Let’s face it, at one point or another, we’re all stressed out. Whether your job requires a lot of you, you’re busy getting kids to and from where they need to go, you’re keeping up with and trying to maintain a social life, or you have responsibilities at church, stress can creep into your life and begin ruining everything. From anxiety about what the future holds, to feelings of exhaustion, to lashing out at family members, the repercussions of not dealing with stress in a healthy way can be major. And it doesn’t just affect one aspect of your life – it can cause negative damage to your spiritual, emotional and physical health.
These simple steps can help you begin to get a better handle on your stressful situations.
Listen, I’m not here to be your doctor. But since you may have rolled your eyes at number 1, let me just remind you the importance of exercise.
A 20-minute walk or jog around the blog can bring you up to 12 hours of improved mood. Find something you enjoy doing, whether it’s running, doing yoga, investing in a punching bag, or so on – every little bit helps.
Yes, it’s important – even for the introverts! The idea of hanging out with people probably isn’t very high on your priority list when you’re feeling stressed out. However, being around others you love or care about gives you a sense of belonging, purpose and it’s just fun. A great way to get around others is to spend time with people at church (hint, hint).
3. Write and/or Journal
Setting aside a specific period of time each day to write thoughts out about a situation that’s bothering you can help reduce tension and give you stress relief for the rest of the day. It can also help you solve problems and find positivity in the midst of a negative situation.
It really is the best medicine. Studies have proven that laughter lowers tension, and at the same time improves blood flow and the health of your heart. Rent a funny movie or hang out with those friends who are always cracking jokes.
5. Clean up
Seriously. Get all that crap off your desk that’s been piling up for weeks. Make the bed. Do the dishes. Fold the laundry. Each of these and similar items help to give us a sense of productivity. (In fact, I recommend making your bed every day as soon as you get up. It helps to start your day with one task already accomplished.)
6. Get some fresh air
If you’re stuck inside all day, take a few minutes to walk around outside. Open a window if you can. Fresh air and a change of scenery can help lift your spirits.
7. Be kind to yourself
Stop calling yourself names and telling yourself you’re not good enough. Thinking negative thoughts only makes you feel bad – and it increases your stress. Tell yourself you’re doing a good job – and actually believe it!
Did you really think the Christian counselor was going to write about all this and not talk about praying? When’s the last time you prayed about your situation? When’s the last time you prayed at all? Ask God to help in these areas, and be willing to give them up to Him.
9. Be thankful
Showing thanks for your family, friends and loved ones and being thankful for the positive aspects of your life has a calming affect. Not only does it give you perspective, it makes other people feel good too.
10. Make a change
Sometimes the best way to deal with something stressful is to remove your source of tension. I realize that we don’t all have the luxury of not going back to our soul-sucking job anymore, but are you looking for other work?
Maybe your spouse is the source of your stress. Have you considered counseling?
Maybe it’s a financial issue. Look for ways to cut and invest in a credit or debt counseling service.
Stress doesn’t have to continue ruining your life. And it won’t, as long as you don’t let it. How do you intend to lower your stress today?