Got stress? It seems to be our constant companion in this life.
In fact, stress is trying to be a companion of mine as I write my next book, Drama Free. So, I asked my friend Sally Nance — who writes a wonderful blog called The Healthy Happy Woman — to share some practical ways that you and I can stress less. I’m already trying a few of these as I struggle with deadline pressure and they are really helping.
So, as I get back to my book-writing deadline, here are some words from Sally that just might change YOUR life, too:
Stress has become a 21st century epidemic, and women are especially vulnerable to its effects, particularly when it comes to our day-to-day outlook on life.
Whether it’s the big stressors, like a health crisis, divorce, or a major move, or the little stressors, like traffic jams and full schedules, there is always something threatening to steal our joy and leave us frazzled, exhausted, and discouraged.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way! We can experience joy and peace in the midst of a stressful world. I have discovered 5 proactive ways to deal with stress, protect your joy, and live a happy life.
- Pray – Talking and listening to our Creator is one of the best ways we can begin our day. Charles Spurgeon said, “There should be no one with whom we converse so much as with Jesus.” Bringing all our current and potential difficulties to the One who rules the universe and who has numbered the very hairs of our head will calm our hearts and prepare us for whatever stressors the day may bring. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” God promises His peace when we bring everything to Him in prayer.
- Ponder God’s Word – Meditating on the truth of God’s Word is essential to dealing with stress and protecting our joy. Reading, studying, and memorizing Scripture will transform our thinking and crowd out negative and worrisome thoughts. We cannot think biblical thoughts and stressful thoughts at the same time. Rather than fretting and stewing over our problems, why not fill our minds with God’s promises and the ultimate victory we have in Him? Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” God’s Word transforms our thoughts, which transforms our attitudes, which transforms our lives!
- Practice Gratitude – Studies show that grateful people are happier, less-stressed people who live longer lives. They make a practice of giving thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in everything.” This doesn’t come naturally. We have to practice it. Start by writing down 3 things you’re thankful for each day. Include big things and little things. The more you do this, the more you will begin to notice how much there is to be grateful for in any given day.
- Pump Some Iron – Whether it’s lifting some weights or going for a walk or jog, it’s important to get moving, because exercise is a natural mood-booster. When you’re feeling stressed, exercise is often the last thing you want to do. But once you get moving and get your workout in for the day, you will feel much happier and less stressed. And I guarantee you’ll start looking forward to your daily workouts, because they help keep your body strong and better able to cope with daily stress.
- Prioritize – We can experience a lot of stress and joylessness, because our priorities are out of whack. Perhaps you don’t even know what your priorities should be. I strongly encourage you to take some time to pray about what is important in your life. Write out every priority you have during this season. It could be an outside job, your husband, kids, ministry opportunities, etc. Just keep a list of 5 to 6 of your most important priorities. Under each one, list several goals you want to accomplish. Perhaps it’s taking a vacation with your husband, turning your hobby into a business, or scheduling regular get-togethers with friends. Begin writing each of these goals into your weekly schedule. When you learn to say “no” to the good things in order to say “yes” to the best things, you will experience the joy of living a life of purpose, which will protect your joy even on the stressful days.
There will always be stressful days and difficult life circumstances that we must face. How we choose to face the day is up to us. Why not make the choice to begin practicing the 5 P’s above? And ultimately you can rest in Christ’s promise in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
To get access to these printables (as well as a library of other great printables) from Sally Nance, subscribe to the Healthy Happy Woman blog at http://thehealthyhappywoman.com/subscribe/.
Sally Nance is a blogger, Certified Holistic Health Coach, pastor’s wife, and homeschooling mom to two boys. She and her family live in Charlotte, NC. To learn more about Sally or cultivating a healthy, happy life, check out her website http://thehealthyhappywoman.com/. You can also find her on social media:
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/healthyhappywoman/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/hlthyhappywmn
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/hlthyhappywmn/
Which of Sally’s tips do you think will be most helpful to you? I’d love to hear it (on my book-writing breaks!) in the comment section below.