It’s January; the month of resolutions and regimes. The month of trying harder. Do everything differently. Begin again.
There are times when we need to make big changes. For example, a habit that’s become an addiction; or a pressing health concern that won’t be ignored. But, in the main, I’m in favour of little changes. Over time, a tiny tip on the rudder, completely alters your course.
- don’t put on a brave front: talk to trusted friends and family. If they’re believers, ask them to support you in prayer and to send you bible verses or examples of times when God has encouraged them.
- pray! An arrow, “help!” is powerful, even if you feel you can’t concentrate for long periods.
- write yourself a “panic script.” “I feel a little panicked now, but I’m okay. I don’t have to carry my worries alone; instead I have a loving Father who can carry them and carry me. I can let go of this anxiety, knowing that He will help me and He will give me strength. I am safe and I am secure and these feelings can’t harm me. They are natural and they will pass.’
- write a small list of things to do – this will help keep you focused (and it’s satisfying to check them off). NB: keep them simple.
- keep your hands busy. Jigsaw, crossword, painting, doodling, sudoku. While you do it, think about listening to a wee bible talk, or hearing it read aloud. Play music if it helps you (even carols!), or listen to a podcast.
- stop and sing a song. Or memorise a verse or a piece of poetry or a riddle – if you’re focusing on these, it’s harder to panic.
- ask yourself these questions..
- What’s the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true?
- Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
- What’s the probability that what I’m scared of will actually happen?
- If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?
- Is the thought helpful? How will worrying about it help me and how will it hurt me?
- What would I say to a friend who had this worry?
- put off any big life decisions until you’re feeling a bit stronger. Focus on the next hour and go step by step.