It’s easy to write about how to get rid of anxiety in a blog. Put it in four steps and your done. Deep down I know that four steps won’t cure anxiety in your life or mine so I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that if you practice these four steps our anxiety will be thing of the past, it won’t. However, a few friends of mine have been contemplating a “detox” of sorts.
If you Google the word “detox” you will find diets, supplements, prescriptions, plans, recipes, tests, blogs, pictures, foods and tea. However, not one program to cleanse anxiety and that’s the one I could really use!
I guess the question we should start with is why? Why are we anxious? If we remove all the deep language anxiety is directly connected to fear. Fear of what will happen, fear of what’s next, fear of what’s coming, fear of failure. I’m not sure how many of us look back at the past week and feel anxiety, My guess is it’s a low number. It’s usually when we look ahead that anxiety sets in. The bottom line, we're afraid of uncertainty.
Philippians 4:11 Paul says we can learn to be content in whatever situation we are in or are facing. Being content is having enough now, being present in the moment regardless of external circumstances present or future. If we look ahead this week and are feeling a bit anxious here is a 5 step "detox” to reduce anxiety and increase contentment.
1. Take A Walk (5 Minutes)
It’s a scientific fact that “Walking briskly does calm you down by sparking nerve cells in the brain that relax the senses.” (1) Take a 3 minute walk down the hallway, around the building or or around the block. Oh yea, leave your cell phone in the office or at home. Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day don’t stumble, because they see the light of this world." John 11:8 GW. As we walk in the “light” we don’t stumble over our anxiety either.
2. Find A Seat (5 Minutes)
After your walk find a seat in a place of calm, quiet and stillness. I understand that sitting and doing nothing increases anxiety in some of us but hang in there. Just sit still for five minutes. For those of us that don’t quite grasp the concept it means without movement. You may be asking, “Craig, isn’t there more to it? Is this it? Just sit and do nothing?” Yes, that’s what I’m saying. "After sending the people away, he went up a mountain to pray by himself. When evening came, he was there alone." Matthew 14:23 GW
3. Create Some Space (3 Minutes)
How do we create space? Well, I recommend decluttering. Just like cleaning out an old closet or your garage when you declutter you create some space to move, operate, organize. The same is true with an anxiety detox. Create some mental and emotional space to breathe. Create some space for God to show up. Sense His presence. "He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor." Psalm 107:29-30 NLTse
4. Live The Moment (1 Minute By Minute)
Make a conscious effort to live in the moment, not what’s coming in the next three days. Me mindful of the now, be mindful of who is sitting in front of you, be mindful of a moment by moment connection with Jesus. "I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 NLTse
5. Take A Breath (1 Minute)
Doctors tell us that when we are feeling anxious most if us take small and shallow breaths when what is needed is deep breaths. "Shallow over-breathing, or hyperventilation, can prolong feelings of anxiety by making the physical symptoms worse. The good news is that controlling your breathing can help to improve symptoms (of anxiety).” (2) Take five deep breaths and keep on going!
There you have it. The 15 Minute Anxiety Detox. I hope you find it helpful this coming week. I’m shutting down the computer and going for a walk around Starbucks with my grande non-fat DECAF latte. I hope you do the same.
2 Bonus Anxiety Detox Steps
1. Caffeine Less
Go decaf this week and see if it makes you less anxious.
2. Chew Gum
According to research, chewing a stick of gum seems to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve mental performance during tasks. In one study, not only did gum chewers report they were less stressed, they were also less depressed. (3)
What are you anxious about this week? Which step is most helpful for you?