How to overcome anxiety (without pills, yoga or meditation)
Anxiety is a living nightmare.
It’s one of the most uncontrollable, irrational feelings I have personally felt, and to anyone that hasn’t been through it before it can be quite hard to describing the feeling, as it is different from the momentary anxious feeling you would get before a job interview, or on a date.
But to those who are contending with this spirit, and to who this blog is aimed, that over-stimulated, paralysing ‘hot’ feeling is all too familiar…
My aim is not to belittle your experience with anxiety, because your experience may be different from mine, but it is just to share some tips that have personally helped me conquer anxiety in my life.
All things being said, here is my personal weapon holster for destroying anxiety attacks quickly:
1) Your breathing (deep slow breathing)
This may sound simple, and to some, ‘unspiritual’, but your breathing is one of the first things to go when having an anxiety attack.
In that moment when fight or flight kicks in, and your senses become acute to virtually everything around you, including your own breathing, TAKE CONTROL of your breathing with long, deep breaths.
Regulate your respiratory system, step outside and realise the world is bigger than the situation/room/place you’re in.
2) God’s strength/Your courage
With anxiety being so easily misunderstood (particularly in Christian circles who may incorrectly consider you unbelieving or fearful for allowing those feelings), it can be easy to beat yourself up about something almost involuntary at times.
What you MUST understand is that you are not weak for experiencing anxiety, but strong through Christ.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 – “or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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.”
Far from making you weaker, the fact that by the end of this post, you will be able to master this spirit through Christ’s power is STRENGTH. Just remember to boast in Christ when you do.
3) Your transparency (Tell someone you’re fighting anxiety)
I’m a private person i.e. I don’t feel comfortable telling anyone my business. But when it comes to anxiety, I realised eventually that to win this battle I had to expose what I was feeling, especially to those who’s opinion I cared the most.
Because my anxiety often magnified around people knowing I was acting weird, to the point where it played out. Therefore, if I am on the same page with everyone who’s opinion I care about, I have no real reason to feel anxious.
I remember being pulled into a meeting at work, at the height of my anxiety. My line manager and head of department told me they had been monitoring my frequent and long breaks. I was honest and told them I had anxiety, and to which they both apologised profusely, and shared with me they both suffered from anxiety.
From that day forward, my anxiety levels at work decreased.
A devil exposed is a devil defeated. Share with friends because your ‘weak moment’ will be another’s strength.
4) Your attitude (of gratitude and thanksgiving)
Now, I’m not a fan of trendy new-age affirmations or mantra-like repetitions, however, an attitude of gratitude is very scriptural.
The thought that “this life is God’s, not my own, and I’m just walking in what He has already laid out”, fills me with great comfort and peace.
It fills me with peace because I know I can trust God more than I can trust pure willpower or medicine.
Always remember; any thought that is ‘self’ focused, whether vain or depressing, is unhealthy. When we take our eyes off ourselves, we see GOD in a situation better.
This thought alone will sweep away anxiety. Replace you worry thoughts with worthy thoughts (Philippians 4:8).
Prayer point – “Lord, I’m grateful for what you’ve given me today, I’m grateful for this moment, thank you”.
5) Your voice (rebuke fear and doubt)
This is where a lot of you will stop reading. But don’t, because you will miss something important.
There was a great book written by A.W Tozer entitled “I talk back to the devil”. Sometimes, you’ve got to get violent with that thought of anxiety and see it for what it is, an assault against your well-being and life.
Now this may seem alien to you if you haven’t been brought up to pray in that way, however, we are fighting for peace in our minds and bodies, so we have to get serious.
Tell the spirit of anxiety it is weak and you have power over it through God.
6) God’s presence (take it to Him in prayer)
When soldiers fight, they get tired. Similarly, when you are fighting a battle against anxiety on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level, you get tired.
Invite God into your situation.
If God is near, you are OK;
If God can minister to you, like icy water on a hot day, you will be replenished.
However you cultivate/enter into the presence of God, whether it be through quiet reflection or praise and worship, take some time out of our week to really touch base with God, and let God replenish your mind. Once you are replenished, leave it in God’s hands by asking Him to go before you.
“The most powerful weapon against anxiety is the presence of God.”
Read: Practical Tips on how to overcome difficult times as a Christian
7) These weapons (Mobilise the above points as weapons of war)
We are in a spiritual war; let these be your weapons.
I told a friend at my church going through anxiety “these are not just points, these are WEAPONS against anxiety”. Since then, she has used these techniques to overcome her anxiety in various scenarios.
I know how it is with anxiety; you can get pretty desperate after a while. But I want to reassure you that you don’t have to resort to pill-popping or herbal medicine to calm your nerves.
Let me be honest…I didn’t finish the story I began in weapon 3). That particular meeting with my managers ended with them offering me a visit to the occupational health nurse. I declined, and with me doing a bit more soul-searching, I put together these weapons and God delivered me from the power anxiety had over me.
You can kill off/destroy anxiety in your life if you use these weapons, and not just dismiss these as mere points in a blog.
Thank you for reading, and if you were blessed by what as written please drop a comment or share with someone who may benefit.
Fight on soldiers.