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Calming Skills

Feeling anxious? Want to learn calming skills? Not sure what to do? Anxiety can be a very miserable experience because of the physical process that goes along with it. Keep reading to learn why what you might have tried before doesn’t work and what can work.

What Does Not Work and Why

Often we think we need to solve the problem creating fear and anxiety to calm our fear and anxiety. This is a problem for several reasons:

  1. Focusing on the problem or your body’s response to this problem grows the fear and anxiety. Especially if the problem is out of your power and control to solve.
  2. When your sympathetic nervous system is activated and preparing for fight or flight, you lose the ability to think rationally and calmly. As a result, finding solutions or shifting your focus to solvable problems becomes challenging.

What Does Work

So what do you need when your body is escalating in energy? You need to slow it down. Then, your mind and emotions will follow and you will be able to think more logically. The first indications of anxiety will be found not in your mind but in your body. Therefore, learning calming skills designed to slow down your body is the fastest way to calm your emotions and mind. Below you will find calming skills videos that help you learn how to do this through a variety of skills that focus on helping your physical body slow down.

Slow Your Breathing to Calm Your Body

Calm with Breathing

When your body is #anxious, your nervous system is gaining energy and moving into fight or flight. Learning to do things to slow down your body is the FASTEST way to #calm your emotions and mind. Today we are going to talk about how to slow down your body by slowing down your breathing. Step 1: take a long slow deep inhale for a count of 4 (visualize you are inflating a ballon in your stomach). Step 2: hold your breath for a count of 4. Step 3: Exhale firm and hard for a count of 6. REPEAT. Do this for at least 5 minutes and more if needed.

Posted by Counseling 4 Hope on Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Calming Skill: Slowing your breathing.
In this video, I share how to slow down your body by slowing down your breathing.
Step 1: take a long slow deep inhale for a count of 4 (visualize you are inflating a ballon in your stomach).
Step 2: hold your breath for a count of 4.
Step 3: Exhale firm and hard for a count of 6.
REPEAT.
Do this for at least 5 minutes and more if needed.

Add Visualization to Breathing to Help Calm

How to Add Visualization to Breathing

Today's video focuses on enriching breathing by adding visualization. Many find this to be extremely helpful. I will walk you through how to do it and let you practice it. Post your favorite emoji below if you find it helpful. Also, I'd love to know what you are doing to help yourself survive this time. I'm finding music to be extra good for my soul right now. Plus connecting with family/friends by text, phone, or message. How are you surviving?? Post a comment below. #anxiety

Posted by Counseling 4 Hope on Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Calming Skill: visualization.
This video focuses on enriching breathing by adding visualization.
Many find this to be extremely helpful.
I will walk you through how to do it and let you practice it.
Body Scan Calming Technique

Today's video is a skill that helps us tune in better to our emotions by paying closer attention to where they show up in our body. Take a minute to scan your body to see where the emotion is. Watch the video to see how to shift your physical and emotional experience with this skill. #anxiety #calm

Posted by Counseling 4 Hope on Thursday, March 26, 2020
Calming Skill: body scan
This video teaches a skill that helps us tune in better to our emotions
by paying closer attention to where they show up in our body.
Take a minute to scan your body to see where the emotion is.
Watch the video to see how to shift your physical and emotional experience with this skill.

Want to read more on anxiety? Check out my other blogs. Live in Texas and want to work with me? Click on the right to schedule a new client phone consultation and send me an email.

Permanent link to this article: https://counseling4hope.com/calming-skills/

Video Blog: Anxiety and Philippians 4, Reading it Differently

This week I am trying something new…a video blog….and now apparently a YouTube channel. Yikes! Not sure about this. It feels super vulnerable but I’m hoping it is a new way to share helpful content with you guys.

Anxiety is something we all face and I am sure you’ve heard Philippians 4:6 and maybe you even get irritated with that verse because it is asking you to do something that seems impossible. How can I really be anxious for nothing?? I want to challenge us to look at this scripture with new eyes as we start in verse 4 to get the full context.

