Healthy Ways To Handle Stress

Matthew 11:28-29  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.   Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Do you ever feel stressed?! Who am I kidding?!! Of course you do!! Everyone feels stressed now and then. Stress is defined as ‘a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.’ and ‘something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety.’ Stress is a pain-in-the-neck, that is seemingly unavoidable in our go-go-go culture. Whether it’s trying to finish what feels like a million assignments, navigate through family troubles, solve tough financial issues, or emotionally handle the poor health of a loved one.. Stressful situations will always exist, BUT that doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to a frazzled life!

While stressful situations may be unavoidable, how you respond to them is always something you can control. Here are my Top Five Tips to Keepin’-it-Cool when it feels like your world is ending (’cause we all can be a little dramatic now, can’t we??)

  1. Pray for help. Are you stressed out over a difficult relationship or circumstance in your life? PRAY for help! Whenever stress hits me like a ton of bricks and I feel hopeless and helpless, I pray! Matthew 11: 28-29 (verses above) make it clear that the best way to find peace and rest is through Jesus Christ. He has a way of calming us down and making the “huge” issues feel much less important compared to His gift of eternal life and a right relationship with Him.
  2. Put things into perspective. Some stressful things may be really difficult, but others may not be as big of a deal as you believe they are. For example, say you have a ton of work to finish before spring break (not to be specific or anything!) and you wonder how you’re going to finish it all… Think things through, be proactive, write a plan, get it done, and realize that somehow in a week, 2 weeks, or even by the end of the semester, you will get through it!
  3. Turn to friends. Feeling isolated over a particularly stressful situation?! Turn to a buddy! Sometimes simply talking through your feelings with a close friend can feel like a therapy session in-and-of itself. PLUS, the session is free and you know how much that friend really cares about you on a personal level! 
  4. Focus on what you can control. Whether your grandparent is struggling with her memory or a loved one just got laid off from work, somethings really ARE out of our control! Recognizing that we can’t change something helps us to accept it. Step back and try to work on the things you CAN control. It’s critical in a time like this, whether it’s adjusting your diet to help fight disease or supporting your family in a time of need, focusing on what you CAN control helps the situation feel less daunting and helps you to handle the stress more easily. 
  5. Walk it off! There’s nothing like a good walk to help you clear your mind. Think about the many blessings in your life and BE THANKFUL! Fortunately, the weather is starting to break and spring is right around the corner! Going for a little walk in the great outdoors (or even on a treadmill, if necessary) helps your body to relax and your mind to de-stress! I always feel so much better after a good walk!

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  -The Serenity Prayer

How about you?! Are you feeling stressed out?! How do YOU handle stress?


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