Have you ever thought you handle stress and anxiety well? I have. I've always thought that I could just push through life, ignoring my sometimes crippling anxiety and stress and times simply just because I could. I liked being busy, working and taking risks.
This thinking is extremely dangerous, and can put you in a really dark and lonely place if you're not careful.
Many times people will hit a breaking point, where they literally cannot go any further living like this. This may or may not be you, but either way, there is still hope.
If you're still living with stress and anxiety, here are 6 ways to deal with it:
1. Admit There is an Issue
The first step is admitting to yourself that you are dealing with a real issue. Anxiety is not something you can simply leave alone and hope for it to go away. Admit that it’s affecting your day-to-day life, your relationship with God and other people.
See a doctor. Find a counselor in your area. Talk to a trusted friend or family member. These are all necessary steps to deal with crippling anxiety and stress. The temptation is to keep pushing away and to deal with it on your own, but it’s so important to tackle this with others. You can’t do it alone.
Remember that the sooner you do this, the sooner you can start the healing process and the sooner you can spare yourself and others pain.
2. Take Care of Yourself Physically
It’s important to recognize that physical health is directly related to mental health. Regular exercise, for example, has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. One study in particular showed that those who regularly exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years.
Start going to the gym, go on a bike ride, walk, just do something. There’s a good chance you’ve stopped doing the things you’ve loved to do previously, so start doing those things again.
3. Stop Self-Medicating
Many people who deal with stress and anxiety will attempt to make themselves feel better by doing things that harm themselves even more. It’s definitely easier to fall into temptation when you are feeling down and worn out. If you find yourself stress-eating, camping out in front of your TV for hours, drinking, etc., it’s time to address this head on and stop killing your soul.
This causes a cycle that is really, really hard to stop. The sooner you stop, the easier it will be.
4. Watch What Goes into Your Mind
This is really important. When you’re stressed out and your anxiety is through the roof, what do you turn to? Is it that TV show you know you shouldn’t be watching? Or maybe it’s that pornography website you keep turning back to.
Philippians 4:8 says this: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Paul is letting us know that what we put into our minds has a huge effect on us. It’s not just about emptying our minds of the wrong things, but filling our mind with the good.
5. Don’t Neglect God
Neglecting your relationship with God can harm your entire life. Turning to Him and allowing Him to renew your mind and spirit is going to be the fastest way to get your life back on track. No, your life isn’t going to magically turn around the day you start praying and turning away from your sins. Many times, it can get worse. But knowing that you have God on your side fighting this battle with you is so encouraging.
You must make a habit of utilizing the power of prayer, the gift of the Scriptures and the support of Christian community who can help you discern the lies you are tempted to believe and who will remind you of who you truly are in Christ.
6. Embrace your Brokenness
Admit that you’re a broken human being. I mean, we all are. There’s so many blessings that can come from being in a place of brokenness. We can understand things that many who don’t deal with stress and anxiety, just can’t.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take this suffering away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).
Hold onto the promises of God. There will be times it will feel impossible to even get out of bed in the morning. But keep trusting and holding onto God’s word with all of your strength. If you are walking through the valley of anxiety and stress right now, there is a way out. Don’t miss out on the blessings in your valley though, God is still with you and still fighting with you.
Our Highs and Lows design has a meaning that is very relatable for people who struggle with stress and anxiety. It symbolizes the fact that no matter what highs or lows come our way, God is bigger than it all and His presence remains constant. No matter the valley you are in, God is by your side. No matter how down and out you are, God is for you.
12 Bible verses to lean on
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
2 Thessalonians 3:16
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.
1 Peter 5:6-8
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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.