What stood out to me the most as I was talking was how God does this work in us of reducing our anxiety….it’s not from us…it’s from Him. Now that is good news.

Things I have learned already about video blogging: landscape mode is best!! Oh well, one take and here it is. Please feel free to leave comments or direct message me on topics you would like to see covered.

I’ve attached the scripture (with my notes) below!!

Originally posted on my YouTube Channel: Counseling4Hope

Anxiety and Philippians 4

Permanent link to this article: https://counseling4hope.com/philippians4/

How to Get the Most Out of Counseling

How to Get The Most Out of CounselingCounseling is an investment. It’s an investment in you. An investment in the healing of present and past pain so it doesn’t continue to impact you in the same way.

Counseling is an investment. It's an investment in you. Click To Tweet

Counseling isn’t just another person to talk to but sitting with a highly trained person who is skilled to be fully present with you, fully attuned to what you say (verbally and non-verbally), and trained to see connections and patterns that you can’t see. This just scratches the surface of what a counselor does and doesn’t cover the hours of research or prep that they do for each client they see.

Counseling isn't just a person to talk to but a person trained to be fully present with you Click To Tweet

Since counseling is a big investment, you want to get the most out of the time (and money) you spend in therapy. Here are some suggestions about making the most out of counseling.

Since counseling is a big investment, you want to get the most out of the time (and money). Click To Tweet

Take the time to choose the right therapist.  The research suggests that one of the greatest factors that contribute to therapeutic success is the relationship or rapport between the counselor and the client. Now that’s a fancy way of saying, you need to click with your therapist and feel safe and comfortable with them. This means that if you take the time to call and speak with different counselors on the phone, ask them questions about their approach, tell them what you are looking for, and see who you feel most comfortable with….you will improve your chances of success in therapy!!! Who you choose as a counselor matters

Who you choose as a counselor matters. Click To Tweet

Know what you are looking to gain. Know what you are looking for. Are you looking to reduce anxiety, heal a past hurt, mend a relationship? Whatever it is, have some idea. This gives both you and your counselor a goal to work towards. Now you very well may find other goals along the journey. This happens frequently. Having an initial idea of what you are looking for, makes it easier to measure progress.

Be ready. Most of us want change but not all of us are ready for it. We may be scared of change or doubt it is even possible. I know it is scary to consider a change. But if you are looking for life to be different, what do you have to lose? Readiness to change is a combination of both openness and willingness. Open to go down whatever road the healing journey takes you and willing to do the work necessary to create change.

Readiness to change is a combination of both openness and willingness. Click To Tweet

Be honest with your counselor, what do you have to lose? Counselors are an interesting breed of people. They aren’t shocked or surprised by hurt, trauma, and pain. They don’t judge. They want you to feel safe to share your deepest pain and secrets. They are bound by confidentiality and won’t share it with anyone. Why not be completely open and honest with them about what is really going on? If you aren’t, you will delay your healing and lengthen the amount of time you are in therapy.

Be open to try what the counselor suggests both in session and out of session. Counselors spend a lot of time researching interventions that will help their clients on their healing journey. Interventions may be homework, letter writing, breathing skills, calming skills, journaling, art therapy, education, or experiential in session interventionsThey may ask you to talk with an empty chair or close your eyes and visualize something. Whatever it is they ask you to do, I promise you, it is to benefit your healing journey. So be all in.

Don’t try to rush the process. Counseling isn’t a quick, instant fix. It takes time to build the relationship, time for patterns to emerge and time for interventions to done and processed. Gaining insight and healing wounds takes time and isn’t a linear process but more of an up and down journey. So, don’t be in such a hurry that you don’t allow yourself the time to really sit with new insights and let them deepen.

Build momentum. Counseling works by the momentum of meeting weekly. Insights are processed over the course of a week and built upon during the next session. If you don’t meet weekly with your therapist then the momentum slows down and the process takes longer. Sometimes the process loses it’s effectiveness because of the loss of momentum. My goal with my clients is to meet weekly, build momentum and the relationship, until it becomes therapeutically beneficial to take more time between sessions. Meaning, I want to work myself out of a job and am constantly assessing where I am with each client. Weekly momentum makes a huge impact on the time it takes to reach counseling goals.

