Are you feeling stressed out day after day? Perhaps your stress feels out of control because you have never learned to manage it well. A qualified Christian counselor can help you learn how to manage your stress in practical ways.
No matter if your stress comes from your job or family, you can apply several principles to lessen your stress. It’s unlikely you can completely eliminate stress from your schedule. But you can find ways to manage your stress, so your overall quality of life improves.
We have worked with thousands of clients who needed help learning how to manage their stress levels. You may also benefit from Christian counseling sessions for personal development to form an individualized plan for your unique needs.
10 ways to manage stress.
These basic techniques can help you deal with daily stress.
When you learn to control your breathing, you can decrease your stress at a molecular level inside your body. Stress causes cortisol levels to rise, which leads to an increase in heart rate and inflammation in your body. Constant stress puts pressure on your internal organs and breathing more intentionally is an easy way to reduce this pressure.
When you are feeling anxious or upset, take a deep breath for a count of five seconds through your nose, then hold it for three seconds, then exhale through your mouth for at least five seconds. Repeat this technique for three to four rounds, and the additional oxygen will help process your cortisol faster and increase your relaxation.
When your brain receives a stressful message, it commands your body to produce adrenaline as well as cortisol. Adrenaline empowers you to fight, take flight, or freeze. But most of us don’t physically move in these stressful situations, and the stress hormones circulate through our bodies with damaging results.
In those moments when you feel stressed, try taking a walk for fifteen minutes. Your body needs about fifteen minutes to process the rush of adrenaline and cortisol. Exercise helps process those stress hormones faster than sitting still. Combine the walking with deep breathing, and you’ll feel better.
Yoga has been proven to reduce stress if you practice it regularly. The rhythmic movements, combined with strength exercises and mindful actions, help you listen to what your body is saying. The exercise of yoga can also help rid your body of toxins and excess stress hormones.
As a Christian, you do not need to ascribe to the Eastern teachings that commonly accompany yoga. You can simply consider yoga a form of exercise and invite God to be with you while you move your body. You can gain all the health benefits from yoga without letting it interfere with your Christian faith. Check with your church or local health center to learn about Christian yoga groups that meet near you.
Our bodies store excess energy created by stress hormones. We must release this energy in healthy ways, so it does not wreak havoc on our physical health. It’s important and necessary to learn how to release aggression when you are stressed.
We have recommended that people scream into pillows, knead bread dough, pull weeds, or hit tennis balls to release their aggression. You can get as creative as you like with how you release aggression, as long as you are not causing harm to yourself or others, or damaging property. This physical release can help dissipate the stress hormones in your body.
Engaging in creative activities is a wonderful way to keep your stress under control. We are all made in the image of our Creator, and we are created to create. Even if you don’t describe yourself as a creative person, the act of playing while creating can reduce your stress.
Our clients have tried drawing, painting, sewing, and pottery classes, whether they possessed artistic talent or not. Others have engaged in playing music or acting in community theater to express their creative sides. You can get creative with cooking, gardening, organizing, or even writing computer code. The point is to do something fun, relaxing, and enjoyable to take your mind off your stress.
At-home spa treatment.
Our bodies respond well to good care. But going to the spa can get very expensive. Why not try your own daily spa treatment at home? You may be surprised at how much self-care reduces your stress level.
If you add Epsom salts to your bath and soak for fifteen minutes, the salts will help remove toxins from your muscles. Dry brushing is another good technique to improve lymphatic health. You can buy quality hand-held massage machines to relieve muscle tension. Many of our clients enjoy aromatherapy through essential oils. All these techniques are good to help relieve daily stress.
When is the last time you read a book instead of watching television? Reading in the evening calms your mind better than watching a screen since the screen emits blue light that interferes with sleep. Reading fiction helps you escape into another story for a while. If you read nonfiction, you can focus on learning something new rather than on what brings you stress.
Try swapping out thirty minutes of television for an interesting or relaxing book each night this week. Many of our clients have experienced less stress by swapping television for books, and you can too.
Meditating on God’s Word can give you peace even in stressful moments. Find a verse or two of Scripture that speaks to your current situation. Then write it on a sticky note and place it in a highly visible place, where you can think deeply about it for a few minutes while you complete another task, such as brushing your teeth or cooking dinner.
As you ponder your verse, invite God into the moment with you. Ask him to help you apply the truth of the verse to your situation. He will use Scripture to encourage you and teach you new ways of handling your stress if you take the time to mull over the truths in the Bible. Two minutes of meditating on God’s Word each day can make a huge difference in your peace level.
Interact with animals.
People who interact with animals often experience less stress than those who have no animals in their lives. A pet does require work and maintenance but pays you back with unconditional love and companionship.
Many of us have pets but overlook the benefits of spending quality time with them. A game of fetch with your dog or a few minutes of petting your cat every day can help you feel much better.
If you don’t yet have a pet, do some research on the breed of animal that will work best for you. If a pet is out of the question, simply go to a zoo and watch the animals, or enjoy a nature special about animals.
Volunteering is proven to lift people’s spirits and help give new perspectives. Yes, volunteering is another commitment to make. However, if you pair your volunteer work with a passion of yours, it can lower your stress while you do something you enjoy. Check with your church, children’s school, or community center on the volunteer opportunities that may be available to you.
Christian counseling for stress management.
You may need specific help for reducing stress in your unique season of life. Meeting with a Christian counselor can give you the clarity you are seeking in a situation that may feel confusing or frustrating. You’ll appreciate a trustworthy, objective perspective to help you identify problems that you can eliminate so that your stress is reduced. Contact us today to learn how stress management counseling can help you.
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