5 Things to Do When You’re Anxious or Overwhelmed

When things become too much to handle on your own, what can you do? Our Catholic Faith is a source of peace and comfort, and there are many ways to calm your mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

Marge Fenelon, a Catholic speaker, author, and regular contributor to Morning Air® on Relevant Radio®, shared a list of five things that help her to refocus and find peace when things are spiraling out of control.

Look for inspiration in Scripture. Crack open the Bible at any page and see what God has to tell you. “Wherever my eyes land, that’s where I start reading. And sometimes, the answer starts within a short time. Sometimes it’s actually in those verses … and at other times it really doesn’t seem to connect at all with what I’m struggling with. But I keep reading until I calm down and feel that presence of God,” said Fenelon.

Pray the Rosary. Our Blessed Mother is always there when we’re in trouble and don’t know where to turn. “When I’m really in a mess where I am so stuck, and sometimes I don’t even know what to pray, I don’t know what to say. So basically I sit down with my Rosary and I just say, “Mother come save me” because that’s all I can get out,” explains Fenelon. “And then I pray the Rosary.”

Pray the Chaplet. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is a powerful tool. In her diary, St. Faustina writes that the Lord appeared to her and said, “I am always supporting you so lean on me as you struggle, fearing nothing.” (Paragraph 1488)

Seek silence. Find a soothing place to sit in quiet contemplation, especially in the moments when you’re worried, overwhelmed, or scared. This could be a tranquil spot in your home, in front of a holy image or statue, or better yet, in Eucharistic Adoration. “Just sit and allow God, allow our Lord, allow our Blessed Mother to work on our hearts,” said Fenelon.

Escape. This doesn’t mean you should get on a plane headed for a remote or tropical destination (although that might be tempting). Fenelon says that we should escape from the situation or problem by doing something else for a while. “Change your whole pattern of thinking and struggling and do something physical but physically productive. So you get yourself moving—you’re kind of changing gears,” she explains. It’s a way to remove yourself from a spiral of anxiety and clear your mind and heart. Organize a closet, work on a landscaping project, exercise.

When things get tough, turn to faith but also turn to your family and friends. Reach out to your loved ones and neighbors to check on them as well.

These five tips are not medical advice. If you or someone you love needs help for a mental health struggle, contact your local parish for resources or find a therapist at CatholicTherapists.com.

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