Recently I wrote this post about the increase in stress as our church continues to grow. Several responded via Twitter and Facebook that said things like “You don’t seem to get stressed about anything” or “I wish you would give us details”.
Well, first I need to explain that perception is not always reality. People are surprised to hear I’m an introvert or to know that I still get nervous when I preach. I am and I do.
Often it seems the demands placed on us exceed the strength, wisdom and resources we have to meet them. Philippians 4:13 seems to indicate otherwise, (I can do all things through Him who strengthens me) but I still struggle at times to try to handle things on my own.
Getting to the place where we don’t allow stress to control us or keep us from being effective in life is a process. I have found it improves some with age and maturity. You come to realize some things just don’t matter. In some people’s case a lot has to do with personality. My 20-year-old, a “P” on the Myers Briggs Temperament, rarely stresses about anything. Most of us, however, need a little help dealing with stress.
As a teacher, and because I was asked repeatedly, I will share some tips I have found effective in battling stress.
- Prayer. God really does answer this request.
- Time management. Most times a good schedule will greatly diminish stress.
- Exercise. This may be my best secret for battling stress. The more stressed I am the more I need to run.
- Disciplined life. There are activities and habits that add to stress. If you stay up way too late and never get enough rest, your stress-factor will increase.
- Balance. You have to learn to say “No” to some things and balance your time between all the things that pull for your attention.
- Not allowing problems to build long without addressing them. If a relationship is causing stress, the sooner you deal with it the quicker you will find relief.
- Asking for help. When I am really at my wits-end with stress, I am not too proud to tell someone.
What tips do you have for people to lower their stress? What do you do to handle stress?