Dealing with stress and anxiety: How to train your mind to think positive
February 26, 2018
“As a man thinks in his heart so is he…” and “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” These are some of the few verses that really encapsulate how important positivity and positive thinking is. We are told do not worry because worrying adds no day to our lives or inch to our heights and to focus on today. But how does this positive thinking work? How is it that if our problems are cured by a positive mind that we can train our minds to think like this? Why are we still struggling with anxiety and depression if it is as simple as a positive mindset?
I, for one, am a very firm believer in positive thinking and positivity and not because I am a master of it but because I have seen that when I practice it, my life most definitely changes for the better. I still suffer from anxiety, my anxiety suffers from anxiety sometimes 🙂 but that doesn’t mean I have given up of labelled myself an anxious person but I am learning and working towards being a more positive and trusting person and becoming who God created me to be. So below are my 10 proven ways of dealing with anxiety and how I am training my mind to be positive. (ps.. you can add Contentment:10 tips to cultivate gratitude and 7 simple steps to begin dealing with depression and Self-anxiety and acceptance as accompanying pieces on a more in depth read)
Live one day at a time:
You know when you were a child and you literally had no worries, not because your family was well off but because your mind could not conceive worry as a concept? You lived life as it came;day by day. You ate, you cried, you played and you slept. You learned to be anxious from those around you, you slowly picked up on the stresses of your parents and teachers and as you got older and learned more you suddenly because worry-prone. Now I know we are told not to view life from rose-colored glasses and to be realistic and normally this is to defend the worry and the obsessive planning and mistrust and jaded views we have.
But God tells us that reality is that you really do not know what tomorrow will bring, fact is that there are evil people out there, fact is that there will be times of plenty and times of less but the TRUTH is that no one by worrying will add even an hour to their life and that our father in heaven who provides for animals and birds will not let his most beloved creation starve or go naked. This isn’t just about food, it’s about all the other things we spend so much time considering and worrying about. Our hair, body, our love lifes, our friends or lack there of, our future careers etc. Your work is not to plan for all scenarios or prepare for the worst but to trust God by living life as it comes to you. This frees your mind from the negativity of worry of tomorrow and gives room for you to actually be positive. It also lessens stress.
2. Meditate on God’s word and pray:
These two go hand in hand. Let God’s word flood your mind and fill it, meditate on it as you walk, work and work out. Pray continually for guidance, strength and peace and pray the promises God has already given in his word. You shall be the head and not the tail, I shall never leave you nor forsake you, I have good plans for you that give you a future and a hope, you shall lend to many but borrow fro none, I will give you vineyards you have not planted and houses you have not built, you are precious and honored and God loves you, You are fearfully and wonderfully made. These are just but a few of the verses found in God’s word. And just by reading them don’t you feel better? Now imagine if you made it a daily habit to read the word don’t you think your mind would be so free and positive and you would be worry less and anxiety-free? God has that effect on us. His word never leaves us empty but fills us and accomplishes it’s purpose so drown your mind in his word and see the difference.
3. Surround yourself with positive people:
We all know that bad company corrupts good morals. In fact we are often told “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are” This is not rush judgement but truth. The people we surround ourselves with always impact us and ,in some ways ,define us
We are not only the outcome of our commitment to the sum of our choices but also a mix of the people we have met, experiences we have had the people we surround ourselves with. ~ kenahcatalogs
Ensure that those around you, your direct circle, are people who embrace faith, love God and lead faithful and positive lives. It’s not just about word of mouth, but more about the fruit they exhibit; are they loving, do they forgive, are they kind even to hateful people, are they generous, do they trust God for their future, are they joyful etc. If you want to worry less and get rid of your anxiety then hang around people who worry not. Misery loves company and therefore sometimes you will find yourself lost in a world of negativity with people who make crass or self-depreciating jokes because of low-self esteem, people who ‘enjoy’ being broke, people who complain and grumble all day, people who are vengeful. And not just that, but the music you listen to, the movies and series you watch and the books and magazines you read have to have a positive outlook. It’s ok to talk about a problem but don’t glorify it but instead pray on it and offer a solution as opposed to wallowing in it. This is one of the reasons I strive to ensure my blog posts are always positive and enriching.
Do not give everyone or everything access to your heart, mind or Spirit. Guard them fervently because it influence the way you think and by connection the way you live. Protect your light.
