Stress & Anxiety, Part 2

In Part 1 of this post, I looked at what was causing my own stress and anxiety, along with some issues that other people have told me they were dealing with too. Today I want to get to the good part: how to manage our stress and anxiety!



In just the few days since the first post in this series went live, nationwide (and worldwide) anxiety has ramped up even more with  the numerous closings and cancellations due to the Coronavirus and the declaration of a national emergency. Most of us are feeling the fear and stress in our families, neighborhoods, and our country as we shelter at home.

God never meant for us to live in a state of chronic stress. But when life today looks drastically different than it did just a few weeks or even days ago, what are we to do? I’d like to suggest a few ways to manage your stress and anxiety that have worked for me; I hope you find some of them work for you as well.

Let’s get started!

How To Manage Stress & Anxiety

The Bible

First of all. the Bible has been my biggest help. Reading and memorizing God’s word continues to encourage, strengthen, heal, and give me hope and comfort. I have gained a lot of encouragement from a new Bible I purchased called The Battlefield of the Mind Bible by Joyce Meyers. It’s the Amplified version, which I have really enjoyed. The battle for peace begins in our minds.

As I have prayed through my anxiety, God has directed me to certain verses that I have memorized. In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Paul tells us that God’s weapon (His word) is divinely powerful to destroy these strongholds in our minds. Ask God to direct you to powerful, comforting scriptures. Write them down, memorize them and recite them often. They will lay a foundation of freedom.

Prayer & Journaling

Taking my concerns to God, listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit, and journaling what I hear have all been a comfort. The journaling has been important because I have a written record of what God has been showing me. I encourage you to give it a try. Use a notebook or online journal to record your thoughts, prayers, scriptures, and ideas that God plants in your mind.

Over time, you’ll develop a storehouse of spiritual treasures that you can review time and again. You’ll be encouraged as you see how God is and has been faithful to you throughout your life.

The Enneagram

Next, learning about the Enneagram has been very helpful to me as I continue to study how to live out of the healthy level of alignment for a 6. I am discovering so much about myself. I encourage you to explore this if you haven’t. What is different about the Enneagram from other personality tests is that it is spiritually based with the goal of healing your weaknesses. You will learn so much about yourself and gain an understanding as to why you make the choices you do.

Joyce Meyer

Another helpful resource for me has been Joyce Meyer. Joyce is a Bible teacher and author. She has a wealth of resources including her podcast and television show called Enjoying Everyday Life. Joyce shows us how our battles are really fought in our minds and how to work through this. I have found her book Battlefield of the Mind (different than the Bible I talk about above) to be extremely helpful. Joyce’s podcast is also filled with spot-on encouraging truth.

Dr. Caroline Leaf

 God has also lead me to the work of the Christian communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf. I am reading her book The Perfect You, and I have purchased and am using her Switch app. The app is pricey, but life changing. Her app and books teach us how to rid ourselves of toxic thinking and the mindsets that hold us back and actually damage our brains. 

One of the things she emphasizes is that ups and downs are part of life and are even to be expected. We will not be happy all the time. Just as nature has seasons, so do our spiritual and emotional lives. When we struggle with our emotions both in our minds and bodies, we need to realize that these are warning signals for our us to acknowledge and explore deeper. We then need to reconceptualize the toxic thought, which will change our perception of it. This is a bit of a process, which she fully explains in her books and on the app. 

Exercise

Exercise is a great stress reliever. Some of my favorite activities are walking and bicycling. I also like professional ballerina Ann Smith’s DVDs, such as Inhale, Exhale, Stretch & Move. Her DVDs are gentle yet effective and perfect for those dealing with arthritis, fibromyalgia, stress, and similar conditions.

I encourage you to get up and move. Exercise releases the “feel good” endorphins and truly helps to relieve stress. Check with your doctor to see if you have any limitations first.

Time in Nature

Psychologists are studying the effect that being outside in nature has on people, and the results are positive. They are finding that as little as two hours a week in nature can have positive effects: “It [being in nature] decreases heart rate, decreases blood pressure, decreases stress cortisol, [and] improves psychological well-being,” says Mathew White, an environmental psychologist at the University of Exeter.

I love being outside. Gardening is one of my favorite activities. Try taking a walk in a park or woods and see if that doesn’t relieve some stress and make you feel more peaceful.

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

Psalm 96:11-12

Aromatherapy

As a certified aromatherapist, I can suggest a few ways to incorporate oils into your life. Before trying essential oils, consult with your doctor regarding any health issues or meds that may be contraindicated when using essential oils and herbs. Also, please use them safely. There is too much misinformation about essential oils. They are powerful, and you need to use them carefully. Don’t ingest them unless under the care of a medical doctor or clinical aromatherapist.

