Some days simple distraction, a walk or mindful breathing capably arrests my anxiety. On other days I feel more like a prisoner in need of a serious jailbreak. On one such day recently, enlisting the help of the CALM Technique, I moved more easily towards taming my anxiety.
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
anxiety in charge
Well managed through daily quiet times, scripture memory and regular mindfulness practice, my occasional anxiety seldom sentences me to the dungeon of despair any longer. But as my recent bout with overwhelm reminded me, anxiety proves a formidable foe taking charge when I least expect it.
Taming anxiety proves much easier when I stay alert to how it feels in my body and catch it when the first symptoms surface.
Noticing negative thought patterns like overthinking, “what if” questioning and fearful rumination also keeps anxiety from grasping the upper hand. When anxiety takes control of my life, it creates a cycle of emotional unrest and physical distress which shifts my focus from God in charge to anxiety in charge.
an effective tool for the enemy
Anxiety, as an intense emotion causes distinct mental and physical symptoms, but is not sinful. Actions generated, however by anxiety often lead us into sinful habits.
The enemy of our souls, ceases not night or day in his efforts at distancing us from God, discrediting God or luring us into sin. In the hand of the enemy, anxiety proves not only an effective tool, but a powerful one.
Satan induces fear through anxiety, moving you away from trusting God; distracting you instead with finding your own solution.
Rather than casting your anxiety on God, (1 Peter 5:7) you look anywhere but to God for relief, keeping you a prisoner of fear, doubt and uncertainty. While the sober warning regarding satan’s devices in 1 Peter 5:8 applies to all temptations, we do well in heeding Peter’s admonition about anxiety in verse 7 in direct connection to verse 8.
Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.1 Peter 5:7-8
taming anxiety with the CALM Technique
At times, in the midst of anxiety, we cry with the Psalmist, “So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.” (Psalm 143:4) Anxiety creates disorientation and exhaustion, because we see no clear way out.
When my regular techniques for taming anxiety fail in settling my heart before God providing the peace I need, I turn to the CALM Technique. An easy, effective tool for stopping the anxiety cycle, the CALM Technique provides relief from endless rumination and fearful prognostication.
Practice the CALM Technique anywhere: secure a quiet uninterrupted spot, in your home, office, outside or even in your car! Take a few moments with mindful breathing: simply inhale for a count of four and exhale for a count of eight.
Grab my Calming Techniques Guide at the end of my article for more breathing techniques and exercises for calming anxiety.
Once you feel ready, begin moving through the four steps of the CALM Technique.
- Call out to God. Begin with a simple declaration of your need for help and rescue. By turning your eyes upon God in a moment of anxiety you instantly break anxiety’s hold on your mind and heart. (Jeremiah 33:3, Psalm 17:6) When you call unto God He promises to hear, answer and rescue you.
- Ask for God’s help. Simply request help with your situation without drama or dictating expected outcomes to God. Remember God is your help, and denies His children no good thing. (Philippians 4:6, Psalm 121:1-2)
- Listen for God’s instruction. Sit patiently and quietly, breathe deeply and slowly. Resist restlessness or impatience for God’s answer. Simply wait on Him for instruction on the next step. Listen for scripture He may bring to mind, a song or even a person. Trust Him in this moment to speak to you. (Psalm 143:8, Habakkuk 2:1)
- Meditate on scripture and God’s past faithfulness. As you sit in God’s Presence, meditate on scripture you memorized or look up scripture the Holy Spirit brings to mind on the Bible App or in your Bible. When your problem comes to mind, simply turn your thoughts to the scripture, remembering God’s past faithflness and let the troubling thoughts go. (Psalm 77:10-12, Psalm 143:5)
Close out your time with a prayer of gratitude and surrender. Thank God for hearing, answering and guiding you through your anxiety to His perfect plan. Act on anything He revealed to you during your time.
taming anxiety involves surrender
Using the CALM Technique for taming anxiety, helps you refocus on the true source of help, provision and rescue in God. The enemy loves using anxiety in your life because of the tremendous power it wields for fear, distraction and undermining your trust in God.
As long as anxiety keeps you focused on your problem; fear and overwhelm drag you deeper into the mire of doubt and hopelessness.
Shifting your focus even a tiny amount towards God weakens anxiety’s grip, instilling hope for a way out. The CALM Technique gently postures you in a place of surrender to your gracious Heavenly Father who not only rescues you, but works all things together for your good.
As my gift to you, I made an infographic with the steps of the CALM Technique for you to print and keep below.
If you would like more mindful breathing techniques or relaxation exercises, sign up for my FREE Calming Techniques Guide below!