A very popular word at the present time is ‘mindfulness’ or another one is ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ (CBT). Can I say, these things are not new! Romans 12 tells us to, “renew our minds…” and meditation, is an ancient practice in the scripture (Josh 1:8). So, here are 5 tips to reduce anxiety using these ‘modern ancient’ techniques…
- Breath prayers are an ancient practice grounded in the scripture. Repeat under your breath, over and over again, something like, “God you are sovereign, powerful and in total control.” Repeat this phrase or another like it hundreds of times throughout the day.
- Mindfulness comes in many forms, but breathing is often seen as a powerful key. Just taking six deep breaths, pausing as you breath in and out, is helpful. Again in that moment, remember who gave you that breath. Why not add to it by saying the Hebrew word for God as you breath: Yahweh, so Yah (breath in) weh (breath out).
- Get Grounded – in other words speak reality. Modern literature tells us to be grounded in reality and so does scripture. Phil 4:6-7 reminds us to be thankful. In a moment of anxiety, shift the issue from you to God by sitting and being thankful for 5 things, right in that moment, 5 things you are thankful for (past, present and future).
- Avoid control: Scripture actually says in 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Cast means exactly that, cast it off! If your anxiety is based on externals, hand it to God and don’t keep checking in. Social media and news websites are often the last place to go. For example… if your concern is whether the borders are open, the housing market will collapse, covid is in your neighbourhood, whatever, hand the problem to God and don’t look at the news again for 24 hours or don’t open social media for the rest of the day. You have handed the problem over. Avoid taking control.
- Prayer: Anxiety is a complex thing that can be caused by physical, emotional and mental reasons. However I believe the birthplace of anxiety is our spiritual enemy. Where do you think those negative thoughts come from? So, if it is a spiritual problem then there is a spiritual answer – prayer. As the scripture says, “… pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. ..” (Eph 6:18). Praying your specific requests to God is part of our job (Phil 4:6), but praying in the Spirit is less about you and more about allowing God’s spirit and truth to lead you in prayer. At its simplest, this is any prayer that listens for the Spirit’s prompting and prays that leading. If you have the gift, speaking in tongues is a great help here. However, if you are stuck begin by reflecting on scripture, pausing, listening and praying.
Check out our anxiety series on youtube at Catalyst Church Ipswich