You must be extremely careful using them on/around children. Please read my Essential Oils for Kids: Safety guidelines before using on your children. When you’re ready, check out an article I wrote on 5 Ways To Use Essential Oils for Relaxation on my Botanically Me website.

Herbal Teas

I also love using herbs. Herbs were our first medicines; the Bible is full of references to these healing plants, and they still retain medicinal properties that can be effective today. For example, different herbs have an affinity for certain systems of the body. Some herbs are immune stimulants, some work in the respiratory system, and some are good for the the central nervous system (stress and anxiety), and so on.

One of the easiest ways to use them is by making an herbal tea. I grow many of my own teas in my garden, and my favorite tea to drink fresh from the garden is a blend of Kapoor tulsi (also called holy basil) and lemon balm. It’s an incredible flavor combination and both tulsi and lemon balm are great options for reducing stress.

Now many of you may not have your own fresh herbs to use – especially during the late winter/early spring season. If that’s the case with you, then you can purchase bulk herbs at a health food store or online or buy herbal tea bags from a local store. These days you can find wonderful medicinal teas in almost every store including Walmart, Target, Kroger, Publix, Meijer, and so on. Here are a few favorites to try, all of which are caffeine free:

Herbal Tea Information

If you’d like to experiment with making your own teas, here are a few articles from my Botanically Me website to get you started. Keep in mind that many grocery stores sell fresh prepackaged herbs or potted herb plants in the winter that you could use if you want to experiment with the following resources.

Prayers for You

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Feel free to share you favorite resources in the comments below. Also, I’d love to pray for you and your family, so Leave a message below on what you need prayer for, and I’ll write a prayer in response.

In these turbulent times, please know you are not alone as you struggle with stress and anxiety. God loves you and will tenderly care for you. We are also praying for you. God bless you and your families.

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Note: A few of the links on this page are affiliate links meaning that if you purchase the item, I will receive a small amount of money in return. I only suggest things that I believe in and use myself. Thank you!




Pray About the Coronavirus

At Only By Prayer, today we are praying on our online Facebook page about the Coronavirus. I have included the link below. Simply click on the link below and you will be taken to our Facebook page.

From there, please join in by adding your prayer in the comment section and responding to others’ prayers as the Lord leads you. You can check back throughout the day to add more prayers or read what has been posted. Thank you for praying about the Coronavirus with us.






Stress & Anxiety Attacks, Part 1

I first noticed this past October some vague feelings of stress and anxiety creeping up on me. After ignoring them for a few days, the feelings gained strength to the point where I could no longer deny them. After years of strong faith and peace, to be facing my old nemesis again was an uncomfortable and unexpected place to find myself in.



I struggled to figure out what was wrong with me, and I felt guilty for even feeling this way. On a few particularly bad days, I even dealt with a panic attack. Why was this happening? I’ve worked through times of intense stress in my life before, especially after the death of one of my children, and this certainly couldn’t be as terrible as that time. More than anything, I wanted to feel like my normal, upbeat self again.  I remember asking God, “Could you bring back my peace quickly, please, God, without a lot of angst?” Hmm. Well, here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Stress Factors

As I looked over the last few years, I realized I had more than a few stress factors and uncertainties that had been accumulating in my life.

  • My family had navigated through my mom’s 5-year-long illness.  My sisters and I were fortunate to be able to help my dad care for her in their home with the help of family and other caregivers, but it was a bittersweet time of blessings and constant obstacles, resulting in a long good-bye and a difficult loss. Anyone who has been a caregiver for a loved one understands the challenges and heartbreak.
  • Next, I had been dealing with, or rather not dealing with an ongoing business situation, and I just let it go on and on for months without facing it. Stuffing something is not a healthy way to live. As we all probably know, stuffing something means that it will pop up, and usually not it a good way.
  • Add to that, a lot of uncertainty in my future. My husband recently quit his job, and we are putting in place some serious changes so that he can pursue a dream of bicycling to Alaska. This means that my normal day-to-day life will look very different. It’s a big change as I am taking on lots of new responsibilities.
  • My own personality traits and tendencies. If you know anything about the Enneagram, I am a 6 on the Enneagram. A 6’s core weakness is anxiety. As I reflected on my life, I realized how true this is. Even from my early memories, worry has always been my go-to emotion. God has brought much healing in my life already, but at this season, the stress had piled up and felt overwhelming, and I found myself in an unhealthy cycle of worry.

