And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?* If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Luke 12:25-26
This may be one of the most recognizable scriptures of all time. Even if you haven't read the Bible, you've heard that it says not to worry.
That's all well and good, and of course Jesus is right, but it isn't that easy, is it? It doesn't tell us how NOT to worry. In fact, we can get to the point where we begin to feel guilty about worrying and worry about THAT. More to the point, anxiety can be part of a mental health issue. We may have worried ruts into our brains that make it incredibly difficult not to worry. So, a few words on the how:
1) There are many issue that affect our ability to avoid worry, but guilt about it isn't going to help. So stop the guilt. Let it go.
2) Write it down, ask yourself why, and make it worse. Usually, the worst thing is still manageable in some way.
3) Limit Caffeine. The scripture says not to put God to the test, and we can't pray for peace at the same time we're giving ourselves the jitters. It really does make a difference.
4) When you are worried and anxious, focus on relaxing your body. It can trick your brain into thinking everything is ok, which helps change your thinking. Gentle stretching, muscle relaxation, and deep breathing can really help.
5) Laugh and smile. Again, you are giving yourself body cues to know it is safe to think happier thoughts. The smile works even if you fake it, and the laughter you can borrow from sitcoms, comedians, or funny books.
You can worry less, it is part of what Jesus wants for you. But he doesn't expect you to white-knuckle your way out of it. It can be learned. It can be practiced. Jesus can help you.
Rev. Jana Quisenberry is the minister at Brightwood Christian Church. She's an ordained pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). A graduate of Transylvania University in Lexington, KY and Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN, She now resides in Mt. Lebanon with her husband, two children, and dog, Sookie. Pastor Jana loves the church, science fiction, and coffee.