February 28, 2018

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Do you struggle with anxiety?

The wildflowers are starting to bloom around us and the birds are everywhere making whatever sound birds make. It is always a reminder to me of part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. 

 

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25-34

 

It is SO easy to worry. It is easier than not worrying. It takes more energy, deliberate thinking, and focus to stay present, stay thankful and not get anxious. I'm not sure why it is easy to imagine worse case scenarios, to get stressed about all there is to do and the little time to do it, to agonize over decisions or if there is going to be enough. But brain research suggests that focusing on what is happening, on what we have to be thankful for rather than everything that isn't happening or might happen, actually can retrain our brain. And in retraining our brain to be thankful, and present minded we actually release different chemicals making us happier people. 

 

I've started making my kids at least once a week on the drive home from school, list everything they are thankful for. It is amazing how hard it is at first but a few "thankfuls" into it, they are competing to say the next thing. All of a sudden the bad day because my teacher wasn't there and we had a "mean sub"

 

, actually has a positive--we didn't have to do our standardized testing. Not having enough is turned into a focus on everything we do have. 

 

My friend talks about crawling into her own skin and looking out of her own eyes. In doing so she finds herself more able to be present, to stay in the moment. There is something about being present that makes a lot of the anxiety go away. Tomorrow has enough worries of its own. Stay present in today, in the person in front of you. 

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