Sometimes I feel like part of the package deal that I received when I became an adult was a heaping helping of stress. When I became a parent, I got an additional carry-on bag of it. I don't mind, the benefits definitely outweigh the days of nagging stress, but it is still good to find ways to take the edge off. Below are some tips that have worked for me and some I have read about and have yet to try.
First things first - Get into the word. Having a few key verses on hand really helps me when I am struggling with unnecessary stress. Jesus left us with His peace. Let's cling to it!
Philippians 4:6-7 says -
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Matthew 11: 28-30 says -
"Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light."
John 14:27 says -
"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid."
Psalm 4:8 says -
"I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe."
-Eat some yummy dark chocolate! We know that dark chocolate gives us the warm fuzzies. I think for ladies it is definitely a treat that can add an instant uplift because we simply love it, but it isn't just about taste. Dark chocolate regulates the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. You shouldn't go overboard. Take one square which is a little over one ounce for this benefit. Check it all out at LiveStrong.com.
-Enjoy a simple hand massage. We all love a nice relaxing shoulder or neck massage when we are stressed, but did you know that a hand massage for as little as five minute per hand can also reduce stress? I grew up with a family who practiced reflexology, and I learned early on that a hand or foot massage could take away pain and also give us an energy boost. It also apparently has a great relaxing effect on stress. You can read all about it at NursingCenter.com. The article in particular talks about massage therapy and includes the hands and feet. Pretty easy.
-Be a kid again. I am sure that I am not the only one that gets a little bit of joy out of a fresh box of crayons and a coloring book. Sometimes I will even pick up vintage coloring books on ebay so I can enjoy some kid time. Now that we are adults we are also usually much better at the task than we were as kids. Give it a try. I have no special links for this one. It is really just a fact of life as far as I'm concerned.
-Dance the stress away. If I put on a little 80s compilation CD and start dancing, the stress melts away. Pick your music and dance for a song or two. I'm not the only person who thinks that this is a good idea. Check out SixWise.com for more information. They get a little more in depth than I need. Just give me a good tune.
Other things I like to do when feeling stressed:
-Pop in one of my favorite comedy DVDs.
-Watch funny animal videos on YouTube. I can't help it. I get all caught up in watching cute little kittens, puppies, and even that sweet little baby bear whose mama helped him get out of a garage he got stuck in.
-Sing and sing badly. Yep, I kind of like singing badly which is good because I am quite good at it. :) The best way to do this is by finding some old songs from the 70s or 80s. If you don't know the lyrics...make them up!
-Chew bubble gum. I particularly am fond of chewing Bazooka gum. The comics are corny, but they really make me laugh.
-Hug a family member.
-Have a pet? Spend some time playing with it. Not only will it make it happy, you will feel the benefits too. Stressed at work? Maybe you can get a therapy dog visit? Check out this story of Cooper the therapy dog at from Harvard Health.