Reduce Worry and Stress

Tony is always sending me helpful articles about health and wellness. Part of his motivation is to get me on board with some new thing he’s wanting to try (like the slow-carb eating) and another motive is to help me learn new things as a future counselor, church staff member, etc. The article he sent today was confirming why he gets so upset with the infamous Tennessee heat… the past week or so has been in the triple digits with pretty high humidity. This morning was cloudy and rainy, and whereas most people might be sad about that, he was in pure joy. Oh, my wonderfully odd man… how I love him. Anyway… when I opened the link to the article he sent me, I found a link to this article about 11 Tips to Lower Stress. I thought they were good enough to pass along:

  1. Take a yoga class
  2. Get more sleep
  3. Try talk therapy
  4. Increase activity/exercise
  5. Meditate
  6. Laugh
  7. Get a massage
  8. Try journaling
  9. Get some hugs… there’s healing power in touch
  10. Plan “worry time”
  11. Don’t vent

For the most part, I wasn’t too surprised by the tips, but the two I listed last made me stop and read a little more. Planning “worry time” is a way to limit yourself, or place personal boundaries, on the amount of time you allow yourself to think about overwhelming, worrisome things. It’s almost impossible to completely eliminate worry, but you can plan some time (the article suggests 30 minutes) to allow yourself to think about what is currently bothering you. I would add that it would be important to end that time with some intentional thought and prayer on what you are thankful for, what’s positive in your life and even see if you can make a plan for those things that are upsetting. Make a plan for the things you know you can tackle, and then release everything else to God’s control – He can handle it. And remember, sometimes the “release” part is an ongoing thing. Maybe you won’t solve all the world’s problems in 30 minutes, but practicing how to take more control over your thoughts might be a helpful habit to build.

“Don’t vent” is also a good reminder. Social support is important when making a difficult journey through stressful, worrisome or overwhelming situations. However, too much can actually increase rather than decrease your stress. The more you talk about it, the more you’re thinking about it, the more you’re allowing that issue to be in control and live rent-free in your life. Find a few close friends who will offer support but will also be willing to be honest and hold you accountable to not focusing on the negative. Maybe they can be a part of your 30 minutes of worry and at the end work with you to formulate a positive plan of action. And, pray together. Lean on people you know will pray for you and with you – that helps you know that they will encourage you to seek God’s wisdom and perspective.

Lastly, keep a list of helpful tools like this handy. Sometimes when we are overwhelmed with stress, we magically forget that there are things that we can do to help. Maybe they won’t solve, but they can help. I can probably use some form all of these tips in decreasing my current levels of stress.

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About melanieahill

I am a wife, graduate student, church staff member and most importantly, a work in progress. I am studying to become a licensed professional counselor and I absolutely love to cook.... and eat. I also love to travel, do some basic gardening and maybe one day I'll be a mom. There's a lot that I've learned in my 30 years, but I also know there's a lot more to go. It's an exciting journey!

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