“We allow past problems and future concerns to dominate our present moments,so much so that we end up anxious, frustrated, depressed and hopeless.” Richard Carlson
Focusing on past problems is the cause of depression. No amount of worrying or regret is going to change the past, so the best thing to take from the past, are the lessons… History repeats itself if we do’t learn any lessons from the past.
Worrying about the future also won’t help. This is the source of anxiety. The mind is befuddled by questions like ‘What if, what if, what if?”
Stay living in the present. It is called the present because that is what is is ‘enjoy the moment, enjoy each oppotunity that comes your way, and enjoy the people who cross your path. Too many people spend their time living for the future. don’t know why because we really don’t know what the future holds.
“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep“. Psalm 127:2 (ESV)
Work can become such an obsession driving our every waking moment. Anxiety and sleeplessness result. We need balance in our lives, balance between work, family, friends and our spiritual life. Favoring one above the others leads to an imbalance and anxiety.
If you can’t sleep jot down what’s bothering you, rather than playing it over and over again in your head all night.
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” John Lubbock (30.4.1834 – 28.05.1913)
Sir John Lubbock was a banker, Liberal politician, philanthropist, scientist and polymath. He was also nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Truly a multi-talented man.
Recently I was chatting to a friend who related how she always sees the positive in a situation and in contrast her husband always sees the negative. The other day, they woke up to find the heaven’s had opened. There was a real downpour.
Husband: It’s raining, what a miserable day.
Wife: That’s wonderful for the garden!!
You’ve guessed right, her positive attitude does irritate him.
Our attitude affects our mood and our behavior, so whenever you’re feeling negative, try to look at the situation from another perspective. Negativity is just a bad habit that can be broken.
“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.
Emerson wrote on a number of subjects, developing certain ideas such as individuality, freedom, the ability for humankind to realize almost anything, and the relationship between the soul and the surrounding world.
It’s tempting to blame other people, or your circumstances for a lack of peace. However, it’s how we think that will give us peace or not and we need to learn to change the way we think in order to attain peace.
Bring Peace to Yourself
Don’t just believe that your thoughts represent the truth because that is what you are thinking. Anxiety and depression are full of faulty thinking patterns that need to be recognized and changed if you want peace.
When I’m in a situation that causes me stress or anxiety I ask myself: ‘What I am thinking?’ ‘Are there other ways of looking at the situation?’ When I finally have a thought that gives me peace, I settle for that one.
“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.“ Robert Albert Bloch
Robert Albert Bloch (April 5, 1917 – September 23, 1994) was a prolific American crime, horror and science fiction. You remember the Alfred Hitchcock movie “Psycho”? Well that was based on the book Psycho written by Bloch.
But back to his quote ...
We can’t control the thoughts that pop into our minds, but we can control what we do with the thought, how we let the thought affect us. Anybody who suffers from anxiety knows how anxious thoughts can spiral out of control.
Your partner doesn’t answer the phone …
Whoops! what do you think has happened?
Does your mind run out of control cutting a stream, or raging river of fear through your mind? He’s had an accident, better phone the hospital.
Or … He’s having an affair and doesn’t want me to get through to him.
And so on and so forth, our minds can get quite carried away, when we presume we know what has happened and also presume that our thoughts are telling us the truth!
When that thin stream of anxiety enters your head, don’t let it gather momentum by catastrophizing and predicting the worst. Whatever thought pops into your head, ask yourself if you have any proof that what you’re thinking is right. There’s most likely none!
Every time my mind starts getting carried away with disastrous thoughts, I remind myself that I haven’t got any proof! Needless to say, the thought doesn’t go away with one rebuttal, it might take several. The bottom line is that you don’t want to encourage the thought.
This is a fantastic tool for keeping control on anxiety. Try it out!
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” Corrie Ten Boom
Corrie Ten Boom knew the importance of staying focused in the present. She needed strength to get through each day rather than wasting valuable energy worrying about tomorrow. For her, the possibility of tomorrow never coming was very real.
The Ten Boom family, were devoted Christians who dedicated their lives serving others. During the Second World War, this dedication was put to the test as they turned their home into a hiding place, for Jews and others hunted by the Nazis.
During 1943 and into 1944, there were usually 6-7 people illegally living in their home, 4 Jews and 2 or 3 members of the Dutch underground. By opening up their home in this way they saved an estimated 800 Jews, and protected many Dutch underground workers.
