by Mary White, CCNI Treasurer

Hi, I’m Mary White, a Certified Professional Christian Leadership Coach. In part
one of our series, we looked at many life stressors and the “stress symptoms” you
may have noticed.Remember the number one fastest way to relieve stress is to:

PRAY. In the second part, we discovered that if we use our five senses, we can
reduce stress. Today, we’ll continue with part three of our series. We want to
recognize when we’re stressed and have some solutions in mind.

So, think for a minute,
WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY?

What did you think about? What brings you joy?

Puppies. They just make us smile. Spending time with friends laughing, hugging,
just being together brings us joy.

Now, think for a minute about how stress steals your joy and what you can do to
protect it. When we recognize that we’re stressed and losing our joy, what
can we do?

Here are some solutions:

PRAY/ SPEND TIME WITH GOD: As Christians, I can’t emphasize this enough. It’s crucial for us to connect with the Lord. He is the one who knows what we need so we need to be with Him.

LEARN TO SAY NO: Boundaries are so important. Practicing when to say yes and how to say no when needed will help protect our joy.

LEARN TO AVOID PROCRASTINATION: When we make lists and check off the tasks finished, it gives us a feeling of accomplishment that brings joy.

DEEP BREATHING EXERCISES: When we take a deep breath in through our mouth and slowly let it out through our nose, it relaxes us. Try it… breathe in slowly, breathe out slowly. If we do this several times when we’re beginning to feel stressed, it helps.

TIME MANAGEMENT: Work with a calendar or a timer to help manage your time. If there are too many things on your calendar or to-do list, prioritize them or eliminate them if at all possible. It will help lower stress and return your joy.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT: Finances are the number one reason people get stressed and the number one reason couples divorce. It’s so vital to our health to manage our finances. If we have a difficult time in this area, we can reach out for help. For this reason, I became a Master Financial Coach for Dave Ramsey’s Organization to help people become debt free and have financial peace and joy.

LAUGH OFTEN: Scripture says “Laughter is good medicine” so if the creator of our bodies tells us this, then it’s true. Laughing increases endorphins in our brain which leads to joy. Find ways to laugh and laugh often.

DEVELOP GOOD SLEEP PATTERNS: Getting a good night’s sleep helps tremendously. If we have difficulty sleeping, we can seek help.

EXERCISE OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Our bodies were designed to move. Keeping active is essential to good health and protecting our joy. We don’t have to go to the gym to be physically active. Simply walking 30 minutes can increase endorphins in our brains and bring us joy.

MAINTAIN HEALTHY BOUNDARIES IN RELATIONSHIPS: Healthy boundaries are essential to good relationships. Talking through issues and knowing when to say yes and how to say no is a skill we all need.

JOURNAL THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR: Thinking of the things we’re thankful for brings us joy, even being grateful for the smallest things like the ability to breathe, helps.

CHEWING GUM: As I was researching stress, this was surprising to learn. Chewing gum promotes blood flow to the brain and reduces stress.

SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS: It’s hard today to spend time with friends but it is vital. Be creative and find alternative ways. Even zoom or face time helps.

HELP OTHERS – VOLUNTEER: When we help others and think of others before ourselves, it leads to joy. So find ways to volunteer or find other ways to help.

PRACTICE FORGIVENESS: When we forgive, it brings us joy. Practice this as often as needed.

APOLOGIZE: If we recognize that we need to apologize, do it quickly.

REMOVE CLUTTER: Look around each room at home or around your workspace and see objectively. If the clutter was removed, would it bring you joy? Then make a decision to change it.

JOIN A TEAM OR GROUP: This helps us socialize and it gives us a sense of belonging which brings us joy.

TALK WITH SOMEONE YOU TRUST: Confiding with a trusted friend or a pastor or a life coach is so helpful to protect joy.

Being healthy is essential so we can do the things that we enjoy. Practicing these
suggestions in this series will keep us healthy and happy.

When I was researching managing stress, I found that taking an Epsom salt bath or
soaking our feet lowers our adrenaline and if it’s scented, that’s an added bonus.
Epsom salt is Magnesium and Magnesium relaxes our muscles which reduces
stress.

I also learned to my delight that eating Dark Chocolate helps lower stress. I found
that it’s Dark chocolate and not Milk chocolate that helps. So when we recognize
we’re getting stressed, we can break off a piece, or if it’s really bad, just eat the
whole thing. It’s nice to know it’s good for us.

We all want more peace and joy with less stress in our lives. So when we spend
time with God and slow down enough to hear Him, we have the assurance of Him and
His promises which bring us joy.

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.