3 Antidotes to Stop Worrying
In this time of pandemic many people are worrying. Worry about jobs, businesses, access to food, what to do with the kids at home, and much more! Worry affects our sleep, our immune system, and many health issues – putting you at more risk for the virus! Worry comes when we lose control of our environment, it makes us stuck, mimics heart attacks, and makes us feel like we are losing our minds. What do we do???
3 things to help you with worry
- Journaling – for those of you who write, this may be just the ticket out of worry-town. Journaling can be very therapeutic and is recommended by many mental health professionals to help process what is happening. It’s simple, use a notebook, your phone or computer. Write down what you are worried about, your emotions and experiences, and specifics about your worrisome thoughts. When you can’t sleep, put the thoughts on paper (it is better not to use phone or computer before sleeping), you can revisit them in the morning, but don’t worry about them tonight. Don’t forget to journal the successes, too! How your worries never happened or if they did, how you were affected and the outcome. Journaling is a great way to keep track of your prayers and answers to those prayers. Take time reading through past worries and see how they have improved or how prayers were answered.
- Guided imagery – As you are preparing for sleep, laying in bed, close your eyes and imagine you are in a beautiful and calm place, the beach, the mountains, or at the lake. Pause for a moment. What do you hear? What do you smell? Look around you, what do you see? What are you thinking? Think of someone who loves you unconditionally standing with you (parent, grandparent, Jesus, God). Imagine that person wrapping their arms around you in a tight embrace, comforting you. You might cry, it’s ok, let it loose, crying is cleansing and releasing. Your worry begins to lift. Look in the face of that person, feel their love for you, feel healing, hope and peace. Guided imagery can help with anxiety or anxious imaginings that seem to run crazy with scary thoughts or images. Your imagination can make you worry more, or, with guided imagery, can give you peace.
- Meditation – Psalms 119:15 says, “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.” Meditating on God or His word is simply quieting our minds and thinking of those things that give us peace of mind. This can include the guided imagery we discussed above, prayer, memorizing uplifting quotes or scripture, and redirecting your anxious thoughts to thinking about positive thoughts instead. This takes some practice, you might start with memorizing a quote and thinking about it throughout the day, especially when you start to worry. Meditation may not work immediately, it will take focus and effort, but with time, we can learn to “catch” those worrisome thoughts and replace them with meditative thoughts. Here are a couple quotes to help you get started:
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
“Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.”
― Viktor E. Frankl
We can’t control what is happening around us and it is not easy to stop worrying, but it is possible to take control of thoughts and fears. Using journaling, guided imagery, and meditation are just three ways you can overcome worry and get much needed restful sleep that you need to boost your immune system.