Managing Stress in Healthy Ways

by Stephanie Reck

Between 75-90% of all doctor’s visits are stress-related. Stress comes in a variety of symptoms, ailments, and conditions. Stress can affect you spiritually, physically, and emotionally. There are many things in life to cause us to feel stress and anxious. Chronic stress can complicate matters and can lead to burn-out and Adrenal Fatigue.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines stress as a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.; something that causes strong feelings of worry and anxiety; a physical, chemical factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.

What happens to our bodies under stress:

1. Cortisol mediates various metabolic processes. Cortisol levels can be elevated if we are under physical or psychological stress.
2. Immune system can weaken and you can become more susceptible to colds and flus.
3. Have difficulty falling or staying asleep.
4. Bouts of irritability, anger, and easily frustrated/annoyed.
5. Fatigue and don’t feel like you got a restful night’s sleep.
6. Anxiousness, fear, and low moods (mild depression).
7. Mood swings (hormones out of balance).
8. Feelings of being overwhelmed.
9. Eating too much or too little.
10. General sense of not feeling well (malaise).

What are we stressed about? Some common stressors in people’s lives:

1. Family
2. Marriage (getting married if you are not married)
3. Children
4. Finances
5. Work, career
6. School
7. Budgeting, paying bills
8. Paying for children’s education, college
9. Health
10. Health of family members
11. Friendships (lack of or not spending enough time with)
12. Death of a loved one
13. Death of a pet
14. Divorce, remarriage
15. Stepfamilies
16. Salvation of loved ones
17. Not sleeping
18. Unresolved childhood issues or unresolved grief issues
19. Single parenting
20. Fear of the unknown, not being in control
21. Addictions with self or family members
22. Infidelity
23. Infertility, miscarriage, abortion
24. Moving, adjustments/transitions
25. New job or retirement
26. Having a baby
27. Debt
28. Family member moving in
29. Family member having emotional/ mental difficulties
30. A goal/dream was not accomplished

Add up the above stresses for the past year and if you listed 5 or more that occurred this last year, you could have a high level of stress that needs to be dealt with.

Steps to Coping with Stress and ways to Manage Stress Levels:

1. Spend daily time in the Word, praying and giving thanksgiving for the things that are good in your life.
2. Attend church regularly and fellowship with the Body of Christ.
3. Write down (5) things to be thankful for EVERYDAY. Keep a Gratitude Journal.
4. Journal, write often. Write the date on each journal entry and how you are feeling, what God is speaking to you, and anything else that would be helpful.
5. Walk or do light exercising. Walking is the best exercise for stress reduction.
6. Take it One Day at a Time. Focus your energy and thoughts on the present day.
7. Do something fun daily! Enjoy your life!
8. Find a hobby such as gardening, bird watching, or painting.
9. Watch comedies often! Laugh! Smile!
10. Take every thought captive into the Obedience of Jesus Christ and renew your mind continually. Watch what you are thinking and talking about.
11. Eat balanced meals consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein. Stay away as much as possible from fried foods, processed foods, sugary snacks, and high-energy drinks.
12. Drink 3 cups of green tea. You can choose to drink (1) 8oz. cup of coffee.
13. Switch to Stevia instead of sugar.
14. Limit your time with negative, draining, and toxic people. Watch who your spending your time with.
15. Avoid overreacting to problems as much as possible. Practice praying first, and being still.
16. Listen to relaxation music such as jazz, classical, and soothing sounds.
17. Take bubble baths and light scented candles.
18. Light scented candles and other fragrant scents throughout your home.
19. Don’t take on the burdens and problems of others. You can pray for others always and intercede ONLY when God calls you to.
20. Set limits and boundaries with others. Learn to say, “No.” Do not try and meet the expectations of everyone.
21. Be a God pleaser not a man pleaser.
22. Do not seek the approval of others but what God would have you to do.
23. If you are able to afford a massage or you can have your spouse do for you.
24. Take time off when you can. Rest when you can. You don’t have to be going and doing all the time!
25. Take small vacations or staycations if you cannot afford to leave.
26. Nap when you can and when you need to, its okay!
27. Eat sitting down and eat slowly and enjoy your meals.
28. Do not live in a hurry or rushing around. Let your pace be relaxing.
29. Help when you can help but don’t take on the responsibility of others.
30. Forgive yourself, forgive others.
31. Be gentle with yourself. Stop being so hard on yourself. Let go of perfectionism.
32. Take a multi-vitamin, B-vitamin and look into natural herbal remedies. I do not make any medical disclaimers here.

Stephanie R. Reck, LMSW, LBT, BCCC
Founder of Hope Ministry
Hope Ministry, @2020
Author of, “Disciplining Your Mind 30 Days to a Better You!”

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