How to Relieve and Reduce Stress
Here is a list people say are the main causes of stress in their lives and they are listed in order of importance to them.
Main Causes of Stress
- Family Responsibilities
To find the source for your stress you may have to look deep.
You have a good paying job, so is lack of money really a problem or is it because you don’t bother to pay your bills, you are over spending, or the spouse who isn’t paying the bills is spending too much and really causing you problems?
Maybe the problem is not a lack of money but a lack of contentment. You are frustrated because you aren’t getting enough money for all your wants and for fun things. You are trying to satisfy emotional needs with material things and are stressed because you can’t get satisfied.
These are just a few examples to illustrate how you need to really look down deep to find the real source of your stress in the area of finances.
Make your home stress free:
Have comfortable (not necessarily expensive) things like couches, chairs, beds, lighting.
Keep things in order. Have a place for everything and keep it there. More stress is caused by having to look for lost things.
Have as much of a routine as possible, like dinner at 5 most days, church on Sunday, children in bed by 8 and meatloaf for dinner on Fridays.
Relax. Even though I just said have a routine some people have their lives too controlled and organized and though that may make them feel good it can stress out their friends and family. There is a happy medium.
Wear comfortable clothes. It is so frustrating to wear a pair of shoes or jeans that rub or are too tight all the time. That is all you can feel and think about.
Less is best. If you find yourself spending ages trying to figure out which of your 25 outfits to wear, cut your wardrobe back to 10 outfits. If you are stressed about what shampoo to buy, pick one you like and stick with it.
Forget about returning the e mails and social engagements. Now I don’t mean you have to give them up all together, but control them. You don’t need to return that e mail right now. You don’t have to go to every function you or your kids are asked to go to. You are in control of your schedule. If you are feeling out of control then you probably are so take the control back. Say no and stop doing some things. If you don’t then stop complaining about how overwhelmed you are about your life because it is your choice.
Stressing about things never fixes them.
I always say that if we spent as much time dealing with the things that are causing our stress as we do stressing over things, we would solve a good many of our problems and, if nothing else, we would have a much better attitude. I mention this all the time but I think it’s worth repeating. Most of the things we worry about in our lives never happen. If you don’t know if you believe that, try keeping a worry diary. Every time any little worry though comes into your head write it down. At the end of a week or month, look back over it and see how many times the things you stressed over actually happened.
Arrive 15 minutes early
I once heard a psychiatrist say that the one thing that could relieve 50% or more of stress in the average person’s life it to start arriving 10-15 minutes early everywhere they went. Think about what a typical day is like and what a difference it would make if you made sure you arrived 15 minutes early. If you get stopped by a train or traffic jam or the kids can’t find their shoes it is not as tragic because you have a few minutes’ wiggle room for unexpected things. Not to mention how much better the tone of your day is if you aren’t sliding into work 15 minutes late compared to getting there 15 minutes early and having time to prepare for the day.
Besides, I personally believe always arriving late is very rude and inconsiderate of others. It is like saying. “My time and the things I am doing or have to do is more important than meeting you – you can just wait for me. It is ok for you to give up your time waiting for me because your time is not as valuable as mine.” You would never dream of saying that to someone but that is really what you are communicating.
When you have one of those days where everything goes wrong then stop, back off and change course. Call a friend who makes you laugh, spend 30 minutes (even if you don’t think you have 30 minutes) to watch a funny show, take 30 minutes out and work on your favorite hobby or, in the case of a pressing work deadline, stop for 15 minutes and clear your mind. Do anything that completely changes your course from what you were doing. I curl up with a cup of tea and read a relaxing fun book, not one on self improvement, how to earn more money or how to raise better kids. Those are not relaxing.
I know sometimes when you’re at work or with a baby and other times like this, it may be a little hard to do but do it when you can. If nothing else, take a deep breathe and count to ten.
There isn’t much we can do for the economy as a whole but you can learn to take control of your own finances and learn to be wise concerning them. We often look at the bad state of our finances and then we look at the economies of our country and the world, which are also bad, and become so overwhelmed that we just give up. It’s important to take one day at a time. If I looked at what I had to do next month and also focused on what my kids and my extended family all had to get done, I would collapse but by focusing on my own personal day I can handle it.
We need to do that with finances. Stop listening to the news and worrying about what is happening in the world. I’m not saying to bury your head in the sand or that those things don’t affect us. I’m saying that so often we get intently focused on the wrong things and that focus causes us to become paralyzed with fear. Then we can’t function in our own worlds, causing our finances to falter so we say “See, things really are as bad as they say.” Sometimes our reality is that we just aren’t dealing with things in our own life.
Don’t stress over the economy. Stop watching the news and listening to the radio or whining friends. Even when the economy is bad, there’s not much you personally can do to change it so don’t waste precious energy worrying. Take the time you would usually spend worrying and work out a plan to get your own finances under control.
Often there is a lot of stress at work. You can have a high stress job or you might just not like the job you are doing. Either can cause you a lot of stress. You have a few choices. First, you can change jobs. I know everyone says that in this economy there are no jobs but there really are many jobs still out there. You may have to take a pay cut, change hours, change the distance you drive, get out of your comfort zone or something else which you alone have to weigh against the existing stress for your own personal life.
Look for options and don’t be afraid to step out and try them. Of course I’m not saying to march in and tell your boss to take his job and stuff it until you have weighed all the pros and cons and have checked into and actually gotten another job. You do need to use common sense. On the other hand, I know that some people can get so stuck in a rut or controlled by fear that they don’t look for something different or explore their other options.
If for whatever reason you can’t leave a stressful job, then you need to at least learn to leave your work at the office and don’t bring it home. I am talking about the problems and stresses of work and not the physical work itself ,which you need to leave there too.
This is why I think it is sometimes easier for men to be in the work force than women. Men are somewhat better at compartmentalizing than women. I know there are exceptions, but in most cases, this is true.
One last thing you can do to relieve stress at work is to avoid taking it all personally. Do your very best job and a little extra at work. Then when you boss rants and raves or is unfair, at least you know that between you and God you have done your best and you can let God deal with the injustice.
For me, personally, I know that God is in control of every minute of my day. All of it. And I know He loves me even more than I love myself and my family so when something knocks me between the eyes I just stop and pray, “Take this over and do what is best or show me the wisdom on what you want me to do.”
Stress can kill you. That is why the Bible tells us over and over, “Fear not”, “do not be afraid” or leave things in God’s hands– because God knows it can kill us. We spend hours stewing over every bite of food we put in our mouths and stressing over whether it is healthy, organic or the right thing to eat because if we don’t eat right we will get sick and/or die… yet the stress of worrying can kill us just as easily if not more so and we hardly give it a second thought.
Stress is a silent killer because our eyes are so blinded to it. It is so much easier to obsess about our physical bodies and needs without realizing it could be the emotional and spiritual needs that are being overlooked and that are truly killing us.
Photo By: Eamon Curry