Overwhelm & Anxiety
Last week, we talked about being overwhelmed and having anxiety (about all-the-things!). Our schedule got mixed up, I lost a kid (I promise not for very long! Mom of the year here LOL), had tech troubles and a short staff at work, UGH! – just remembering it overwhelms me again. Even in the week since I wrote about a perspective overwhelmed, I’ve had stressful projects and deadlines at work, unexpected expenses hit, and frustrations with my body during my workouts.
We can all agree at one point or another we get anxious and overwhelmed. Even without a major stress, overwhelm and anxiety are a certainty of this busy life! Little things happen here and there. Enough little things pile in a day and you lose it, right? Hey, you can only handle so much while staying cool and calm and collected…and properly pretty. 😉 What are some of the little annoyances that’ve been making you anxious recently?
A Recap of David’s Psalms
We also looked at David and all the crap he went through (granted, some of it self inflicted). In his overwhelm and anxiety, he lamented to God and then ultimately shifted his perspective to God’s goodness. Psalms that were written in dire circumstances ended in praise. I encourage you to go through some of them with me.
While I’m not a song writer (I can’t really even carry much of a tune) and I’m not quick witted with rhyme (that’s my Mr.) I do, however, have my own method for shifting my perspective. When I’m overwhelmed, discouraged, and exhausted with life one of the practices I do to shift my perspective is this – I verbally say thank you over and over again for all of the things I’m thankful to God for. I’m basically counting my blessings. Most of the time this takes place in bed at the end of an overwhelming day. Others it takes form in a written list when I’m out and in the middle of my daily to-dos.
I give thanks for every microscopic blessing that I can think of. I’ll start with physical attributes that are taken for granted because I’ve had them all my life. Nature holds so many beautiful creations that attest to the goodness of God. Family is included (and trust me, I don’t have that picture perfect family). Material blessings are covered. I’ll never complete my entire list of things I’m grateful for. Many individual “thank you”s are repeated every time I do this. One constant? I say “thank you” every single time.
What It Looks Like
Thank you for my eyesight…thank you for working legs…thank you for strong lungs…thank you for four healthy children…thank you for an intelligent, hard working husband…thank you for my IQ…thank you for our two stable jobs…thank you for the ability to pay for a house…thank you for enough bedrooms to fit everyone…thank you for two paid off vehicles…thank you for a beautiful sky, sun, moon, stars…thank you for a healthy aging mother…thank you for coffee…thank you for wine…thank you for chocolate. Thank you for….
The Science Behind It
In a study done by Neuroimage patients with anxiety were asked to write letters of gratitude as a part of their therapy. Actual changes to the cortex were noted when MRIs were done as well as a significantly greater awareness of gratitude. Simply stated, practicing gratitude naturally increases your gratitude, long term. Even before all this fancy science, David seemed to get that. I think it’s so cool how God has wired us! 🙂
Just like the science, life itself has changed drastically since David’s time. We are now busier than ever. We deal with college, work, relationships, extracurricular activities, travel, and access to the billions of other people in the world via internet. Today, even the average teen deals with as much stress as a psychiatric patient in the 1950s did.
But we CAN turn that anxiety around! With God all things are possible, right? We have much to be thankful for! The air you’re breathing right this moment is a great place to start. If you’re in America you can be thankful for being in the top 1% of the world’s global income. I can overcome most of my daily anxiety by stating all these thanks. It overwhelms my perspective and shifts my focus from stresses and circumstances to all the things I’m thankful for.
What are your “thank you”s that shift your perspective? Oh – and thank you for reading. 😉 Thankful for you friend!
- A Perspective Overwhelmed: Overwhelming an Overwhelmed Perspective…in a Good Way
- The ACTS Prayer Method
- Easing Sunday Morning Frustrations; Fighting the Enemy for Your Sunday
- When God Gives You a Verse at Just the Right Time: How I Recognize those Gifts to Find Hope When it Hurts
- The Battle: Tools To Fight For Joy