How About You?

You may find yourself there as well. Over the last few months, I have talked to so many people who are struggling with stress and anxiety. Here are some of the stresses I’ve heard from others:

  • Politics
  • Marital issues
  • Health problems
  • Financial problems
  • Job stresses
  • Addictions
  • Worries about children
  • Fear about the Coronavirus
  • Infertility

Honestly, the list could go on and on. My goal with all this is not to make you feel worse, but to let you know you’re not the only one feeling this way and to give you some resources on how to work through the stress.

Although we will never be able to escape stressful situations in life, we can change how we respond to stress. I’ve made a lot of progress, but will probably always have to be aware of this tendency.

Next Post: Ideas for Managing Stress

I have a list of resources that I have almost finished and will share yet this week in another post. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor of any kind. I am just sharing my own experiences, believing that God will use them to encourage someone else.

Please know that I would be happy to pray for you if you leave me a comment so that I can respond back. If you sign up for my mailing list, you will get an email when the next blog is released.

May God bless and heal you as you work through stress and anxiety issues! I’ll leave you with this favorite scripture from Lamentations 3:22-24 AMP to meditate on:

It is because of the Lord’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, Because His [tender] compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion and my inheritance, says my soul; Therefore I have hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.’

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Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday marks the start of the season of Lent on the Christian calendar. Lent is the time when believers prepare our hearts for the coming of Easter; it’s the time for reflecting on the sacrifice that Jesus made for each one of us when He went to the cross. We can do this in several ways:



  • Prayer
  • Repentance
  • Practice of spiritual disciplines
  • Attending services
  • Denying ourselves something (such as giving up a favorite food)

Let’s Humble Ourselves

On this first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, we humble ourselves before God. Some faiths remind us of this by placing ashes on their congregants’ foreheads with the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

In that spirit, we’d like to revisit a post we wrote previously to help you start Lent in a humble, reflective manner. Here is the link to the Ash Wednesday pdf:

Ash Wednesday

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below, and we pray you and your loved ones have a blessed start to this season of Lent!




Christmas Past and Present

Memories of Christmases past shimmer in my mind. 

  • My sisters and I sneaking out of bed and tiptoeing down creaky stairs, anxious for our first glimpse of the Christmas tree.
  • Baking and frosting Christmas cookies.
  • Waiting my turn to open the next door on the Avent calendar.
  • The scent of incense wafting in the air at Christmas Eve mass.
  • Visiting Grandma and Grandpa and Uncles Dave and Bill on Christmas afternoon.
  • Holiday singalongs with my huge extended family. Laughter and love float around the room, like angels’ wings.
  • Grandma and Grandpa Herrmann singing Silent Night in German.
  • The Hallelujah chorus ringing through the auditorium and echoing in my heart.
  • My husband noisily putting together a bunk bed on Christmas Eve.
  • My own little children excitedly bounding up the stairs on Christmas morning, a bundle of laughter and energy.



The older I get, the more I reflect on those times, those people who are no longer with us, or, like my children, who have grown up to establish their own families and traditions. Intertwined in the memories is a sadness for what has changed. 

I Miss …

I miss my mom, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents who are no longer with us. I miss those shared celebrations of laughter and love. I miss my children as little ones, carefully holding our candles together in the Christmas Eve service. I miss seeing them race up the stairs on Christmas morning. 

These are precious memories, part of the fabric of who I am. 

Yet, It’s Time To Move On

But I realize God doesn’t intend for me to dwell in my Christmases past (or my life past) because if I do that, I will miss my Christmas present, the present life that is waiting to be discovered and lived now — and shared with the next generation. 

This quote by Joyce Meyer puts it in perspective for me:

We often spend our mental time in the past or in the future, instead of living in the moment we have now. When we don’t truly give ourselves to what we are doing at the moment, we become prone to anxiety. If we live in the now, we will find the Lord there with us.

Joyce Meyer Battlefield of the Mind Bible, p. 814

If I’m honest, I was spending too much time wishing that this Christmas, this season of life looked more like some past ones. But that cannot be. It should not be. God has given us this Christmas present, this life present and has promised us His presence now. After all, He is called the Great I AM. Not the great I was.

We are to rejoice in Him for who He is, for the amazing gift of heaven intersecting earth through Jesus’ miraculous birth — to be celebrated in our current season of life.  If we just let Him, He will make every season of our lives purposeful and filled with His presence. It is the miracle of Emmanuel, God With Us.

Merry Christmas!

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