Be open to talking about the counseling relationship with your counselor. If you are uncomfortable or have any concerns about the relationship with your counselor bring it into session. You will notice that a lot of counselors automatically do this and are attuned to your shifts. Discussing the  relationship in session is a big part of the counseling process. If you are reacting to a counselor in a certain way, you’re  probably  reacting to someone in your life that way as well. Process it with your counselor so you can better understand you. Not sure that you are making progress or clicking with your counselor? Ask, talk about it. We’re trained to talk about the relationship and are completely okay with it!!

Take note of insights you gain during the process. Counseling generates a lot of insight.Therefore,  I would encourage you to write your insights down. You could take note of them in session, right after session, during the week as you reflect on the session, or all of the above. Insights are powerful and help us mentally shift and change. Taking note of them will help solidify the insights.

Counseling is a valuable investment anytime you find yourself stuck and struggling in life, especially if you’ve had a complicated and painful life story. You may spend a season of time in counseling that changes your quality of life for the present and the future. Just take a minute to really think about that!!  If you decide counseling would benefit you and live in the McKinney, Texas area, reach out and schedule a free phone consultation. If you don’t live close, I hope these tips help you make the most of your counseling journey. God doesn’t want you to live broken, ashamed, and stuck.

God doesn't want you to live broken, ashamed, and stuck. Click To Tweet

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Still not sure if the counseling investment is one you are ready to make? Click the image below to read a great article by my friend and colleague Allison Hutson, LPC-Intern supervised by David Dickerson, LPC-S.

Why Do Therapist Charge So Much

 

Permanent link to this article: https://counseling4hope.com/get-the-most-out-of-counseling/

Seeing a Counselor/Therapist? What’s Wrong with You?

counselor/therapist investment in youYou’re seeing a counselor/therapist? What’s wrong with you? I think this is the automatic thought most people have when we find out someone is seeing a counselor/therapist. Frequently this thought is accompanied by judgment. For those who decide to seek counseling, the shame and fear that comes with that predominant thought may contribute to many choosing to avoid or delay getting help. This breaks my heart because I spend time with really good counselors and the help available out there is amazing. So in this blog, I want to spend some time challenging the counseling/therapy stigma.

Let me ask you a question. If you have something wrong with your car and you can’t fix it yourself would you feel shame and guilt for needing to take it in to the repair shop?

Of course not. You have limited knowledge about cars (and a lot of other things) so you go to someone with more knowledge about that subject and pay them help you solve your car problem.

Now let’s say you are struggling with overwhelming stress and fear. So much so that it is beginning to impact your ability to function in life or maybe even leave your home. Telling yourself to get over it hasn’t worked and you really aren’t sure what to do next. You’ve talked to your friends and family but they don’t know how to help you either.

What if I told you that is one of the areas I specialize in. I help people understand how anxiety impacts the body, learn coping tools to calm the body, look for what is underneath the anxiety and deal with that.

A counselor/therapist is trained to do the following:

Normalize: Everyone that comes in struggles with very normal life issues

Not Crazy but Normal

Educate: Knowing what and why things are happening

Listen and ask the right questions: There is great power in being really listened to and understood

Teach new coping skills: Learning new tools to deal with life’s challenges

Look at root causes: Figuring out what went wrong and healing, growing, or changing.

Facilitate a safe place to heal and grow. This is the ultimate safe relationship to explore who you are and who you want to be.