4. Guard your heart:
For it is the wellspring of life. Sometimes our negative outlook comes from extend sources because we are leaving our hearts and minds open for attack. We watch the news obsessively, we read stories about cheating and breakups, we watch reality shows where the people divorce and cut people off, we even share memes that make a joke about negative things like being drunk and depressed, low self-esteem and negative body image. We have normalized these things to the point that they don’t shock us anymore but they do impact our outlook on life because they kill our faith.
Our hearts have been broken by people so far away because we refuse to stop contaminating ourselves. The truth is, you don’t really need to watch the news these days; we all heard about the school shooting in Florida, we heard about hurricane Harvey and its devastation, we hear about President Trump’s latest thing, we heard about Prince Harry’s engagement etc. And some of us are on a different side of the world! Sometimes switching off media is what is healthiest for your mind. I’m not saying don’t watch or read news at all, even though I don’t, but don’t make it your lifeline. Don’t obsessively stick to it. Guard your heart first then add information.
5. Celebrate the not so little wins:
Anxiety comes when we stress the big and little things without taking a moment to appreciate life. Celebrate the fact that you woke up, that you can breathe, that you can move. Be happy about the sun or the rain or the cute cat video. So what you don’t know what career to be in? Celebrate that you went to school or have friends or your hair finally cooperated with you. Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. Be glad about living; the air, the birds, the cars, the buildings etc. Be glad about those things that make life. Be happy that you passed that CAT, it may only count for 5% of your grade and yes you my fail the main exam that is 75% but celebrate the small win. Learn to rejoice because as you train your mind not to quickly jump to the next problem but take a minute to celebrate conquering this one, you are training it to be positive so that even when tackling the next problem you approach it from a can-do attitude.
6. Remind yourself that failure is not death:
Life does not end at failure but at the point of death, at least life in this body and on this earth. So if you fail, grieve yes but get back up. Tell your mind to start over. Encourage yourself by reminding yourself that you are not dead yet therefore have another chance to try and failure is but a lesson in what not to do or how not to do it. And even if you fail at business, why not try something else? You might be shocked where your calling and gifting lies and you may have a story to tell one of the kids that comes running to you for advice.
7. Sleep on it:
When you have a problem, pray and then sleep on it. Our worries tend to be magnified by fatigue so rest your brain and body and then look at it with a fresh set of eyes. You’ll find that most of our worries are baseless when tomorrow comes and the actual problems usually have a solution once we give ourselves some much needed sleep. Sleep-deprivation also causes depression so if you want a positive mind I suggest sleep as a cure to everything.
8. Do more of what you love:
We are more positive when we do what we love. Is life all about only doing that which you like? no but is it all about killing yourself? no. Put more energy in doing that which you love and you will find you worry less because you know that you are giving it your best because it comes from the heart. Negative thoughts are less likely to take root when you are engaging your soul in what you do. You may not love working out, but maybe you love dancing so why not do a dance workout or a dance class as a workout? Figure out a way to add sprinkles of what you love to everyday menial and stressful tasks and your outlook on life will drastically change for the better.
9. Find time to totally relax:
Whether it is taking a 2 day road trip or a one hour shopping trip or locking yourself in the house for a day, find something that relaxes you and do it occasionally. Life is hard, that’s a fact but it does not have to be miserable. Your relaxation does not have to be expensive or tedious or even take copious amounts of planning. When you’re worried about a decision or an outcome, that’s when you need to step back and breathe then come back refreshed and ready to tackle it. When you are anxious about your life, sometimes it’s because you have been going full speed and haven’t taken a break so your mind is going into overdrive trying to keep up. An occasional vacation is just what the doctor ordered and will make a difference in how your mind works.
Now you have to speak life always for you to conceive it. I know sometimes it’s hard to say positive things especially when your mind is drowning in negativity and pain but only love can trump hate so speak positivity into your life; speak God’s word into being. Look at yourself and remind yourself that you are a winner, a beauty, a champion. Go to your business and speak prosperity and success into it. Stand in your living room and speak favor upon your family. Speak it until your mind accepts it. Do not give in to despair and into negative talk even when all you can think of is dark and hazy. Speak life.
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things ~Phillipians 4:8
I hope this truly blessed and strengthened you and encourages you on your journey to a more stress-free and positive life. The power is within you, you just need to use it. Remember you are a child of God and that very same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside you. You are stronger than you can imagine. Stay strong.
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