Our stress response is the key to whether the stressor will make us feel ill or ignite us. Modern stress research confirms what the word of God told us long ago, a merry heart makes for good medicine, and anxiety and bitterness will break us.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. – Proverbs 17:22
We all respond differently to daily challenges. What sends one over the edge and spiraling into stress symptoms: insomnia, fatigue, headache, upset stomach, brain fog, and/or irritability may cause another person to laugh it off. If you are lacking the right reasoning in your response to life stressors, and need help with stress management techniques, please consider seeing a Christian counselor.
Practical Stress Management Techniques
Casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7
Here we have clear direction from God’s Word for handling stress challenges. Cast your burdens upon the Lord – He will give you rest. You should not be anxious. In all things give thanks. It is easy to feed our worry. We tend to wear our worries like a heavy coat that weighs us down, carrying it everywhere with us, but God says we can cast down that weight.
We have God’s permission to fling our stress at His feet. Don’t try and make your worry legitimate. Don’t feel obligated to hold on to stress. Today’s society makes us feel successful the more stress we carry. This is not God’s plan. There is freedom in the cast!
It’s important to know in your mind and heart that this is a must, not a maybe. Your commitment to honoring God and trusting His Word and this principle will alter the way you respond mentally and physically to life‘s challenges.
The word of God tells us we should pray without ceasing. While we won’t be constantly engaged in a literal conversation with our Lord, we can still be in a constant state of reliance upon Him. We have an open line of communication with our Lord. To keep this line open we need to keep sin out of our lives. We must be quick to repent and confess our sins.
You have continual prayer access. You can discipline yourself into immediate prayer in response to stress, which can help you to maintain the right response.
The spiritual is not all that is important – physical technique is important, too. You can and should apply relaxation techniques to change your stress response to a relaxation response. You can practice deep breathing and release muscle tension.
Find a comfortable and quiet place to lie down or sit. Place your feet slightly apart. Try placing one hand on your abdomen and the other hand on your chest. You will inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. The cliché “Smell the flowers and blow out the candles” is an easy way to remember this.
Concentrate on your breathing. Gently exhale most of the air out of your lungs. Inhale again and count to at least four, or what is most comfortable for you, extending your abdomen. Pause for a second, exhale, then repeat the process. This is in no way medical advice – it’s simply an example, a form of deep breathing to help you cope and calm your body.
The “To-Do List.” We all have them. They’re hanging on the refrigerator, tucked away in our planners, stuck in our wallets, or forever implanted in our memory. Tackle the tough jobs first. When we make our list for the day, we need to tackle the most important work when we still have that fresh morning energy.
We might even schedule smaller jobs for the afternoon slump when we are naturally drained and moving at a slower pace. Schedule phone calls or appointments near the end of the day so they don’t consume most of your day. Avoid putting important things off. The best way to get it done is just to get it done. You don’t want your list to grow larger and create more stress.
Proverbs promises if you commit your works to the Lord, He will establish your thoughts. Take your list to the feet of Jesus and ask Him to give you wisdom as you schedule your day.
Take Care of Yourself Physically
The Apostle Paul told us our bodies are a living temple, bought at a great price. Therefore, taking care of your body is a spiritual endeavor. And it’s true, our physical affects our spiritual. We naturally feel better spiritually and physically while taking care of our temple. Regular exercise has been shown to significantly reduce stress.
Learning to rest is also an important piece in taking care of the temple God has entrusted you with. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap.
Take Care of Yourself Mentally
Be careful what you allow to infiltrate your thinking. We need a daily check-up from the neck up to avoid stinking thinking. The Bible commands us to “think on these things” (Phil. 4:8). Think of things that are true, noble, right, pure, admirable. Guard your thinking, thus guard your heart, and maintain a better stress level.
Take Care of Yourself Spiritually
When you are overwhelmed with stress, Satan will whisper in your ear and attempt to panic your hurried heart. You must make it a habit to use the power of prayer and memorize scripture and reach out to your Christian community for encouragement and to remind you of who you are in Christ.
Remember that some things about God can only be learned through the stresses of life and suffering. Ever wonder if this is why God refused to take away Paul’s thorn in the flesh? God used Paul’s thorn to change the world! He was the kind of Paul that could write and mean words like this:
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
Whatever God has permitted to come your way, have confidence today that you can cast this at the Father’s feet, and He will give you the grace to carry your cross. God may not take away the cause of your stress, but He can give you the grace to bear it and make you strong for His Kingdom!
We Are Here to Help
If you’re looking for professional Christian counseling that respects your faith and values, then we’re glad you found us. We are an association of licensed professionals who are experienced in helping people of all ages find healing for a wide variety of struggles.
By merging knowledge of the field of counseling with Biblical guidance and faith-based support, the Christian counselors at our office help individuals, premarital couples, marriages, and families find real, lasting solutions.
If you or a loved one needs help with stress management, we welcome you to connect with us today through our Christian counselor directory or online contact form.
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