People seek counseling/therapy not because they are crazy but because they are dealing with hard life circumstances, thoughts, emotions, and relationships. They recognize they need more knowledge and insight to solve whatever problem they are experiencing. The good news is there is so much hope for those who do seek help. It’s not a weak person that seeks therapy but someone who is:

Brave

Strong

Growth Minded

A Hope Seeker

Wise

It’s not a weak person that seeks therapy but the brave. Click To Tweet

Now, I want to speak to the Christian crowd for a minute. There is a group of believers that do not believe in counseling/therapy. They feel that only prayer and scripture can solve life’s problems. I strongly value prayer and studying God’s word. Yet we don’t apply that line of thinking to any other profession. We wouldn’t refuse to go to a doctor and just pray. No, when a loved one is sick we go to professionally trained person to find healing. Why would we discourage others from finding help with the brokenness that we as believers know is a part of this world? We, as believers, know that the world is broken and people are impacted by that brokenness. Brokenness and sin’s impact is everywhere and sometimes its effects are so impactful that it’s normal to need support and help to deal with it.

I felt a specific call by God to counsel. I pray over my counseling room before I see clients and invite God into the session. I am a theology nerd and spend a lot of time learning and studying, theology and psychology. I believe that since God designed the world and humans, that true and honest scientific/psychological/sociological studies will validate and give us insight into what God has designed and laid out in scripture.

I am honored to do what I do. It is a gift to sit and walk with those struggling. It is exciting to see people grow, change, and heal. It’s amazing to be a part of God’s work of pushing back darkness and lies. I pray that if you are considering counseling, you will reach out, talk to a counselor on the phone, ask questions, and find someone you feel comfortable working with. 

“True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know.” Confucius

“True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know.” Confucius Click To Tweet

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates Click To Tweet

“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight than silver.” Proverbs 16:16

“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight than silver.” Proverbs 16:16 Click To Tweet

“A person’s thoughts are like water in a deep well, but someone with insight can draw them out.” Proverbs 19:5

“A person’s thoughts are like deep water but someone with insight can draw them out.” Prov. 19:5 Click To Tweet

Permanent link to this article: https://counseling4hope.com/counselor-therapist-stigma/

5 Anxiety Management Tips

anxiety management tipsSeeking anxiety management tips that really work? Tired of struggling? Worn-out and exhausted by anxiety and stress? Want something different? We all struggle with anxiety and stress on some level. Yet, some of us experience it at more intense levels. These anxiety management tips are the most frequent things I teach in my counseling practice. I’m going to give them to you for FREE! So take a deep breath, get comfortable, relax, and keep reading.

Anxiety is a powerful emotion that can develop into a vicious cycle.  It may start for one reason but the cycle can continue for different reasons.  See my previous post on anxiety to understand how this cycle starts and continues.

anxiety cycleNow, understanding anxiety is helpful but what someone struggling with anxiety really needs is in the moment help!  When in the midst of anxiety, the natural response is to escape NOW whatever situation you’ve decided is causing this response.  Unfortunately, this  can lead to increased anxiety either now or in the future.


Aaaah! So what can you do?  What does the Bible say?  What does the research say?  Is there hope?

YES!  There is HOPE for those brave people willing to try something different.  Let me tell you, I am serious about the word brave!  It takes incredible bravery to face any kind of fear head on and I am humbled by those I’ve seen take these steps.  To me, you are a real hero!  

It takes incredible bravery to face any kind of fear head on! Click To Tweet

Below are methods for dealing with anxiety that I teach in my counseling practice. These are proven techniques that are both psychologically and Biblically sound. 

