Ruminating on events from the past, getting caught up in the present hustle, and trying to decide plans can leave you with anxiety. Brokenness, hurt, and things of this world can consume your thoughts. So, how do you start to heal an anxious mind?
To heal an anxious mind, consider Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6-9. Rather than focusing on the terrible things that are causing you anxiety, renew your mind with the Word of God and be grateful for the peace He gives.
The Pattern in Philippians 4:6-9
Lift everything, yes everything, up to God in prayer.
Tell God what is on your heart and lay your burdens at His feet.
Ask for what you need.
Paul writes that we are made of spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Consider what you need spiritually, emotionally, and physically to overcome your anxiety.
Do all of this with thanksgiving in your heart.
God is always working in situations (Romans 8:28). Thank Him and be grateful for what He is doing, even if you can’t see it.
Think about what is fundamentally true, honorable, righteous, and holy.
Ask God to show you what is true and correct in your situation.
Think about what is agreeable, of good report, moral, and praiseworthy.
Focus on what is “of good report” in your situation.
This is a promise you can stand on. You likely need to apply this passage repeatedly, but peace is sure to follow.
First, let us consider what anxiety is. It is an indication that something is off. It is like a light that flashes on the dashboard of your mind to notify you when something needs attention, should be refilled, or is broken.
Physically, anxiety is a natural response to stress or perceived threats. It is a fear or apprehension about what is to come, usually accompanied by a physical reaction such as increased heart rate, sweating, or restlessness.
Most of the time, anxious thoughts are “what-ifs” that never come to pass because they are perceived threats, not actual attacks.
Think of anxiety as the Holy Spirit’s way of speaking to your human mind that you are running on fumes and your heart needs to be plugged into Jesus.
When anxious, the goal isn’t to get rid of it by running to immediate comforts to feel relief. It is to fix your eyes on Christ and remember His promises, what He did for you, and who you are in Him—this is the only way to heal an anxious mind. All other methods are Band-Aids.
How to Apply Philippians 4:6-9
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”—Philippians 4:6-9
This passage is often associated with an anxious mind. But how do you apply this passage? Let’s look closer…
Applying Philippians 4:6
1. Be anxious for nothing.
God’s Word tells us not to be anxious. So then, we know anxiety isn’t from Him; it is from the enemy. Timothy tells us that fear is not from God, but power and a sound mind are. We are to be anxious for nothing because to be anxious means that fear has crept into our thoughts. To heal an anxious mind, start by identifying the worrisome thoughts. One by one, name them as the Spirit brings them to mind and lay them at the feet of Jesus.
2. Pray, ask for what you need, and be thankful.
An anxious mind naturally gravitates to think about the “wrongs” or “what-ifs.” What do you most likely turn to when you are anxious—food, a smartphone, or friends? Instead, pause and pray. Turn to God and ask for what you need spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Do you need supernatural peace, endurance, or godly courage? Look up verses that promise what you need, such as Deuteronomy 31:6 or Zephaniah 3:17, and thank God for giving those to you.
3. Receive the peace of God.
Don’t overthink this step. Take God at His Word—He cannot lie. He says:
“…peace… which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 91 describes dwelling in God’s safety, His wings protecting you. Jesus said He desired to gather His children like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. Trusting in Christ in an anxious situation releases peace that guards your heart and mind. Believe this promise!
Applying Philippians 4:8
After identifying the worrisome thoughts, praying, handing them over to Jesus, and thanking God for His peace, it’s time to replace them with “things above” (Colossians 3:2-10).
If you don’t fill your “cleansed” mind with things of God, there is a void, and the enemy will undoubtedly do all he can to get you to grab on to the worrisome thoughts again. This is why Paul continues with what to meditate on after your mind is cleared…
“whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy…”
1. Ask God to reveal what is true, honorable, and right.
If this is difficult to see in your situation, ask Him to reveal Himself and how He works through it to bring about His truth, honor, and perfect justice. Meditate on truth and God’s justice to heal an anxious mind!
2. Ask God to reveal what is pure, lovely, and of good report.
Caleb and Joshua were sent with ten others to “spy out the land of Canaan” and bring back proof of its goodness. The land was lush and green, and they brought back abundant fruit. The land also had giants. Ten spies were fearful and gave a bad report, one that didn’t agree with God’s Word to go into the land because of the people already dwelling there.
Caleb and Joshua didn’t focus on the giants but on God’s promises. They didn’t deny the giant’s existence. However, what set them apart from the other spies was that they didn’t dwell on them to the point it caused fear. They focused on the blessing, promise, and faithfulness of God.
The other spies were gripped with an anxious mind and brought a bad report of the land. Caleb and Joshua brought a good report and took God at His Word that He would bring them into the land.
The result is that Caleb and Joshua were the only ones from that entire generation to enter into the Promised Land (Numbers 13 and 14). Focusing on the good in a situation is essential. Meditate on a good report to heal an anxious mind!
3. Ask God to reveal what is virtuous and praiseworthy.
Virtue is associated with moral excellence. It is what is considered upright, precisely according to God’s Word. What is God doing to set you, others, or your situation “upright”? God is always moving in our lives, constantly shifting things to align with Him. It is our choice to change with or resist Him.
The Greek word for praiseworthy in this verse is epainos. This means “accurately and enthusiastically acknowledge.” In other words, to heal an anxious mind, worship God for setting things right, even when you don’t understand the process.
4. Receive peace!
Philippians 4:9 wraps up with this: receive the peace only God can give.
Bible Verses to Calm & Heal an Anxious Mind
1. Psalm 55:22
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”
2. 1 Peter 5:6-7
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
3. 2 Kings 20:5
“… ‘I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you.’”
4. Proverbs 12:25
“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”
5. Isaiah 54:17
“‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,’ says the Lord.”
6. Zephaniah 3:17
“‘The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.’”
7. Psalm 4:8
“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
If there is one word that sums up how to heal an anxious mind, it is gratitude. Gratitude is the attitude that sets the altitude for life. When you lay your burdens at Jesus’ feet and fix your eyes on the things above, you can’t help but be grateful for what God gives—peace.
It matters how we respond to anxiety. We must recognize the thoughts, understand we need healing, and talk to God about it. Then, meditate on the good report God reveals to us.
Through this process, you begin to heal an anxious mind, and gratitude will flow through your heart as you reflect on God’s grace through the trial and situation.