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5 Ways to Reduce Stress

“Relax! You’re wearing your shoulders for earrings.” This amusing quip was relayed to be by a friend. And she is absolutely correct. Some days I feel I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders so to counterbalance the weight I hunch my shoulders. Needless to say my trapezius are well defined.

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But I have taken her words to heart and have implemented the following strategies to manage stress; for indeed the Lord encouraged us to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us. Please pause with me as you carefully consider these 5 ways to reduce stress.

 

BREATHE

Slow

Deep

Intentional

This type of breathing slows the heart rate and reduces stress. As you breathe deeply, consciously move down your body relaxing your eyebrows, shoulders, and limbs all the way to your toes. Feel your muscles relaxing as you supply your entire body with much needed oxygen.

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Breathe so deeply that you feel your ribs expand. You will feel the difference. I think so many of us have gotten used to breathing shallowly, short puffs in and out that deep breathing is foreign.

 

Now do it with me.

 

Deeply inhale through the nostrils until you feel your ribs expand. Hold a few seconds, and then release your breath slowly out of your mouth. Now do it again. With each inhalation thank God for the breath of life and with each exhalation release whatever is causing you stress. Visualize it leaving you. Mmm. I did that with you and I’m already feeling more relaxed.

 

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4

 

 

EMBRACE THE NOW MOMENT

 

What peace awaits right before your eyes? Stop and take a look. As I type this I’m listening to the bird symphony being conducting right outside my window.

All love, joy, peace and beauty can it be found in this moment. A child’s smile, an encouraging word shared with a co-worker, buds on the trees, the sweet tart taste of a green apple; our daily lives an inundated with beauty but we must slow down enough to appreciate it. For more on embracing the now moment, click here.

 

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a

 

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EXERCISE

When you exercise, you release endorphins that improve your mood. Studies have also shown that you get the added benefits of better sleep, released tension and improved self-esteem when you exercise so get some exercise in today. Even if you don’t regularly exercise, start where you are. A 10-minute walk up your street and back practice that deep breathing technique and you WILL feel better.

 

 

BE PROACTIVE

You know some of things already that stress you, so cut them off at the pass. If rushing in the morning causes stress, see what you can do the night before to facilitate a smoother morning. At night you can partially prepare breakfast, pack lunch(es), pack bags, tidy up fill up on gas. All these little things contribute greatly to reducing your morning stress.

 

Some stressors are out of your control. Someone cuts you off when driving or you’re the victim of identity theft. While you cannot control that, you can choose to respond versus react. Reacting is giving way to your emotions and impulses and letting them drive your behavior. When you react you are generally operating out of fear. Responding is when you pause before taking action. You take a deep breath then DECIDE how to best move forward given the information you are confronted with.

 

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HAVE FUN

Life can be so serious. Life can be so intense. But please, give yourself permission to LIVE! I’ve had to come to terms with this over the last few years. From my rising to my setting, I am serving people. The mental, physical and emotional demands on me are great. To meet those demands, I would sacrifice doing things that bought me pleasure. Then when I finally would do something pleasurable, I would feel guilty because of it. I had to ask God to help me with that. And He told me I had carried out this self-imposed suffering. I was torturing myself. Through prayer, He helped me free myself and I can now do something pleasurable without the guilt. While my schedule does not permit me to engage in the things I deem pleasurable very often (i.e. I’d love to be on the beach everyday) I have committed to doing things I enjoy. So what do I like other than the beach? Typing these posts while sitting in a coffee shop, exercising in a group or class, browsing in a bookstore, having dinner with a friend.

 

How about you commit to doing something this week simply because it brings you pleasure?

 

A study by the American Psychological Association reports that only 37% of us feel we’re effectively managing our stress, so that leaves more than half of the population then debilitated by the issues of life. And many common methods of distressing are ineffective and tend to make you feel worse afterward like:

 

~Eating

~Drinking

~Watching TV

~Surfing the Internet

 

These usually leave you not only with the initial stress but now bring added guilt. So instead of doing those, join me in breathing deeply, embracing the now moment, exercising, being proactive and having fun and let’s cause of stress to dissipate.

 

For more on managing stress, visit the following links:

Know You, Manage Your Emotions 

Tips for Less Stress

Stress Free Steps

http://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/stress

 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with friends at Life Giving Linkup & Purposeful Faith

3 replies
  1. Ceil
    Ceil says:

    Hi Tyra! I really liked that ‘shoulders for earrings’ image. Never heard of that before! No wonder my trapezius is so defined…
    Living in the moment is something I am intentionally working on these days. It does help with stress, because stress is rarely in this moment. It’s from the past or worry about the future. So I think that, and a deep breath will do wonders for me!
    From #RaRa Linkup,
    Ceil

    Reply

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  1. […] things that are pleasurable. This has been a constant struggle for me. You can read more about that here. But God is helping me by continuing to reveal His truth. And He is showing me that fun; joy and […]

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