Do What is Worthwhile NOW! A Tool to Overcoming Anxiety
Anxious thoughts debilitate our energy in making a home for our husbands and for our children. But they can be very hard to stave off. I know because my mind has done that over the years.
One thing that can help is to keep busy…and I think for we women who take our roles as Catholic women seriously….it is not hard for us to be busy whether we have 2 or 10 children.
There is housework and laundry to do, prayers to teach and to say ourselves, meals to be made, homeschooling if that is part of what we do… and general looking after and attending to our husbands and our children.
That in itself keeps us very busy. And there are many other things that clamor for our attention.
Busy-ness can be a valuable in keeping our minds busy enough we can’t worry so much about things.
From Father Irala, who was a Jesuit and a Catholic Psychologist back in the day when these things could be more trusted, from Achieving Peace of Heart:
“Employ your time well and so distribute it among different tasks that by keeping yourself busy you have no time for worry.
To enable the factor of feeling to intervene here, let your undertakings be in the possible and practical order.
Make sure they are useful and interesting. Only when the sick imagination finds the field of consciousness unoccupied will it be able to torture you with its sad and discouraging exaggerations. Idleness and the lack of an ideal produce more neurotics than work ever does.
A young bride, her mother told me, used to live tormented by fears. One fear was that she would lose her mind.
She bore a son, and still the fears continued. In the course of time she had five more children and because she was not rich she had to do all her own housework. Hardly could a worry take shape when a child’s wail would bring her flying to its side.
Or two of them would start a squabble and she would be off to calm them down. Or she had to get a meal ready, or the ironing board was calling her.
Or rain threatened to wet her laundry that was stretched on the line to dry. Some urgent household task would always be taking up her whole attention and coming just in time to kill worries at their first stirring.
The famous Jesuit scholar, Father Wassman, conquered his own depression by taking up the study of ants.
In this field he later became so preeminent that the whole world marveled at his books. “
Busy-ness isn’t always a solution to real, clinical depression or other mental issues. If there are severe problems, seek out help. But keeping busy and not thinking of ourselves so much can go a long way to a happier, healthier life.
What does C.S. Lewis say? Humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves LESS!
It is not always that keeping busy keeps the anxious thoughts away. We must do what is worthwhile in each moment and live in the present…
From Father Lovasik…
It is always worth while doing the good that just at this moment lies within my power to do.
St. Francis de Sales, when a student at the University of Paris, suffered long and cruelly from a horrible thought, that he was sure to be damned. At length he flung the temptation from him and conquered it quite, in this way…
He said manfully:
“Well, if I am not to see and love God for eternity, at least I will love him with all my heart this hour while I may.”
It is worthwhile now for me, – now while the brief occasion lasts – to overcome one temptation, to do one small kindness, to improve my mind by one half hour of study, to wait in patience when there is nothing else to be done, to bear a headache, or sleeplessness, or some small pain.
Life cannot be filled with great deeds, nor deeds of manifest profit and advantage to oneself and mankind.
There must be margins and leavings in the web of human existence: there must be pieces over, the use of which is not apparent; and these leavings, as they seem void of good, are readily turned to evil use.
We shall find, if we think, that many of our sins are committed in these loose and unoccupied times; whereas our hours of active and successful work, or keen sport and play, are usually innocent.
The author of the “Imitation of Christ” has a chapter “that we must apply ourselves to humble works when we are not up to our best.”
We must be content at certain times to do anything that is innocent and lawful; and console ourselves with the reflection that all lawful works are works of grace in him who is in the state of grace.
On the other hand, I must be jealous of the hours in which my faculties are bright and available for work. Even in my worldly interest I must be jealous of them.
Those are precious hours.
Keep your eyes fixed upon your heavenly home, upon the long, long, everlasting vacation, upon the eternal rest of the just.”
So…yes, we are busy mothers and wives. We could lament this fact, but instead we will rejoice in it. Idleness is the devil’s workshop. There are so many self-inflicted nervous ailments that we avoid if we learn to resign, no, like my mother would say, EMBRACE our crosses each day and glory in being the best wife and mother we can be!
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