6 Effective Ways To Manage Stress
Dear Selfless Esteem,
I feel so stressed out from the daily grind. I’m exhausted and I’m becoming irritable. What can I do to deal with stress?
Tense and Tired
Dear Tense and Tired,
The daily grind is so stressful. Some people are in constant motion without realizing they are wearing themselves out. But good for you for recognizing it and looking for ways to manage it! 👏
We have to meet our obligations, but we can also reduce the stress that comes along with it. Read on for 6 practical ways.
1) Think Positively
Constantly evaluating ourselves as we go through our day is a source of stress. It’s hard enough to meet our obligations–but judging our performance adds even more pressure. See “Why Selfless Esteem Is Better Than Self-Esteem” and “Defeat Self-Criticism” to help change this thought pattern.
Journaling is useful for getting the worries off our minds and onto paper. Write out your concerns, doubts, and negative feelings. Then follow that up with positive statements, encouraging Bible verses, and reasons to be grateful.
Remember the difficult times God brought you through in the past. Then you’ll have faith that God will help you with your current problems. (You may be interested in “Finding Hope in Difficult Times” and “How To Stop Worrying About Money.”)
2) Take Care of Your Body
Stress not only effects our mind but also our body. And conversely, physical problems cause and/or exacerbate stress. It’s a vicious cycle so check out these tips.
- Get a physical exam and necessary check-ups.
- Try massaging acupressure points.
- Fuel your body with healthy foods. (See “3 Successful Strategies You Need to Develop Good Habits” and “How Food Affects Your Mood.“)
- Keep a consistent and adequate sleep schedule. (See “The Best Ways To Fall Back Asleep.”)
- Exercise to increase endorphins and release dopamine. (Consult a physician first.)
- Use deep breathing techniques, such as the one described by Dr. Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist, in the following video.
3) Give Yourself a Break
Even God rested from His work (Genesis 2:2-3). He set an example for us, and He commands us to rest (Exodus 20:8-11). Our bodies and minds are not designed to work constantly. (You may be interested in the post, “How To Overcome Productivity Addiction.”)
For these reasons, have at least one day off per week, give yourself breaks each day, and take a vacation or staycation whenever possible. Enjoy nature, take a nap, and spend time with friends, family and pets.
4) Ask for Help
Don’t bear the burden of stress alone. Instead, here are some suggestions:
- Build a strong support system of friends, family, and/or neighbors.
- Find a competent therapist. See the posts, “What is Wise Counsel and Good Therapy?” and “Why You Need a Therapist ASAP.”
- Call a warmline, which is a non-crisis phone line with trained staff, who provide confidential support. Open this national directory for a list of warmline numbers.
5) Bring Order to Chaos
Have you ever noticed how your mood is when you are in a messy room? When our surroundings are order, we feel more peace. Reducing clutter, organizing your possessions, and creating a schedule will promote tranquility and harmony. For details, see The Wellness Resolution’s article, “Remove Clutter Around You & in Your Mind.”
Uplifting music can also lighten the atmosphere. For example, enjoy Josh Snodgrass’ calming guitar arrangements in his YouTube video, “Worship Guitar-100 Beautiful Hymns-Instrumental-Peaceful Gospel Music.”
Before I make this suggestion, I acknowledge that sometimes religion causes more stress. If that’s the case, see the post, “Religious Trauma: The Devastating Effects and How To Heal.”
Some of Jesus’ final words before He was crucified (and later rose from the dead) were: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). God loves you very much; thus, you can put your problems in His hands (1 Peter 5:7), knowing there’s nothing too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:17). Focus on His power in the midst of the problems of the daily grind, and then you’ll have more peace (Isaiah 26:3). (See the posts, “The Real Truth About God,” and “How To Pray in 5 Simple Steps.”)
Ephesians 1:14-19 (MSG) says, “I ask—I ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!”
How can we know God personally and reap the aforementioned benefits? Ignatius of Loyola wrote a retreat handbook called Spiritual Exercises, comprised of practices, such as Ignation Contemplation and a daily form of prayer called the Examen.
A simplified explanation of Ignation Contemplation is drawing near to God by imagining a scene of the Gospel with all your senses to evoke thoughts and feelings and increase insight. Regarding the Examen, there are several variations, but essentially, it’s a review of the day, including the following steps:
- Expressing Gratitude
- Noticing moments when you felt God’s presence or not…and contemplating the reason why you did or didn’t experience His love, joy, peace, hope, etc.
- Considering your mindset about the coming day and asking God for help and virtue
In short, taking a breath or two and then spending quiet time with the Lord is a stress reliever no matter how you do it.
For more ideas, see “How To Stay Positive When You’re Having a Bad Day.” And above all, remember that although “the mountains may move and the hills disappear,” God’s faithful love remains (Isaiah 54:10 NLT). ≧◠‿◠≦✌
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version®. Copyright © 1984 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
This post was originally published on 5/7/22 and has been updated.
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