5 Anxiety Management Tips

  1. Accept the anxiety. Stay with me…I know it sounds crazy but give yourself permission to experience the anxiety. Instead of trying to distract or get rid of the anxiety…acknowledge it…expect it. This emotion is trying to speak to you. What is it saying? This turns the tables on the anxious experience. Instead of anxiety being the uninvited guest barges in your house, it becomes the welcomed messenger.Instead of trying to distract or get rid of the anxiety...acknowledge it...expect it. Click To Tweet
  2. anxiety management tipsCalm the physical body:  The physical response to anxiety is so overwhelming that it’s extremely scary.  Fear is a physical experience because our body is preparing to fight or run. That is a natural and normal response to fear. When we experience fear:  all the blood in our body moves to our legs, our breathing and heart rate increase, and certain hormones are released. This all happens to protect us but often in our culture, we don’t need to run or fight. So how can we short circuit this physical cycle? With deep slow breathing. Take a deep slow breath in (count to 4)….Hold (count to 4)…Breathe out slow (count to 4). Repeat as many times as needed, till the anxiety comes down. Pay attention to your breath…imagine you are breathing in calm and breathing out fear. Practice this type of breathing when you are not anxious so it is easier to do in the midst of panic. Scripture tells us we have the power to calm ourselves in the face of fear.  “I have made myself calm and content like a young child in its mother’s arms. Deep down inside me, I am as content as a young child…put your hope in the Lord both now and forever.” Psalm 131:2-3How can we short circuit the body's response to anxiety? With deep slow breathing Click To Tweet
  3. Focus on the Present Moment:  This just means being fully present in the current moment.  So much of our worry and fear is focused around something that happened in the past or what might happen in the future.anxiety management tipsThe present moment is all we really have power over. Focusing on the present moment brings us into a space we have power in and it focuses our mind. The psychological term is mindfulness.For the Christian, this has two parts:Being fully present with yourself in the current moment.  This involves taking the focus off of your anxiety/fear and placing it onto the observable world around you.  Using your senses, evaluate what you hear, see, taste, touch, or smell.  Start describing you immediate present moment.  Name 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you touch, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste. Sometimes just observing the world with our senses can bring mental calm.  When Jesus deals with his disciple’s anxiety, He points out what He observes in the present moment around them.So much of our worry and fear is focused around the past or what might happen in the future. Click To Tweet

    Observing the world with our senses can bring mental calm.   Click To Tweet

    “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?   Matthew 6: 25-30

    Being fully present in the current moment with God.  God is always with you no matter your experience.  Remembering that in the middle of panic is one of the ways the Bible instructs us to handle the difficult situations we encounter.  Jesus reminds his disciples of this in Matthew 6.  God calls us continually to come to Him for REST.

    God is always with you no matter your experience. Click To Tweet

    Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Matthew 6: 31-34

    “Be still, and know that I am God.”   Psalm 46:9

    “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him, fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices.”  Psalm 37:7

    You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.  Isaiah 46:8

    Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28

    “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

    You can read more about mindfulness, here.

  4.  Challenge anxious thoughts:  Thoughts are powerful and most of us believe whatever we think.  In addition, we develop thinking habits over time.  Do any of these habits sound familiar to you:

    Negative thinking

    Jumping to conclusions

    Predicting an outcome

    Comparing yourself to others

    Reading other people’s minds

    Critical internal voice

    Catastrophizing

    Harsh judgments of self and others

    Thoughts are powerful and most of us believe whatever we think. Click To Tweet

    If you identify with any of these thinking patterns (and let’s be honest, we all do this on some level) then let’s start here.  You may anxiety management tipsnot even realize that those thoughts are leading to anxiety….but it is! That is why anxiety must be accepted and listened to. It is telling you that something is off…often what’s off is our thinking. Learning how to challenge our thoughts and change our internal dialogue will dramatically change our experience.  

    But how?  Start by:  1) Giving yourself permission to question your thoughts 2)Journal your thoughts, 3) Question whether your thoughts are true  or balanced, and 4) Consider alternative self-compassionate thoughts.  If you struggle with this, find a good counselor who can help you.

    Scripture tells us to:

    Pay attention to our thoughts:  “For as a man thinks within himself, so is he” Proverbs 23:7

    Renew our mind.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2  

    Evaluate  and recognize truthful and beneficial thoughts.  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32  “Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things.”  Philippians 4:8

    Read more about challenging your thoughts here.

