How to Refocus a Worried Mind

A scattered or worried mind impedes us whenever or wherever it wants. It’s difficult to refocus a worried mind when thoughts swirl, jump, and invade. The what-ifs, worst case scenarios, whys, and why nots slowly or suddenly overtake our mind and impair our actions. It doesn’t matter when or what: sleep, work, being present, or having fun. What’s needed is a way to refocus, tame those swirling worries and pay attention to what matters. It all begins with letting go.

When our mind is threatening to spin us dizzy, the best practice is not to control it, but let go. It seems counterproductive, but these simple yet impactful ways to refocus a worried mind work. Let’s start with what is most important.

  1. Remember Who’s in control. (Hint: it’s not us.) When we shift our focus from trying to control and remember God is in control, suddenly the next step seems clear. We may not be able to control a situation, but He can. So, let’s take it to Him; not fret, worry, or contemplate all the various what-if scenarios again. Simply let go and release our white knuckle grip to Him (who really had it all along). This act of letting go and giving our swirling worries to God brings such peace. When experienced, it makes us wonder why we worry in the first place. Worry is a bad habit but can easily turn into a better habit of prayer. My mantra in these situations is don’t worry; just pray.  This leads us to step two…
  2. Cast your cares.  God doesn’t need us to pray, but wants us to because He loves us and wants to help. As we pray, we acknowledge Him and His power as we seek Him in our lives. He responds to us when we pray and isn’t afraid of our questions, frustrations, or anxieties. So let’s give it all to Him. He will calm our fears, direct our paths and lead us to what’s next. We simply need to go to Him in prayer. Which leads us to creating habits that encourage these behaviors…
  3. Grow your roots. When thinking of wellness, envision a tree. Our soul is the roots which find their life-giving source in God. The mind is the trunk and branches directing that energy to our body which are the leaves, flowers and fruit. To provide what our mind (& ultimately our body) needs, a developed set of roots is needed. To remember Who’s in control, to memorize those Bible verses to help in crisis, or to create a prayer habit, we need to cultivate our spiritual roots. This can be accomplished by a morning (or other time) quiet time with God, praying, reading the Bible, reflecting, seeking, and listening for His voice and direction in it all. When we fill our soul (and mind) with His Word, His voice becomes easier to hear, His plan easier to see, and His path easier to walk. But these things won’t happen if we don’t take the time to seek Him first. A tree cannot bear fruit over time without a good root system. Let’s dig our roots daily to draw upon when needed. Now that we’ve done these steps, it’s time to…
  4. Refocus on what matters. Letting go of control and connecting with Who has control allows us to refocus our mind on what is next or needed now. That could be finally sleeping because we gave our cares to God and countered the enemy’s lies with God’s Word. It might be doing that hard thing because we know God is before, behind, and beside us in it. It may be the act of being fully present with someone who needs our full attention and not a scattered half portion of us. It could even be encouraging others to be fully focused. Let’s fix our thoughts like Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:8:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Whatever we need to focus on, we cannot do it well with a scattered or worried mind. By remembering Who’s in control, casting our cares, growing our roots, and refocusing on what matters, we can take our thoughts captive and get on with doing what God created us to do. No matter what we’re going through we can rest trusting God is working it all out for our good and His glory.

There’s no need to let our mind race into the unknown trying to control it all. Let go, let God, and refocus!

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