A recent study published in the Scientific American shows a significant increase in anxiety since the global pandemic began. In a culture that already struggles with stress and fear, there’s no question that the last two years have heightened our sense of insecurity.
However, as followers of Jesus, we have the promise of God’s faithfulness even in the most uncertain times. The Bible actually invites us not to be anxious about anything!
That’s right! Phillipians 4:6 says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Sounds pretty nice, but is it really possible?
At Oasis, we believe freedom from fear and anxiety is an offer for every single Christian. If you’d like to overcome anxiety and receive God’s promise of peace, keep reading! When pursued in relationship with God, these 6 methods can help you overcome anxiety and fear.
6 Methods To Overcome Anxiety
We have a 24/7 direct line of access to the Father. You can talk to God about anything at any time. If you aren’t experiencing peace, ask for it! Jesus said, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matthew 21:22). Peace is also a fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22. God desires for you to have peace; He is excited to give it to you!
If you’re not sure how to pray, check out our blog on prayer!
2. Read the Bible.
Spending time in the Scriptures is a way to remember who God is and what He promises. The Bible has a lot to say about anxiety and fear. In fact, the phrase “don’t be
afraid” (worded in a few different ways) appears over 100 times in the Bible. If you’d like to meditate on some Bible passages specifically around fear, try starting with these:
- Matthew 6:25-34
- Romans 8:38-39
- Psalm 55
- John 14:27
- Isaiah 35
- 1 Peter 5:7
3. Take care of your physical health.
Research suggests that healthy habits around sleep, diet, and exercise reduce feelings of anxiety and fear. Sleeping 8-12 hours per night seems to be the sweet spot, and it can be helpful to set consistent bedtimes and wakeup-times for yourself. Regular exercise releases endorphins that contribute to positive moods and more energy. So go for a walk, or hit the gym! When it comes to diet, there is some debate about what foods are best. However, general consensus says that increasing raw fruit and veggie intake leads to better health and less anxiety. If you’re not a fan of salads, there are other ways to incorporate veggies. For example, you might slice some cucumber onto your sandwich, or add a little spinach!
4. Stop avoiding.
Sometimes anxiety is a warning sign to pay attention. Are you avoiding something you need to do? Is there a conflict you’re avoiding that needs to be addressed? Avoidance can lead to feelings of stress or anxiety.
Although it may be scary, sometimes facing the thing you’re afraid of is the antidote to fear. Ask God to be with you as you summon up the courage to face your fear!
Joshua 1:9 says: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
5. Journal things you’re thankful for.
Gratitude journaling is more than just an instagram trend. Research shows that giving thanks decreases stress and increases feelings of calmness. Gratitude can bring life into perspective; sometimes we get so focused on what’s wrong with our lives that we can’t help but feel overwhelmed, anxious, and fearful.
If we take a moment to breathe and remember our blessings, the effect can be powerful and transformative. For the next 14 days, try writing down 3 things you’re grateful for before going to bed. See what happens!
6. Observe your thoughts.
This last suggestion can be a challenging one. So often anxious and fearful thoughts seem to take control of us. No matter how hard we try, we can’t make them go away.
Instead of trying to force these negative thoughts away, start by simply observing them. Pretend you are on a river bank watching your thoughts float by. Notice that they are there. Notice how they feel. Say to yourself, “Hmm… that’s interesting. Where does this thought come from?”
See if you can look at your anxious thoughts compassionately while still maintaining some detachment from them. Often the more we try to force something out of our minds, the more it persists. Contrarily, if we relax our grip and allow the thoughts to pass by, they often do just that — pass by!
As you begin practicing these methods to eliminate fear and anxiety, it might be helpful to ask yourself a few questions:
- What might it look like to hope and believe that anxiety doesn’t have to be a part of my life?
- What might it look like to surrender more to Jesus and trust that he knows my needs?
- What might it look like to implement the practices above and see real transformation in my life?
Now choose to believe in God’s promises, and get started!