  5. Look at your heart:  What we are anxious about reveals what we value and treasure.  I know that’s tough to hear but it’s truth.  Matthew 6:21 tells us that “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Jesus tells people this right before he instructs them not to worry.  Our worry reveals what we value.  For some people, it is safety, for others control, for some it’s how they perform, and for others it’s the image others have of them.Worry reveals what we value. Click To TweetWhat is deep behind your fear?  What are you placing at higher value than God?  Do you really trust that God is good?God is enough. God is in control.  God is good.  God is at work. God can be trusted. Your identity is settled.anxiety management tips“My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.”  Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!  My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,  “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3: 18-24

Cling to GRACE:  All of the above things will help you manage and deal with your anxiety.  After some consistent work, you will start to see your anxiety reactions decrease.  However, anxiety may still sneak up on you.  None of us are perfect nor will we achieve that status till God makes all things new.  You know what is awesome?  “There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)  and your perfect record before God as a Christian is the sin free life of Jesus! Cling to that grace! Take a deep breath and start again!  There is always hope!

Your perfect record before God as a Christian is the sin-free life of Jesus. Click To Tweet

Don’t be afraid.  Don’t give up.  The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty enough to save you.  He will take great delight in you.  The quietness of his love will calm you down.  He will sing with joy because of you.”  Zephaniah 3:16-17

If you like what you read, please comment below or share on social media. ❤️

Permanent link to this article: https://counseling4hope.com/anxiety-management-tips/

Help! My Thoughts Won’t Stop!!

As a counselor, one of the common things people struggle with are what I call spinning or out of control thoughts.  The psychological term for this is rumination and we all struggle with this.  Usually we ruminate about a fear or worry.  We are worried and afraid, so we continually think about it to try and solve it or fix it.  Often we are trying to think our way out of a feeling!

Mindfulness is very big in psychology right now and has proven very helpful with rumination.  Mindfulness has personally helped a lot of clients.

Mindfulness Overview

Mindfulness has to do with the quality of awareness that we bring to what we are doing and experiencing, to being in the here and now.  It has to do with learning to focus on being in the present, to focusing our attention on what we are doing and what is happening in the present. We have to learn to control our attention. Many of us are distracted by images, thoughts and feelings of the past, perhaps dissociating, worrying about the future, negative moods and anxieties about the present.   It’s hard to put these things away and concentrate on the task at hand.

So the One-mindfulness skill is an effort to help us focus our attention on the here and now, to be able to absorb the DBT information and take part in the present. Please do not judge yourselves about this. This can be a difficult skill for people to learn. It requires lots of practice and willingness. Be patient with yourself.”

From DBT Self Help

Mindfulness is a Biblical Idea.  Although, these concepts are fairly new to psychology, the principles and concepts are found in scripture.

  • Be Fully Present in the Current Moment with God
    • “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:9
    • “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him, fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices” Psalm 37:7
    • “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 46:8
  • In the present moment, notice how God cares for the world around you and for you in very practical ways! God wants our focus to be in the present of today’s moments!
    • “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,  yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6: 25-34
    • When Jesus deals with his disciple’s anxiety, He points out what He observes in the present moment around them. Look at the birds, consider the flowers. Sometimes, just simply observing the world with our senses (smell, taste, touch, sight) can bring mental calm. If nothing else, counting your breaths and slowing them can bring physical calm. Jesus keeps them in the present moment by telling them to only focus on today.
  • Christian Mindfulness is Rest for your soul! In emotional distress, the Bible indicates that God wants us to come to Him and find rest. What specific activities keep you in the present moment with Jesus and give you rest?
    • “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28
    • “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
  • Don’t assume your judgment of your thoughts or feelings is truth (just observe your thoughts or feelings without judgment in the moment). Observe the thought and test it against God’s Word
    • Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. Proverbs 28:26
    • “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
    • “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Mindfulness Examples

Mindfulness involves:

Awareness: What is going on around me, what do I see, what do I smell, what do I taste, how do things feel as I touch them?

Nonjudgmental View of Thoughts: Thoughts or feelings aren’t bad or good, normal or abnormal. They are  just thoughts and feelings.  They flow in and out like water.

Staying in the Moment: This may be the hardest part for those that focus on the past or worry about the future.

Takes Practice: This takes practice during non-emotional times so that it becomes easier to do during emotionally overwhelming times. Practice staying in the moment and observing what you notice with your senses during showers, brushing teeth, or during daily chores. Click Here for samples of mindfulness exercises.

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rest and hope in God

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