A few simple ways to find peace
Stress is hard on the body and mind. Numerous studies have revealed its negative effects on our health and emotional well-being. But did you know God gave us stress for a reason? Stress saved our ancestors from threats and predators by triggering life-saving responses. It allowed their bodies to turn off non-essential functions during fight-or-flight situations.
But we no longer run from predators on a regular basis. Instead, we live in a world that brings us stress in new ways. This stress still causes the same bodily reactions, but its relentlessness is damaging, rather than protective.
Fortunately, God also gave us ways to combat these negative effects.
- Keep a journal: Writing can help you process difficult events and reduce your anxiety. Try writing down a few thoughts each day. Don’t edit. Don’t over-think. It’s the action (not the content) that matters.
- Pet your animals: Just 15 minutes spent petting your dog releases feel-good hormones. It also reduces the stress hormone cortisol. It can even lower blood pressure, aid in heart disease recovery, and improve self-esteem.
- Make memories: Did you know experiences will make us happier than possessions? Invest in meaningful life experiences.
- Praise God: Taking time for gratitude has numerous health benefits, but singing praises to God may amplify that effect. According to some studies, an organ in the inner ear may be connected to the brain region that registers pleasure.
- Connect with others: God created us for relationships and gave us communities to manage life’s challenges. He knew it wasn’t right for us to be alone. Connect with others. Seek out ways to add value to your neighbor. You will feel better and can help them to feel better too!
- Take deep breaths: How many times have you heard “take a deep breath” when you were mad or upset? Taking deep breaths for 20 to 30 minutes each day can calm your body’s stress reactions. Focusing on breathing deeply may also have a calming effect during stressful situations.
When you feel stressed, removing yourself from the situation can also help. Take a walk, pick up your favorite magazine, or go take a long bath. Most times if you are distracted for at least 15-30 minutes, you will see that the stress is temporary. You need a clear head to be able to look at or diffuse the situation.
The next time you are stressed ask yourself: will this matter in 1 year, 5 years or 20 years. If the answer is “yes” find a solution and move on. If the answer is “no” – remove yourself from the situation and move on. If you are unsure how to move past these and other situations, seek help from a qualified healthcare professional. Invest in a life coach to help steer you towards the stress-free life of your dreams.