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21 Ways To Relieve Stress
By Dave Argue
When you are experiencing recurring feelings of tension or anger or stress, here are some suggestions for seeking relief. Try them. Note the ones that work and use them regularly. Above all, avoid popping pills to reduce stress.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise dissipates life’s tensions well. The threshold for aerobic value and overall wellbeing is: 20 minutes of vigorous walking — the kind that ends up putting a glistening on your forehead.
- Give yourself permission to express your feelings with crying. People usually feel better after letting it out.
- Talk it out. Discuss the tensions with a friend or family member.
- Breathe slower and more deeply. Concentrate on controlling your breathing patterns counting to 10 each time as you exhale and inhale completely.
- Get a massage. This helps relieve partial muscle contractions and induces relaxation. What a gift to give your spouse.
- Take a hot bath and just linger lazily in it.
- Practice the art of pondering, thinking carefully, meditating on something of beauty.
- Argue with yourself. This technique helps crystallize and isolate problems, develops self-control, and reduces stress.
- Get in touch with friends. Relational time helps to buffer or alleviate stresses.
- Take up a new hobby that occupies your mind creatively and takes you to a new place.
- If you are overweight, reduce your level of body fat.
- Cutback on sugars and get your diet balanced. Focus on healthy eating.
- Practice relaxing. Concentrate on systematically relaxing your muscles. 10-15 minutes will do wonders.
- Worship. Put on some music, or if you can, play an instrument. Open your soul to the greatness and sovereignty of God.
- Reduce noise, slow down, and let a quieter environment rest your soul.
- Journal through your day … and the stuff that has you tensed up. Writing things down often helps with feeling a bit more in control and less panicked.
- List the things you are thankful for, big and small, distant and nearby, personal and global, recent and a long time ago. Review and add to this list often.
- Soak yourself in Jesus. Read the Gospels a lot. He said: “I will give you rest.”
- Affirm and give thanks to people — notes, cards, e-mails, gifts. Giving lifts the heaviness and tensions. “It is better to give than to receive.”
- If you are tense because of a hurt or wrong done to you, be radical — just forgive them from your heart — not because you have to or want to but because “Christ has forgiven you” freely and completely. Give it to God. He can manage.
- Read/watch/tell something funny. Push away the tensions with laughter. The world is a lot bigger and God is a lot more loving and in control than your tensions are trying to make you believe.
Selah…and sleep well.
Dave Argue is currently serving as transition pastor, Milford, Nebraska.