Stress is a topic near and dear to my heart.
As many of you know, I lived life off balance for well over a decade. The chronic stress I felt took its toll on my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
Today, I am happy to report that these negative ill-effects have dissipated as a result of living life with intention.
This intention includes numerous stress management techniques that help keep me calm, peace-filled, and in balance.
It is these strategies that I’m going to bring to you over the course of several blog posts so that you too can begin living life with more intention and as a result, find peace and calm regardless of how chaotic and stress-filled the world around you is.
Your Choices Matter
Today’s stress management strategy is about embracing stress by choosing to walk through stress.
Every minute of every day, you have a choice in how you respond and react to this world.
You lose your car keys – you can either flip out or pause and think.
The kitchen table looks like an explosion went off – you either yell at the top of your lungs for the kids to get downstairs, or you calmly walk to their location and ask them, in a civilized voice, to please clean up the mess.
Your boss asks you for a document you’ve given him twice before – you either scream and fume in your head or you take a deep breathe and choose not to react.
Every decision requires a choice, stress included.
When stress is upon us, the choice is yours to either embrace it or escape it.
What is your natural tendency?
Do you avoid stress by distracting yourself from the stressor? Do you focus your energy on getting rid of the feeling associated with the stress? Do you turn to food, alcohol, or drugs to escape the stress?
Dark chocolate and red wine anyone? Guilty.
Or, do you embrace stress by accepting the fact that you are stressed and seek ways to remove or eliminate the stress?
The choice you make and how you respond to your stress matters.
It’s the difference between stress being harmful or stress being beneficial for you. The choice is yours.
For years, I chose to escape and avoid my stress. I denied that I was stressed and that a change needed to happen.
The consequences of this choice was very real.
What if I would have chosen a different path?
What if I decided to embrace my stress by admitting I was off balance? What if I would have sought help from others and actually did something about it?
This I know for certain, my life and health would have never have taken a turn for the worse.
But, here’s the deal, I’m okay with where my life turned. You see, it was God’s way of telling me I had to confront the stressor. I had to admit I couldn’t live that way anymore. I had to do something about it.
For that, I’m forever grateful because now I get to talk with other women who look and feel a lot like I once did – exhausted, weary, stressed, and burned out.
But, while that was my life story, it should not be yours! And for this reason, I pray you read and act upon the steps necessary to make stress work for you.
Walking Through Stress
If you are dealing with stress in your life, there are steps you can take to managing it.
1) Accept the fact that you are stressed. Just like in addiction programs like AA, admitting you have a problem is the first step.
2) Plan a strategy to deal with stress. You can do this by:
- Seeking information and advice from others. This might be as simple as talking to your girlfriends or your significant other or it might be seeking out a counselor.
- Taking steps to change and/or remove the source of the stress. This step is scary because it requires change. When fear overtakes you, remember to surrender your anxieties and worries over to God. Ask Him for the strength you need to be courageous and brave to make the change.
- Viewing the situation differently. Is there a way you can see the stress in a context of growth and being challenged? Take time to journal around your stressors and the bigger picture.
- Surrendering your fears to God in prayer, asking for His strength to help you take the next step towards living life different, better, and healthier.
What step will you take today to embrace stress?
Praying for you,
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