Five Ways To Handle Stress

Five Ways to Relieve Stress

Stress is a fact of life. Some stress we can control and others we cannot. Those stressors that we cannot control, we can only try to minimize. But there are stressors that we can tame. Identifying their source and remedy can put us on a path back to peace. Here are five areas within ourselves, that with some investigation and evaluation, can set our spirits at ease.

Stress
Photo by Milos Tonchevski on Unsplash

1. Inventory your output with your family and friends

We live in a stressful, performance driven world and it is no surprise that stress related health issues are cropping up. Friends and Family were meant to be a mutual support network but they can also be part of a toxic stress load. When doing an inventory, ask yourself are you giving more than you are getting? I understand that you may have a true friend that cannot give back to you at this moment and you may be their only support. In those cases, make sure you are not over-supporting. Over-supporting can lead to physical and mental drain. Take a hard look. It may be easier for you to just do a task but, at the end of the day, those little tasks add up. Over-helping can also lead to some unintended codependency. Ask yourself why you are helping. We should never give out of guilt or resentment. That is not part of an honest, balanced relationship. Giving a true ‘yes’ leaves you at peace and preserves honesty in the relationship. A true ‘yes’ will never breed resentment.

2. Reevaluate your core values

A value is something that is important to us. Examples of these can be family, career and hobbies. A friend once told me, you will always live the way you truly believe. Are you living congruent with your values and life’s goals? If not, then maybe it is time to readjust your course. It may be you are in a different season and your values shifted. The very act of identifying the shift and prioritizing around what values you are living out now, can ease the tension within. If we are living incongruent to what we truly value and believe it can cause internal conflict and stress.

3. Check your boundaries

Does your no really mean no? Does your yes really mean yes? Boundaries are the walls that keep the good in and the bad out. When we lay down boundaries and do not enforce them, others can lose respect for us. We can even begin to lose respect for ourselves. Only set boundaries that you are ready to enforce. If you are feeling angry and frustrated, it could be that someone has violated a boundary with you. This boundary may have been one you had not ever verbalized. People who continue to violate your boundaries are not honoring you or your position. Does this sound like a relationship that produces peace?

4. Listen to your Self Talk

Many times we live our lives on autopilot and we are just trying to get through the tasks at hand. We are unaware of our subconscious self-talk. When we purposely tune in, we can discern if we are poisoning ourselves. Learn your own love language and nourish yourself with kind words and acceptance.

5. Identify Your Fears

Take time to be honest with yourself about your fears and anxieties. Are they real or are they ‘what ifs’? Follow through with the ‘what ifs’. Practically, what can you do if the event occurs? What is your recourse? How likely is it that the event could actually occur? Are you taking on a worry that isn’t yours? Are your fears founded? If indeed they are founded, seek wise experienced counsel in the area of your fear to walk you through the situation. If your fears stay below the surface and are unidentified they will simmer and multiply. Facing the fear and ‘what ifs’ with a solid strategy, not only lifts the internal anxiety but also helps create resiliency.

Shalom
Stacia Martin
The Coffee House Counselor

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