Health and Fitness: Stress

HaF1Stress is such a big part of our day-to-day lives. No matter what stage of life you are in, there is often some type of stress that you deal with. Stress can build up, leaving us to worry about how we are going to get everything done that we need to get done. We begin making lists of things that need done, and then the list spills over into tomorrow, adding anxiety and guilt over what could not be accomplished and what still needs done. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (NKJV). So what can we do in order to live like Jesus has instructed us? We must learn to manage that stress in a godly way!


Stress can be simply defined as the effects of outside forces on an individual. This is what you are feeling when you have to handle more than you are used to. Stress can be a good thing and can cause your body to react when in danger. Stress can come from external factors, such as your relationships with others, your job, the environment, and from expectations and situations that you experience every day. Stress also comes from internal factors, such as how you react to outside stressors, your nutritional and fitness status, your emotional well-being, and how much rest your body receives. We can become so stressed that it starts to manifest itself mentally, emotionally, and physically. People under severe stress can suffer sleep disturbances, muscle tension, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, fatigue, nervousness, anxiety, loss of enthusiasm or energy, moodiness, a decreased immune system, and a change in eating habits.

How To Manage Stress

Knowing what is causing you to feel stressed will allow you to manage your stress. Once you know what is causing you stress, look for ways that you can relieve the stress. Ask someone for help if you need it. Organize your schedule and do the most important tasks first, instead of waiting until later or taking on too much. For some, it may be as simple as better organizing your time. Look at the ways you have currently been coping with stress. Are they effective and healthy? Look for better ways to relieve your stress if you don’t feel as though yours are working. Make sure you get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. Surround yourself with people who are a good support system for you. Sometimes just talking through a situation will make things clearer and your tasks may seem more manageable. Most importantly, don’t forget to pray and ask God for help!

Stress Relief

HaF3You will feel so much better if you can find ways to de-stress. You can come up with your own, or use some from the list below. Think about what makes you feel better and what you enjoy doing. Different things work for different people. No matter what you choose, make sure you try out a few things to see what works best for you. As always, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen. has a few suggestions for managing stress:

  • Exercise: regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress.
  • Write: writing can help you get thoughts down on paper and out of your mind, to deal with more efficiently.
  • Let your feelings out: talk, laugh, and cry when you need to with someone that you trust.
  • Do something that you enjoy: a hobby can help you to relax.
  • Learn ways to relax your body: this can include breathing exercises, muscle relaxation exercises, massage, aromatherapy, or yoga.
  • Listen to relaxing music, light candles, and take a bubble bath, read, or laugh.

Stress is part of our everyday lives. How you choose to manage it can determine your health. Let us make sure that we are always looking to God for help and instruction on how He wants us to live. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV).

By Sherri Houmard

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