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Stress Relief Techniques

QUESTION: Stress relief techniques - What are they?


Each individual's life may at some time contain events or circumstances that beg for stress relief techniques. Inordinate levels of physical, emotional, or mental strain can produce anxiety and unrelieved tension. When stressful situations occur, however, we need not be overcome by them. Sometimes stress has a beneficial effect if it provokes us to take action, to face and deal with situations that threaten to get out of hand. Maybe our health is in a poor state due to a sedentary lifestyle or poor eating habits. If we find that sickness and disease may be imminent, the stress of that knowledge may enable us to strive for discipline and healthier living. We may always rely upon the help of the Lord when facing such issues. It is sometimes difficult to be disciplined and change our lifestyles, but we can be assured that the Lord is our helper. Philippians 4:13 reminds us in a powerful way that "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

Learning to relax is a key to managing stress. There are many physical stress relief techniques that may aid in bringing the body to rest. Tightening muscles for a few seconds and then releasing them is an exercise that relaxes the body. We may also receive physical rest and relaxation from the hand of the Lord. Psalms 4:8 offers this thought to those of us who suffer from restlessness: "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." If we make an effort to spend time doing something enjoyable with someone we love or are close to, this will ease the mind and bring a modicum of peace and happiness. Spending an enjoyable evening may lift the heart and relieve stress. In the same way, drawing into the presence of the living God and having fellowship with Him assures us of the comfort of His covering and protection. Psalms 91:1-2 states "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

Sometimes the best stress relief technique is simply to clear our minds of all of the issues that cause strain and tension. This is easier said than done. When trouble prevails, it is difficult to think about anything else or even to concentrate. Music can assist us in this; we can listen to peaceful strains or comforting melodies. The Bible lets us know that we can make melody in our hearts and speak to ourselves words of blessing. We can make an effort to focus our thoughts on positive things. Ephesians 5:19b suggests "…Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord." Philippians 4:8 also gives us something better to think about in saying, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." It does us no good to remember wrongs that have been committed against us or evil things from our past. If our sins are forgiven, God does not remember them and neither should we. We must learn to envelope and surround ourselves with good clean thoughts, remembering the goodness of God and His mercy towards us.

The most effective anxiety and stress relief technique is prayer. Whatever the situation, we can and must bring it to God. He is waiting to hear and answer us and provide what we need. He gives us power and grace to endure life's hard situations. Most of all, He grants us His peace. "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" (Philippians 4:6-7).

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