By Mary White, CCNI Treasurer
Hi, I’m Mary White, a Professional Christian Coach. Today, we’ll continue with part two in our series. Last time we looked at many life stressors and the “stress symptoms” you may have noticed.
In that article I noted that the number one fastest way to relieve stress is to: PRAY
“Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation with 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.” Philippians 4:6-7
So the first thing we as Christians should do is pray. God promises to hear our prayers and will give us peace that we don’t understand.
Now let’s move on to part two of Stress Management.
What is the second fastest way to relieve stress? Bring your senses to the rescue.
SIGHT, HEARING, TOUCH, SMELL, AND TASTE
God created our bodies with amazing abilities. If we engage one or more of our senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste, we can use them to help us de-stress.
Sight: The most soothing colors are blue and green. When we go outside to look at the blue sky or the green grass or trees, our eyes relax. If we can’t go outside, we can go on a mini vacation in our minds. We can look at a picture and be somewhere else, a happy place, for a break in our day.
Hearing: We can use the sound of a running stream or river or use a water feature to help reduce stress. Listening to soothing music is also helpful.
Touch: It’s so powerful in reducing stress. In fact, when babies are born if they don’t have a human touch, they can actually die from the stress caused by lack of touch. Research tells us that we all need at least 7 hugs a day. During the pandemic when we had to be physically distant, more people bought dogs and cats to pet to help lower stress.
Smell: We can use our sense of smell by using scented candles or flowers in our homes or work areas. The smell of fresh baked bread or cookies is also very comforting.
Taste: Reducing stress through diet is called eating comfort foods. Some examples include:
- Turkey, bananas, oats: These are good sources of the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin in the body and may promote relaxation and stress relief.
- Eggs, meat, and dairy products: All provide high-quality protein including essential amino acids that produce the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which have the potential to improve mental health.
- Chia seeds: Chia seeds are another good source of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help with reducing stress.
- Citrus fruits and bell peppers: These fruits are rich in vitamin C, which have antioxidant properties that may help reduce inflammation and prevent damage to cells which help reduce stress.
- Almonds: Almonds provide a significant amount of vitamin E, which has been studied for its role in stress prevention.
- Blueberries: Blueberries are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants that have been studied for their ability to improve brain health and thus help with stress relief.
So just remember, God created our bodies with remarkable abilities. He didn’t create buildings or computers or devices. They’re so very helpful, but our bodies need to be outside more and have physical activity.
Try to go to the park, mountains, or the beach.
Look at the creation around you, hear the wind through the trees, take off your shoes, put your feet in the grass or sand, feel the breeze and the sun on your skin, smell the pine or sea air, have a picnic, RELAX.
In the final part of this series, we’ll talk about joy, what may be stealing your joy, and what you can do to prevent it.
Until then, work with your senses to de-stress.
Mary White is a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor as well as a Certified Professional Leadership Coach through PCCI and an Associate Certified Coach through ICF and is a trained Master Financial Coach with Dave Ramsey’s organization.