"Clean up in aisle 7!" the PA blares while you're shopping in the store. A store associate comes with a mop and rolling bucket to quickly clean up the mess. Are you in aisle 7? Is this your mess? Problems spill over in life and we feel like a stressed mess. Sometimes it affects our health. It can certainly strain relationships. Stress is one of the biggest contributing factors to health problems in the US. What a mess!
I was stressed recently. The stress was the snap the pencil, slam the door, and scream at the top of my lungs type of stress. My sweet hubby has a way of helping my stress melt away. He brought me a gift: a necklace. It said, "Too Blessed to be Stressed!" He reminded me that God has big enough shoulders to take my stress on. I felt like a mess, but I was finally able to remember several stress busting things I could do to avoid a toxic spill in the aisles my life.
When we are stressed, there are two responses we have: run or fight. If are not able to do either, we hold stress in which takes a tremendous toll on our health and our waistlines. I don't know about you, but you might be hauled away to jail if you decided to punch someone! If you run away from work, you would lose your job, wouldn't you? While you may not be able to change the stresses, you can manage them effectively. Here's how:
Give your problems over to God.
Prayer is not a trite thing. Our great God can open our minds to solutions for problems, intervene in bad situations, and convict hearts for true change. No New Age meditation or guided imagery can do what our God can do. Prayer is never a waste of time!
When you are able to talk out the situations plaguing your life, it will give you a sense of relief.
However, it is vitally important to stay away from sharing your issues with people who gossip! Find a wise, understanding confidant who can help you gain perspective when it seems like the stressor will swallow up your life. Pastors and counselors may be an option if there isn't someone with whom you can share the stresses.
Find sensible solutions to eliminate some of your stressors. The best way to reduce your stress is to stop some of the messes in their tracks. Say, "Yes," to what is important to you and "No, " to what is not. Christians often feel guilty for saying no, but the devil loves keeping us in overload mode. When you prioritize responsibilities, it will help you make decisions about what you do when and how much.
Cardio and high energy movement reduces adrenaline. Anxiety causes adrenaline to surge through our bodies so we become restless or twitchy. That overload is harmful to your body which causes your blood pressure soar ready for you to run or fight. By running on a treadmill, riding a bike or swimming laps you can beat the ground or water into submission. High intensity workouts with functional training make great stress-busting workouts! Tire throwing, sledge hammers, kettlebells and more replace the desire to punch someone.Work with a personal trainer if you've never done these types of intense workouts before. After 30-60 minutes, those adrenaline levels are far more manageable while reducing cortisol levels. Now you are ready to tackle whatever comes your way.
Choose healthy alternatives to the foods you crave when stressed.
When we are stressed, we either choose crunchy and salty or deep fried foods. However, some people seek comfort under high stress looking for smooth, sweet, and buttery foods. The bad news is it's a recipe for inflammation in your body as it compounds your stress. It also causes the pounds to pile on. Many of these go-to foods have loads of additives, preservatives, and artificial colors or flavors. The good news is you can get what you are looking for through healthier alternatives: fresh raw veggies and fruits with dips made from yogurt, wholegrain pastas with tons of veggies saute'd in a nonstick pan with a little olive oil, burgers with extra lean beef or turkey flavored with avocado spread and tomato, the ideas are endless. Your weight and bloating reduction eliminates inflammation as it will elevates your mood.
With less adrenaline streaming through your body, you can chalk up someone's nasty tone to a bad morning with the kids. You will be able to find a win-win solution to a situation at work or calm a cranky child. Wouldn't it be great to take on almost anything that comes your way? You will have God's wisdom with His guiding hand involved with the fantastic abilities He has given you to do practically anything.
No, thank you! We don't have a spill in aisle 7. We are good!
May God bless your day.
Resource: Play It Out! by the National Exercise Trainers Association. 2011 continuing education course.
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