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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Coping with Stress

…Are you feeling stressed??? …Here’s how to cope.

Due to the increased demands and busy-ness of today’s society, it’s common for people to feel stressed. Common causes of stress include: trying to do too much, having unrealistic goals or expectations, and poor time management and organizational skills.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:6-8

Too much stress can result in feelings of irritability, anger, depression, and anxiety, as well as compulsive behaviors and poor self-care. In addition, stress may cause stomach problems, headaches, back aches, and insomnia.
If this sounds familiar, you need to learn to manage stress. One of the simplest techniques is by taking time to relax, whether by reading, prayer, or Bible Study (By the way, the Bible has some great stress-relieving ideas!)
Exercise is also a very good stress reliever. Many don’t believe they have time, but even if you exercise only 20-30 minutes a day, you’ll decrease stress. Exercise also helps you sleep better and delivers obvious physical benefits!
Don’t try to do everything yourself. One of the quickest ways to decrease your to-do list is to learn to say “no”. By saying “no” to extra obligations, favors, or activities, you begin to take more control over your schedule.

“Be still, and know that I am God” -- Psalm 46:10

No one can do it all! When you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help from your spouse or friends. They’d likely be happy to help, but they can’t read your mind.
Talk about it. Venting to someone else helps decrease stress. Pray about it. Share your burdens with God. Many studies show individuals with faith systems are able to deal with illness and stress better.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -- Phil 4:6-7

Probably the best way to beat stress is to re-examine your expectations and the way you interpret situations. Many times, we expect things to be perfect. When people or things don’t meet our expectations, we feel disappointed, sad, or angry.
If we can adjust our expectations and beliefs to be more realistic, we’ll see levels of stress decrease and satisfaction increase. Put another way, the way can determine our stress level.
“How can I change the way I think about a bad situation?” you may ask. This is one of the most effective ways of changing feelings and stress. It may take time and practice, but you CAN do this!

The apostle Paul was under constant stress. People wanted to kill him. He was imprisoned, beaten and run out of town for his belief in Jesus. He could still write the following from jail:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
- Philippians 4:11-13

One of the simplest ways to change your thoughts/expectations/beliefs is to catch yourself every time you think negatively or complain. When you notice a negative thought, examine it and try to determine if you could look at the situation differently. Is this thought helpful or hurtful?

“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”-2 Corin.10:5

If the thought is not helpful, change it to a more positive one. Becoming more aware of the types of thoughts/expectations you have will help you move towards less stress-inducing ones.

Want to know more? Come to the free stress management seminar Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. at Faith Baptist Church. Check out their Resource Center for books on stress.

Faith Family Resource Center Bookshelf

Great Stress Books (you can check these out at Faith’s Family Resource Center – call 539-3434)

--The BIBLE (available to keep – for FREE!)
--30 Days to Taming Your Stress by Deborah Smith Pegues
--A Positive Plan for Creating More Calm, Less Stress by Karol Ladd
--Women and Stress by Jean Lush

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