8 Ways to Reduce Stress In Your Life
Stress is a part of living in this world. We feel stress about our families, jobs, friends, church, and country. Even though it’s a part of our lives, we shouldn’t let stress define us. As believers, we are called to rest in God’s care and comfort even in times of stress. It’s important for us to be prepared for stressful days and work to reduce it as much as possible. Try one or all of the 8 suggestions to bring down the stress level in your life.
#1) Talk to God about it.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
When I feel the stress building up in my life—I know that I need to spend more time talking to God. There’s something about sharing my frustrations and disappointments with the Lord that comforts me. God already knows about my problems, but I imagine He is delighted that his child longs for His embrace. I don’t usually walk away with answers, but almost always I sense His peace and presence over my life afterwards.
#2) Find a quiet place for meditation.
“Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel” (Genesis 35:15).
I have a couple of special places where I medidate and pray God’s word in times of stress. There’s a certain peace where the pressure begins to peel away at the rememberance of God’s promises. In those times I reflect on how I’m not alone, how God has a plan for my life, and how I will overcome all these difficulties in His timing. A quiet place for reflection can bring restoration and the motivation to move forward.
#3) Seek out activities that bring you joy.
“Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!” (Psalm 32:11).
It’s okay for us to have fun. Sometimes we forget this because we get caught up in the urgency of lost souls and the fleeting hour. Yet the Lord created us to rejoice in the good things that He has provided for us and our families. The world’s definition of fun usually involves sinful behavior; however, it’s up to Christians to reveal the joy of the Lord in ways outside the walls of the church.
#4) Exercise and strengthen your physical body.
“Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way” (Isaiah 35:3).
Many times we bring the stress on ourselves due to the neglecting of our earthly bodies. While we aren’t to worship our bodies, we still have the responsibility to take care of it. Maintaining a regular aerobic workout (walking, running) and strength-building (weights, calisthenics) will significantly reduce stress in our lives. Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and we need to keep in shape in order to carry out His will for our lives.
#5) Share your stress with close family and friends.
“I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts” (Psalm 119:63).
Obviously we can’t share our stress with just anybody. It’s best to pray first and ask the Lord to lead you to the right people. Exposing our vulnerability to life’s struggles to a trusted friend or advisor frees us up to grow in our relationships and stretch our faith. The body of Christ is made of many people with unique and diverse gifts in order to build each other up during the tough times.
#6) Relax and allow yourself a chance to laugh again.
“A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
God created us with endorphins in order to replenish the body when we are exhausted spiritually, emotionally, or physically. Those natural chemicals are produced in times of joy in our lives. There’s a place for comedy in the lives of believers especially when we can laugh at ourselves with plays, TV shows, or get-togethers. Laughter may be the best medicine for treating our stressful lives.
#7) Start a new hobby that is different from what you do on a daily basis.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19).
How many of us put off learning something new that we’ve always wanted to do? We should be willing to stretch ourselves and try a new hobby or activity that can momentarily take off the tension from our stressful lives. Most of us hesitate because of our ignorance, lack of experience, or fear of failure; however as believers of Christ Jesus we’re made to be adventurers of the faith.
#8) Make time to enjoy the nature God has placed around you.
“Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees” (Isaiah 44:23).
There’s beauty around us all the time even though we miss it because of our stress and busyness. It’s easy for us to take the magnificence of nature for granted—the bird’s singing, the soft wind blowing, the motions of the trees—all of these reveal the glory of God. When we are stressed and notice how God takes care of the wildlife, we know that He will surely take care of us and our concerns.
Roll your shoulders, stretch your neck, and wiggle your toes—this is the beginning of living a reduced stressed life. The Lord is in control of your life, not you! Rest in His promises and trust in His word to carry you through as you begin to take the right steps of living the good life.
Article by Crystal McDowell
Crystal McDowell is a writer, speaker, and teacher with a passion to encourage believers to know and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ through practical application of God’s word.
Crystal and her husband, Marshall, raise their five children in the Bloomington, IL. As a freelance writer and editor for over 13 years, Crystal has published numerous Christian curriculums for Sunday School and VBS as well as many articles dealing with marriage, motherhood, and relationships. She’s a weekly staff writer for www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com as well as writing her own blog at http://crystalmcdowellspeaks.blogspot.com.