This cocoon is getting a little tight and I’m getting a little restless. I need to stop being so hard on myself, I’m not a caterpillar permanently trapped in preparation mode. Though I’m anxious to break out, maybe I need “one more minute”.
I’ve been feeling a little anxious lately. Upcoming situations beg me to come up with doable plans to deal with it. However, I don’t see myself as a planner; I’m a pantzer (one who flies by the seat of their pants)!
Clearly, information may lead to transformation, but information itself isn’t transformation. Hence, no matter how much information I’ve crammed into my pretty little head, it won’t do a thing for me just rattling around in there, I have to implement it into my daily life.
Today I’m looking at some of the things that make me anxious. I know God doesn’t want me dwelling in anxiety. His Word tells me to be anxious for nothing. (Philippians 4:6) His Word also tells me that in this world I’ll have tribulations. Tribulations can bring anxieties along with them. (John 16:33)
I’m drawn back to being mindful. Though I regularly think of myself as ditzy or scatterbrained, I’m not. Those are just adjectives that catapult me into a negative mindset, or attempt to excuse me from being present and in the moment.
I’ve gleaned many tools to help be become a healthier person at the Metabolic Research Center, where I check in regularly. One of those useful tools is a behavior called “pattern interrupt”. Simply put, interrupting a pattern of destructive behavior, or even those that are just not good for me – such as temptations to eat something unhealthy. Anyone with an addiction can benefit by interrupting his or her addictive behaviors.
Interrupt it with what? A different behavior.
If it’s my habit to stop at Starbucks on my way home, I need to adopt a new routine. But, if it’s an impulse that suddenly strikes me, I can interrupt it by doing something else. As I sit here, now thinking about a Java Chip Frappuccino, a craving could easily mount. I could abandon my laptop and head over to Starbucks, perhaps justifying it by walking over there instead of driving. Yes, it’s that close. If instead, I choose to interrupt that temptation and pick up my weighted hula-hoop and go at it for ten minutes, by then the craving should pass.
I need to have a ready selection of viable options at my disposal. A list of things I can do instead of give in to the impulse. By viable, I mean things I will actually do. I need to find options I can do anywhere. Yes, here at home, I can grab my hula-hoop. But, if I’m driving down the road – what then? Your list will be different from mine, but we can interrupt a temptation easily, if we’re prepared for them and if we notice when they hit us.
For me, dietary temptations generally hit in the late afternoon. This is common. I may be able to avoid them altogether if I have a prepared or readily available snack with me. Maybe not.
Oftentimes, temptations seem to hit us unexpectedly. They’re most likely emotionally triggered, though. Perhaps emotional triggers cause our sugar to drop, or maybe our sugar dropping creates the emotional trigger. We’ll let scientists sort that out.
Again, with the mindfulness; I need to pay attention. I need to notice what’s going on around me and inside of me when irresistible temptations attempt to consume me. I’m in charge, not the temptations.
Here’s my plan.
NOTICE when I’m anxious. I’ve seen that temptations quickly follow.
(Does my sugar dropping create part of that anxiety?)
EXAMINE what I’m feeling – briefly. Allowing my mind to wallow in something stressful won’t do me any good at all; I’d probably end up eating something sugary while I stew over what’s bothering me.
BREATHE. While looking at what has me falling prey to a temptation, I’ll focus on my breathing for a minute or two; breathing deeply and purposefully. That always calms me down noticeably.
ALLOW the pieces to fall in place. Many of life’s stressors are out of our control. Nevertheless, our response is always within our control. The old Serenity Prayer comes into play here.
For me, this will mean confronting thoughts that pull me down and taking ownership of them, choosing whether I allow them to dominate my mind. Mindfully following the instructions in Philippians 4:8: thinking on the good things, will give me power.
When I confront my own thoughts, I need to do it in love or I can wind up mentally beating myself up again for thinking them. Self-love is not selfish.
Lastly, IMPLEMENT my alternative activity. I need to get busy on that list and keep a copy in my phone!
Hmmmm. NEBAI. I need an acronym to remember my plan! Is that even a word? I looked it up. How cool is this? According to several Hebrew dictionaries, nebai means fruitful! So, I greatly anticipate that my strategy will be fruitful. And I’ll pronounce it however I like. The “i” will be silent and I’ll make it rhyme with Reba, my favorite country singer.
Sounds easy enough, want to try it with me?
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God…” – Philippians 4:6 (NKJV)
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me [Jesus] you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (NKJV)