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Focus: Seven practical ways to manage stress
John 14:1 (NIV) Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.
If you were to grade your stress level on a scale of one to ten—with ten being the highest, what would you say your level of stress is?
Some of the most typical causes of stress are: relationship conflicts, unemployment, perceived loss of control, financial concerns, health problems, pushing ourselves beyond reasonable limits, addiction to technology, fear of crime, substance abuse, procrastination, eating disorders, responsibilities to others, deadlines, aging, to name a few.
As you were reading the list, did one thing in particular stand out? Maybe more than one? Maybe most of the list? Did you feel yourself tightening when you saw certain words on the list describing some of the causes of stress? How is your breathing right now?
Stress is a worldwide problem. Stress hasn’t only been a problem in our life time, it has been a problem since God made humans. Stress is a major cause of depression and dependency. It is the reason why many people justify what they do–and don’t do.
I would like you to take an honest look at the stress in your life and make the decision here and now to get a handle on it.
Jesus said for us not to allow our heart to be troubled (John 14:1). Well, guess what? ‘Troubled’ is what stress is. Interestingly, stress is a major cause of ‘heart trouble’. When you are ‘troubled’, it is bad for your heart.
When you allow yourself to be filled with stress–basic things go wrong with your body.
There are seven practical adjustments you can make that won’t do a thing to change what is causing you stress, but will make a huge difference in what stress is doing to you. I prayed about writing this—at least pray about what I have written.
- Drink more water. If you are in a condition of stress, your body can become dehydrated more easily. Without enough water in your body—your head starts to hurt. Other bodily functions become more difficult because your body is basically ‘dried out’.
- Breathe more deeply and evenly. Something as simple as your ability to breathe can be greatly affected by stress. When your mind is distracted by stressful thoughts, your breathing becomes shallow and irregular. Your brain needs oxygen to function properly, as do all of your organs.
- Get more rest. When you are full of stress, you will often feel tempted to keep working and not allow your body to shut down. Sleep is a critical need for your physical health and well-being. During deep sleep, you are restored—mentally, emotionally, and physically. When your sleep is compromised, so is everything else.
- Write out five comforting Bible verses to read several times a day. According to Psalm 119:165, if we love God’s Word, we will have great peace. Some suggestions are: Isaiah 26:3, Matthew 6:33, Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 29:11.
- Deliberately count your blessings and spend quality time everyday thanking God for as many things as you can think of.
- Sing or at least listen to a few songs everyday that tell of the faithfulness of God.
- Try to stop allowing stress to rule your heart and mind. If you notice you are feeling stressful, try to identify the reason. Purposely re-direct your mind to what God says about you and your situation and remember His promises.
Declaration: I will find new strength by taking practical steps to manage stress. I will allow the peace of God—not stress, to rule my heart and mind.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.