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Friday, January 5, 2018

One sure way to reduce anxiety

EVER been whipped immediately by the mixing beaters of reaction into a caustic cream? Sure, we all have. We’ve all been caught off-guard. What can be done to guard against improper responses?
I have two stories to tell; one about falling over the precipice, the other about sidestepping the trap.
The first story. I was in what I would call a good place in early December 2017. Within two weeks I was suddenly vulnerable and anxious. What happened? Over a twelve-day period I was out or busy ten of those nights, on top of busy days with variegated demands. There were several pastoral issues in a clump; the types of things that I find it hard to say no to, simply because there are genuine needs of me. I’m spiritually aware that the weeks leading into Christmas are harder than other parts of the year for many people. As a by-product of such a demanding time, however, I did what I do when my poise goes awry; the overflow of stress spilled over and onto my family. Nothing too damaging, but enough for all of us to notice something was wrong. It is always unacceptable, and it had to be amended. I can pinpoint when my poise began to return — a few days before Christmas when I became less accessible (something I learned in my professional life ten years ago through a Stephen Covey course).
Becoming less accessible is one sure way to reduce anxiety.
The second story. This occurred more recently. Founded in a good place, two significant issues came within an hour over email. You know, those types of issues you are tempted to react to without the sensibility of a wise mind. I felt in my spirit no need to react. It was like I sensed an emergent panic and simply said to it, ‘Settle down, I cannot deal with these effectively right now.’ I simply admitted I had no control over either issue. On returning home, feeling tired, I decided to lie down, then immediately I did, I had the Holy Spirit usher the following words into my consciousness, which I posted to Facebook:
One sure way to reduce anxiety is to refuse
to be drawn into everyone else’s urgency.
It may not even be the case that another person’s urgency is their panic. There can be real issues they’re trying to alert us to. But we all have our limits. We cannot respond to several or even two emergencies at any one time. It is not only healthy to realise this, it is sustaining for our health and well-being.
It is a beautiful thing when we take so much responsibility for our own peace that we resist the overtures of others who have long surrendered theirs.

If we wish to serve others best, we must care for ourselves most. Otherwise we get burned out and are no good to anyone. Caring for ourselves most is best done when there’s no perceived detriment to others. It is a wisdom activity of taking ownership of and managing our anxiety.

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