Be still and know that I am God! Psalm 46:10 NLT
In the next few minutes I am going to show you how to crush anxiety, sadness, and regret with the simple act of mindfulness!
The process is so simple most of us complexly miss it.
Do you ever play mental and emotional volleyball with yourself? You try and compete against yourself but never win because you already know your next move?
One of the reasons so many of us struggle with anxiety is this very reason: we invest so much time playing the “What if/If only” game that all we are is tired and worn out at the end of the day.
Have you noticed your own anxiety lately? I know my personal life has been through some twists and turns the past few months. In May, I was an “essential government contractor,” working as an Employee Assistance Consultant for a large Federal Agency. The next month I was unemployed because of the COVID Crisis. So what did I do? I decided to reopen my private practice. I have had to practice what I preach.
If you find yourself struggling with sadness and regret over the past or anxiety about the future, continue to read.
Have you ever heard of “mindfulness?” It has been a hot topic for several years. It is a vital component of personal resilience. Mindfulness is simply being fully alive in the present moment. It means you are not feeling sadness and grief over your past nor feeling overwhelmed with worry and anxiety about the future. It means you are enjoying the presence of God in your life at this very moment.
Here are 5 benefits to practicing mindfulness:
Intentional mindfulness results in reduced depressive symptoms and rumination. Rumination is the persistent and repetitive overplaying of
- Negative emotions
- Past events
- Both the cause and consequence of these emotions
Rumination is often connected to increased depression and anxiety.
People who regularly practice mindfulness have better working memory which allows for improved emotional regulation (self-discipline). In addition, they report an increase in overall optimism.
The benefits of mindfulness will radiate into other areas of life, including our relationships.
There is a growing body of evidence that regular mindfulness practices can improve relationship satisfaction and communication through various paths:
- Improved empathy
- Better conflict resolution
- Better communication of one’s own emotions
- Positively responding to relationship stress.
Spiritual Benefits (Scriptures at the end of this article)
- Assurance of God’s presence (Psalm 18:24)
- Lowering of anxiety (Psalm 118: 24)
- Assurance of forgiveness (Philippians 3:13-14)
- Mindfulness has been around for centuries. Psalm 1 is a beautiful illustration of how mindfulness works.
The benefits of mindfulness also impact our professional lives. For example, the ability to communicate more clearly and respond more effectively to stressful situations can quickly shift from personal to professional contexts.
Those who practice consistent mindfulness usually experience higher job satisfaction and lower job stress.
Practicing mindfulness is an inexpensive way to manage stress, increase self-esteem, and enhance the awareness of God’s work in your life.
With that in mind, let’s look at how to begin or enhance a quiet time that includes mindfulness.
- Set aside time each day to intentionally practice mindfulness. If you already have an established quiet time, this will be pretty easy to do.
- Take 3-4 minutes to breathe through the Lord’s Prayer. Using relaxation breathing, slowly breath, and silently recite the Lord’s Prayer in two to three-word increments. (Matthew 6: 9-15). You are doing two important things when you try this exercise. First, you control your breathing, which will increase the oxytocin levels in your body; these are the relaxing chemicals that your body releases to push back stress. The second thing this exercise does is teaches you to meditate on God’s word.
- End your time with a few moments of gratitude, thanking the Lord for all that He has done, is doing, and will do in your life.
Lord, sometimes it is hard for me to live anywhere but in this moment. Sometimes I am filled with sadness and grief over the past, and other times I am filled with anxiety and worry about the future.
Help me to trust in you, knowing that you have forgiven my past and that you control my future so that I might fully practice your presence in my life today.
Here are the scriptures that I mentioned. Take some time and get to know these verses, when we learn to hide God’s word in our heart it is easier to be mindful, living in the moment that glorifies God and enhances my personal resilience.
Psalm 1: 1-3 (NLT) Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” (NLT)
Philippians 3:13-14 “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,* but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (NLT)
Mathew 6:34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (NLT)
Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (NLT)
Hebrews 13:5 “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,
“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”