“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25
As you think about the last couple of weeks, name a situation where you could feel the anxiety level rising for your family. Don’t just go to that big blowup that might have happened but think back on the typical day-to-day stuff. Maybe it’s around the morning routine, being in the car together, or something else that’s unique to your family. What things help in those moments? What makes things worse?
Dr. Daniel Siegel, a neuroscientist, explains that when our stress and anxiety levels rise, our brains actually begin to function differently. Our thoughts begin to bypass the part of our bring that controls logic. These thoughts go straight to the part of our brain responsible for emotions. What this means is that are response to rising anxiety and stress is to act out of emotion rather than processing through things with logic and reason. He calls it flipping your lid.
Our anxious hearts have a way of weighing us down and fixing us in a constant state of fight, flight, or freeze responses. But, even when one person with a calm presence enters into our experience, it can begin to calm us down and that calming helps us reengage our logical part of our brain.
Next time you feel the rising anxiety and stress, stop and take a few deep breaths and remember to do your best to not flip your lip, but respond with kind words.