This might sound like heresy, but if you’re super anxious, it might be better to start with breathing than with your Bible. I say that because of your amygdala. That almond-shaped thing in your brain appears to be God’s way of keeping you safe from danger. If a roaring lion prowled into your home, your amygdala would trigger your body to fight it or take flight from it. It would reallocate blood from your brain and other organs and send it into your muscles so you could sprint out the door or grab a chair and start swinging. You don’t need to do complex thinking when your life is in danger, right?
However, your amygdala is famous for false alarms. It goes off even when there’s not a lion within 100 miles. A random thought can trigger the same physical responses, which is why worry makes your stomach ache or prevents you from thinking logically. So if your brain is freaking out, I could grab my Bible and try to reason with you, but you’re not ready to reason. That is why the first way to deal with anxiety is to breathe. Deep breathing literally uses your nervous system to tell your amygdala—It’s okay. You’re okay. You’re not running from a lion. You can stop and slow down and think again.
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Remember those famous words. They will help you take a physical step that can lead to spiritual blessings. Breathe. It will help you meditate on the truth that will calm your anxious heart.