What does the inside of your car look like right now? Do you avoid giving other people rides for fear that an avalanche of receipts and food wrappers might bury them alive? Go grab a garbage bag and gather up all of that junk. Get some baby wipes and wipe down the dash. Take a dust buster and quickly vacuum up some crumbs. That likely will take you about 5 minutes.
Dump the contents of your purse onto your kitchen table. Throw away unneeded papers and wrappers (same as your car). Did you find ten pens, loose change, and your keys? Great job! Feel a little lighter?
How many emails do you have in your inbox right now? Go through and delete, send contacts to spam, and unsubscribe. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
Facebook friends. Do you need to unfollow some friends? It’s okay to remove seeing negativity from your feed.
2. Give Up
The burden you have been placing on your shoulders is likely bringing you the most stress. Stop comparing yourself to others, giving yourself too long of a to-do-list, and beating yourself up for not living up to perfect. It’s not possible- let it go!
On changing others
You can’t change the actions/behaviors of others. While you can encourage people and pray for change, it is not up to you to change that person.
The need to be right
The constant need to be right all the time is draining your energy, and the energy of those around you. Take a chill pill. Sometimes you will be wrong. Even if you are right, sometimes it’s better to just keep quiet about it.
Your control-freak nature
Do you find yourself with white-knuckled-syndrome? That tight grip on everyone and everything is exhausting you! Release your grip of control and trust your Heavenly Father to take care of your day today. Don’t worry about it. The notion that you are in control is an allusion.
3. Stop Believing
The lies you tell yourself
Take a moment and just imagine how many lies you told yourself yesterday. Did you claim them as truth? Did you imagine up things that weren’t true about others? Did you create any scenarios in your mind about things that might happen, but didn’t? The bible says to think on things that are:
true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
The lies on the news
Oh the news! Do you get depressed after watching it? Just turn it off. It will most likely leave you depressed, helpless, and sad.
The lies of friends/family
How many times do friends and family bring others down? I heard on the radio the other day that friends can actually talk others into getting a divorce instead of encouraging restoration.
The lies of the enemy
The enemy is on the prowl. The devil is the original liar! John 8:44 says he is the father of lies. Resist him by being filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit. He will flee! Amen for that.
4. Remove Negativity
From your mind
As soon as something negative comes into your mind, imagine physically erasing it from your mind. Now imagine yourself writing something positive to replace it.
From social media
There is so much negativity online now. Stop the spread of it- that means, don’t take part in commenting on negative facebook threads or conversations that don’t edify or build up.
From your enemies
Those that desire evil for your life. Especially don’t listen to them.
From your friends/family
Did you know that the people that are the closest to you can speak the most negativity into your life? While you may have control over removing yourself from your enemies, you may not have the same control with close friends or family. When someone says something negative, speak up with something truthful and God-honoring! Silence breeds the bug of negativity. Speak up!
5. Consider Fasting From
Do you experience food-addiction? An addiction to a particular drink? Consider fasting from maybe one meal a day? From that particular beverage for a week (unless it’s water- then drink all the water you can)?
Do you find yourself in your favorite store throwing away money when you are stressed? It may feel like a stress-reliever, but in the long run it will leave you empty (especially your bank account). Consider fasting from the need to spend money. Practice the discipline to start saving. Shopping is just a band-aid for some deeper pain you are experiencing.
Imagine how much you could get done today if you didn’t check facebook, instagram, pinterest, or your email constantly? Perhaps you need to remove notifications on your phone? Put it away? Limit yourself to checking it only a few times a day? Do you find yourself becoming nosy, jealous, judgemental and angry while looking at other people’s sites? It’s time to take a break then.
The great need to stay busy is one of the biggest causes of stress! Simplify your life. Go back to the basics. Learn to say no to things. You don’t need to be busy 24-7. Make time to breath. Move to the country and go into hiding! Well, maybe not the last one, but it has crossed my mind from time to time!
6. Immerse Yourself
Spend 5 minutes this week everyday in prayer. Next week try to bump it up to 10 minutes. Then 15. Then 20. God desires intimate fellowship with us. Prayer for others and ourselves will bring you incredible peace. Spend more time worshiping in prayer than you do asking for things.
God wants us to know Him deeply and intimately. He will satisfy each of your longings with simply – Himself.
In Reading the bible
Spend time reading a book of the bible. Perhaps start in Psalms and Proverbs.
In Studying the bible
Have you learned the wonderful practice of studying God’s Word? Pretend you are teaching a class on a particular topic of the Bible. Become a master of it. Search for supporting verses and study the surrounding verses. Learn the context. Ask God to give you a greater understanding of His Word.
In Meditating & Memorizing the bible
There is something so powerful about memorizing scripture and hiding His Word in your heart. When you meditate on His truth, He will penetrate your heart and mind with Himself. He will allow you to recall it during times of trials and temptation. He will lift your spirits and bring you joy with His living Word tucked safely away in your mind.
7. Practice Thankfulness
If we could just practice contentment, it would alleviate 99.9% of our stress. The need to keep up with the Jones, will keep you down in the dumps.
Thank God out loud for your blessings
Walk around your home and speak all of your blessings out loud. Thank God for them one by one.
Send someone a thank you card
Once a week, send someone a hand-written thank you card.
Start a thank you journal
Start a gratitude journal. Attempt to journal your blessings each day. All the things- even the seemingly simple and silly ones.
Do you find forgiving yourself the hardest? What would you tell a friend? Tell it to yourself, and believe it.
That person that consumes most of your mental energy? Release them from your mind. Forgive them and move on.
Do you have a friend that you have been harboring bitterness and hatred in your heart against? Ask the Lord to show you why. Perhaps it is simply assuming or believing lies you have told yourself about that person. Things aren’t always the way they seem. Forgive them.
The Lord tells us to forgive our enemies. Let God be the one to avenge you.
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
By going for a walk
Start out by telling yourself that you will just go for a 5 minute walk. Sometimes if we tell ourselves that we have to go for an hour walk, it keeps us from stepping foot outside. Start small.
By doing some sit ups
Get on the floor and do some sit ups, push ups, or leg lifts.
See how long you can hold a plank position. Stop what you are doing throughout the day and challenge yourself to hold that previous time longer.
By joining a gym or fitness program
Perhaps joining a fitness program or gym might motivate you to exercise more? Maybe you don’t have time for that, and purchasing a treadmill or elliptical might be a better fit? Exercise is so great for removing all sorts of stress!
10. Asking For Help
God is the one that can always help you! He is the great physician, comforter, and protector. Run to Him!
From a friend/family member
Do you have a trusted friend or family member that you could ask for some help from? Not asking will just cause your stress to build and build. Humble yourself, and ask for help.
From a doctor
Perhaps your stress could be a medical issue? Seek help from a doctor if needed.
From a counselor
Find a reputable counselor in your area that might be able to help you talk through some things. Do you have a friend that’s a life-coach? I know several friends that provide this type of service!
What about you?
How do you alleviate stress in your life? What to you find to be the biggest triggers for stress? How do you protect and keep guard against it? I’d love to hear more from you in the comments.