Trying to relieve anxiety can be an up-and-down journey. The hills and valleys come when you least except them. We would love to just take the short cut to avoid them, or the straight path that will cut right through them, but it is not always that easy. Believe me, I know.
Anxiety is a frequent feeling that I have dealt with, but by the grace of God, I am able to find victory often. I have learned that to deal with anxious feelings, I must get ahead of it. If I only try to react to the anxiety when it appears, sooner or later it will win. If you prayerfully and intentionally discipline yourself to change your thinking and behavior we don’t have to let anxiety have victory.
I’ve written these forty-eight actions items like biblical counseling homework for myself. If they help you, then by all means, please try them. A constant diet of Scripture will renew our minds and bring that much needed cut-through the hills of anxiety (Rom. 12:1-2). I hope this is helpful for you to relieve anxiety in your life.
Forty-Eight Ways to Relieve Anxiety
- Act: Make a list of ten to twenty things you think God may be developing in you through this season of anxiety. Carry the list with you for the next week, reflecting on it and why a good, all-powerful God would allow you to go through this season. Then share your list with a friend.
2. Pray: Spend some undistracted time in prayer asking God to show you what true joy looks like in your current circumstances.
3. Memorize: Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
4. Reflect: Keep a journal of when you feel fearful. Write down the date, time, circumstance, and what you were thinking and saying to yourself at that time. Evaluate what needs to be renewed in your thinking to avoid fear in the future (Romans 12:1-2).
5. Read: Psalm 56:3-4 in three different translations and ask God to make this passage a reality in your life.
6. Discuss: Find a trusted person in your life with whom you can talk about your fears and ask them to help you believe what is true and what may be mostly in your imagination.
7. Act: Make a list of what you “Believe” and what you “Know” about God. Post these on social media and pray them to God, affirming that what you cling to about His character is the very thing that gives Him the right to “overthrow” your situation and emotions.
8. Reflect: Where are you dealing with anger or disappointment with God the most? Honestly confess your resentment toward Him and prayerfully ask Him to help you change your attitude and perspective.
9. Read: Isaiah 40 and see how God comforts His people and encourages us to trust Him.
10. Act: Is there someone you need to go confess your sin to, owning where you went off course and caused them pain? Take time to make that call, meet with them, or write that letter, acknowledging your own wrongdoing and asking for their forgiveness.
11. Memorize: 1 John 1:9–10
12. Repent: Repentance is when the Holy Spirit enables a supernatural change of our motive, thoughts, and behavior. What areas need to change in your life? Ask God to help you recognize and repent.
13. Reflect: Read Romans 5:3-4 again, and for each mention of the words “perseverance” “character,” or “hope,” write down at least three corresponding ways you see God developing you in these areas.
14. Discuss: Meet with a friend and discuss what sin of doubt may “so easily entangle” you, and what you could do to stand strong the next time you face those doubts.
15. Read: Get a copy of Elyse Fitzpatrick’s devotional Doubt: Trusting God’s Promises. Start this thirty-one-day journey to learn how to battle doubts.
16. Act: Write down your anxiety, fear, or worry on a card and then give it over to God. In the end, destroy the card, knowing that God will stay true to take care of what you entrust to Him.
17. Reflect: The reason we can have joy and peace is because of the reality of His future reign and the closeness of Christ. How and where do you sense the closeness of Christ in your life right now?