day. I worried about eating certain foods for fear they might make me sick.
It literally consumed my thoughts and ultimately made me sicker. It also made me isolate myself and not want to socialize as much.
Did you know that negative emotions can actually manifest as chronic illness?
Your thoughts, emotions, and mindset are a huge contributor to your health and wellbeing.
In the book, The Power of Positive Affirmations, it states “Your life really does stem from your thoughts. Your thoughts drive your words, which in turn drive your actions. Did you know that focusing on the negative aspects of things could actually make more negative things appear in your life? If you complain about how unwell you are and how badly you feel, chances are you’re going to keep feeling bad. Your thoughts keep churning about how awful you feel, so your words reflect those thoughts.”
The mind is a powerful thing, and often times, my thoughts can get carried away to the point where I’m anticipating crazy, horrible situations. It’s like that Mark Twain quote, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”
The problem is that our bodies react to these thoughts almost as if they did happen and it creates a lot of stress.
Not only that, but what good does worrying serve? It does absolutely no good.
The bible says, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?…Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:27,34
We know this is true, yet it’s so hard to put into practice. Whether you struggle with worry, fear, doubt, or self-pity these negative emotions do more harm than good.
When you are consumed by worrisome, anxious thoughts, it’s a sign that your faith is not as strong as it needs to be. We must remind ourselves that God is in control and He has a plan.
So, what do you do? How do you overcome your anxious thoughts?
The bible says, 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
How amazing is this?! We are told exactly what to do. PRAY. Do not be anxious about anything, but pray about everything.
We are encouraged to hand all of our burdens over to God, so we can be at peace. We are called to relinquish control of our situation and have faith.
I’ll be the first to admit, this isn’t always easy. Especially when you’re dealing with emotional or physical pain because you want a fast solution. You want an answer; an immediate fix. I get it; that’s how I am. I’m a problem solver, and I don’t like to wait for solutions.
But I also know that we may have to wait; to learn to be patient. To simply be still and rely on God’s strength to get us through the storm.
One of my favorite devotionals is Streams in the Desert. I read it every night before bed. I literally have about every page earmarked because it’s all so meaningful and relevant. Below is a summary of one of the daily passages that I found really powerful:
Anxiety should never be found in a believer. No matter what our trials and struggles, anxiety should not exist under any circumstances. We have a father in heaven who is almighty, who loves us, and whose complete joy and delight is to continually assist us under all circumstances.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.
In everything – take EVERYTHING to God – not just big things but little things and seemingly trivial things. Develop a spiritual instinct causing us to turn immediately to God when a concern keeps us awake at night. Speak to Him. Bring our concerns before Him.
By prayer and petition – earnestly pleading, persevering, enduring and waiting on God.
With thanksgiving – always laying a good foundation. Give thanks, express gratitude. He has saved us. He’s given us his holy word, holy spirit, and his son!
Search your heart several times a day, and if you find something that is disturbing your peace, remember to take the proper steps to restore the calm. – Streams in the Desert
So, I want to leave you with five action items that you can begin to put in place immediately that will really help you reframe your thoughts, renew your mind, and further your healing.
Prayer is powerful. Express your concerns and worries to God. He’s listening. Prayer is also a great way to recognize all of your blessings and give God thanks.
Writing down things you’re grateful for each day is an excellent way to refocus your thoughts and diminish the negativity. If you don’t feel like you have much to be thankful for, then start with things we often take for granted. Thank God for the sunshine that warms your skin. Or thank Him for the rain that waters your flowers. Thank Him for the ability to see His beautiful creation or the ability to hear your children laughing.
Talking it out is so therapeutic. Getting your thoughts out of your head and verbalizing them destroys their power. Find a friend, a loved one, or a counselor that you can talk to.
If you find that your thoughts are isolating you, then make an extra effort to be more social. Schedule lunch dates, pedicures, or walks with friends. The more we focus on ourselves, the more unhappy we tend to be. This is likely because our thoughts are negative and driven by worry, fear, and anxiety. Surrounding ourselves with people helps us to get out of our heads and focus on others.
There are several essential oils that are great for reducing anxious feelings and calming the mind. Two of my favorite are lavender and vetiver. I wear them both throughout the day. You can also diffuse them or put several drops in a bath. To learn how you can get essential oils, click here.