On February 28, 1944, the family was betrayed and the Nazi secret police raided their home. Corrie and her sister Betsie spent 10 months in three different prisons, the last was the infamous Ravensbruck Concentration Camp near Berlin in Germany. Life in the camp was almost unbearable. In her book “Tramp for the Lord”, Corrie describes how the camp was full of fleas. Instead of being miserable, Corrie gave thanks to the Lord for the fleas because it kept the guards at a distance, allowing Corrie and Betsie to spend their time sharing Jesus’ love with their fellow prisoners. Many women became Christians in these awful circumstances because of Corrie and Betsie.
Four of the Ten Boom family lost their lives during the war, but Corrie survived. She realized her life was a gift from God, and needed to share what she and Betsie had learned in Ravensbruck:
“There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still” and “God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies” (which amazingly she did).
At the age 53, Corrie began a world-wide ministry. She traveled to more than 60 countries in the next 33 years where she testified to God’s love and encouraged all she met with the message that “Jesus is Victor.” Corrie died on her 91st birthday, 15 April 1983.
Jesus said “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own“. (Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
Corrie’s amazing life story can be read in the books “The Hiding Place” and “Tramp for the Lord”. I read “Tramp for the Lord” many years ago and found it truly inspiring book.
“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, a theologian, a spiritual writer, a musician, an author of poetry and fiction. He was also a martyr dying for what his beliefs. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world, have become widely influential, notably his book ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ which is regarded by many as a modern classic.
Bonhoeffer also became known for his determined resistance to the Nazi dictatorship during World War II. He was a strong opponent to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He didn’t just speak words of protest but was involved in plans by the German Military Intelligence Office to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo, he was executed by hanging in April 1945, only twenty-three days before the German surrender.
His beliefs and convictions ultimately cost him his life in a Nazi concentration camp. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the most famous theologians and martyrs of the 20th century.
“Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?”
We are often disillusioned with how much time we have left. Frequently we hear people complain about just not having enough time, not enough hours in the day.
And how often do we hear people living in the future with comments like:
‘when I have enough money, then ….’
‘when the children grow up, then …
When …then ….Living in the future robs us of all the joys of the present. But these thoughts also keep us very, very busy in our imaginings.
The writer of Ecclesiastes was an old man who confessed that he had wasted much of his long life. He was too old to correct his ways, but it wasn’t too late for the young. He tried to encourage his readers to go for simplicity in food, entertainment and work. He encouraged them to look for joy in the companionship of their friends, a cheerful disposition and a reverence for God. Now in his old age these were the lessons of life that he wanted to pass on.
Anxious people tend to live in the future. Listen to yourself and others. If you notice the words “what if” being used frequently, it’s a sure indicator that the person suffers from anxiety.
Whatever you’re doing, wherever you are just keep keep reminding yourself to MAKE THE MOST OF THE MOMENT!
“Nerves and butterflies are fine – they’re a physical sign that you’re mentally ready and eager. You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that’s the trick.” Steve Bull
Stephen George “Steve” Bull, MBE, was born on the 28 March 1965. The former English footballer is best remembered for his 13-year spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers. He played there from 1986 until his retirement in 1999, and holds the club’s goalscoring record with 306 goals, including 18 hat-tricks for the club.
Yes, we all know what it’s like to have butterflies, the physical nervousness as we’re about to face a challenge. The easy way out is just is to give up!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to give up! Giving up, or avoidance is actually the enemy of overcoming anxiety. It actually maintains the anxiety. I know that immediate relief does feel great and so the temptation to give up is great.But all that happens is the anxiety goes ‘below the radar’, eagerly awaiting another moment to resurface. And it does … at the next challenge you face. Social phobias, agoraphobia, to name but two are all the result of trying to avoid the butterflies of facing a challenge. Many people even convince themselves that the relief confirms that they weren’t meant to do ‘whatever’ in the first place.
Wrong! If you want to get over anxiety you have to live with the butterflies and face your fears and challenges. Do the very thing you don’t want to do, over and over again. That’s the way to get the butterflies to work for you!
As I watch the London 2012 Olympics from the comfort of my couch, I ‘sit’ in awe of all the achievements of those amazing athletes. I’ve no doubt that their journeys to success was filled with many times of doubt and tears. But they persevered and succeeded.
As Steve Bull says, ‘you have to get those butterflies to fly in formation! That’s the way to win!
“You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.” Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury was a great horror writer who was utterly without fear. He never went to college and did all his learning through reading everything including Shakespeare. Such was his confidence that he really didn’t care less if all the literary giants accepted him or not, but they did. He never even learned to drive. Best known for his science fiction, he wrote in very genre from fantasy to poetry and he wrote beautifully enough for adults and clearly enough for kids.
His advice to writers was: “You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down”. But isn’t this good advice for everyone? Don’t let fear hold you back from living life to the full – that’s the way you will grow wings and fly!
Ray Bradbury died at the age of 91 on the 5 June 2012.