Tag Archives: anxiety

Keeping a Blessings Journal

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“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”(Philippians 4:8, KJV)

Many times in the Old and New Testaments God urges (and sometimes commands, as in Joshua 4:5-7) us to remember His blessings and what He has done. King David had many low moments, but came out of them by remembering God’s mercies and blessings to him and Israel. Remembering how God acted in the past gave David renewed faith and courage for the challenges ahead.

Some years ago I began keeping a blessings journal. I bought a 4″x6″ notebook and recorded blessings—like the time I was driving and almost caused an accident (the “almost” is the blessing part), the time I was standing outside a local store, waiting to cross the road, when I felt something brush the back of my leg. I thought it was a bug. Instead, it was the tail fin of a 1960’s-era car! I could have been run over! But I wasn’t hurt at all. I wrote about other events that “almost” happened and would have been disastrous, but they didn’t happen—blessings to me.

I wrote about things that did happen, like getting together with friends. Just last fall two of my friends and I went to a nature reserve and walked on one of the trails. We meandered around, listening to the birds, watching the fish in the pond, and enjoying each other’s company. Then we went to a restaurant to eat. My friends didn’t realize it, but that day was the day before my birthday. I knew I’d be working on my birthday, so I hadn’t planned anything, but just being with my friends was celebration enough.

I keep my little journal in my purse. I look at it when I have a few spare moments—on break at work, or even right before I go to bed. It reminds me of the many times God has blessed me. Taking just a few minutes to reflect on God’s goodness to me helps me combat worry and anxiety. God does not change; He has helped me before, He can help me again.

Resources: Psalm 63 and Psalm 142, among the many psalms David wrote, are especially timely.

©P. Booher

 

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–How to Live in Fear–Mastering the Art of Freaking Out

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

I first came across How to Live in Fear–Mastering the Art of Freaking Out in a Christian bookstore. I thought that was a little strange, with a title like that. “Fear” and “Christian”  don’t go together. But the longer I leafed through the pages, the more I realized the title fit perfectly with the theme: being able to live with faith in God while having anxiety/panic attacks.

Pastor Lance Hahn has experienced severe anxiety attacks since boyhood. For a few years the attacks left, then they came roaring back into his life. He describes what it’s like to be a Christian, and the senior pastor of a large church–a pastor who suffers from panic attacks. Continue reading

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–The Perfectionist’s Handbook

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

The Perfectionist’s Handbook, subtitled Take Risks, Invite Criticism, and Make the Most of Your Mistakes by Jeff Szymanski, PhD, a self-described perfectionist and clinical psychologist specializing in anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), is mainly for people who think their perfectionism generally works well for them, but want to know  when it may drift into unhealthy territory, and how to cope with any tendencies perfectionism brings that they don’t want to have.

Dr. Szymanski describes differences between “healthy” and “unhealthy” perfectionism. He gives the pros and the cons of perfectionism. When serving the person, perfectionism can be good, but taken to the extreme, this mindset can quickly become the master of the person, resulting in serious problems.

I like the way the author uses stories from his life to illustrate what he means. He never “talks down” to the reader. He does refer to a lot of studies, which to this layperson, grew tiresome to read. However, it shows he did his research.

To me, the author generally takes an optimistic view of perfectionism. For differing views of perfectionism, check out How to be an Imperfectionist by Stephen Guise and the BBC Future article, “The dangerous downsides of perfectionism” http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180219-toxic-perfectionism-is-on-the-rise). The article links the mindset to OCD, anxiety, self-mutilation, depression, and other problems, with the worst being early mortality and suicide.

As a person realizing the damage I allowed perfectionism to do, I didn’t find The Perfectionist’s Handbook as helpful as I thought it would be.  For my part, I see perfectionism as an enemy; it brings on low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Striving for excellence is good; beating myself up when I don’t reach my standards is not.

©P. Booher

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