Three Tips for Dealing With Stress
Do you sometimes feel stressed-out? Stress is a part of everyday life, and managing it is vital. Here are three tips I’ve used that can help you deal with stress.
“I don’t know how much more I can take. I think I’m going to quit.”
This was the internal dialogue I had with myself over two years ago. The company I was working for was undergoing a reorganization, and many of us on the administrative side were being assigned new tasks without proper training while also being charged with training a number of new employees who had just been hired. All of this, in addition to our normal tasks and responsibilities, made many in our department, including me, feel overwhelmed and stressed.
Causes and effects of stress
According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2016 Stress in America™ survey, the top causes of stress for Americans were money (61 percent), work (58 percent) and the economy (50 percent). But, of course, there’s a huge number of other possible stressors. Add it all up, and chances are you have been or are currently stressed about something in your life.
In addition to the mental toll it can take, the effects of stress on our physical well-being can also be damaging. Dr. Katherine C. Nordal, the APA’s executive director for professional practice, said, “We know that chronic stress can take a toll on a person’s health. It can make existing health problems worse, and even cause disease, either because of changes in the body or bad habits people develop to cope with stress. The bottom line is that stress can lead to real physical and emotional health consequences.”
Three tips for dealing with stress
As a result of that stressful period at work, I was able to come away with a number of valuable lessons that have helped me manage periods of stress I’ve experienced since.
From those lessons, here are three tips on dealing with stress:
1. Take it one step at a time
Some of the stress in our lives comes when we feel overwhelmed by the number of responsibilities we have and an apparent lack of time to do them. A helpful strategy to combat this feeling is to “divide and conquer.” Break down what you need to do into individual tasks and, starting with the easiest or simplest, go about completing these tasks one by one.
Like many people, you may find this strategy helps you feel less stressed as you tackle the more difficult tasks, knowing that there’s less to do on your docket. As well, the momentum from completing the easier tasks could be enough to help you complete the remaining tougher ones.
2. Talk with others
Another way stress can originate in our lives is when we face difficult situations and feel alone. One way to counteract this is to talk about what you’re going through with someone you trust. He or she may be able to give you some advice and lend a different perspective on how to deal with what you’re going through.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 speaks about the power of friendship when dealing with difficult situations: “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Though you may think you’re strong enough to get through a tough situation by yourself, it can be beneficial to talk about it with another person. At the very least, it can be cathartic to share what’s stressing you. If you keep it all to yourself, you may explode one day from the pent-up stress you’ve built.
Probably the first and most important thing you can do is pray. You don’t have to face stressful situations alone. You can have the Creator of the universe in your corner!
God has the power to give us peace as we deal with stressful times. Praying in faith can lead to a sense of peace and calm, as noted by the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:6-7: “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.”
God has the power to give us peace as we deal with stressful times. At that point, we may be able to see things more clearly, and solutions to our problems may become more apparent.
Putting it all together
During that stressful time at work, I constantly prayed to God that He would help me deal with all the work I needed to do and to alleviate the stress I was feeling. I also spoke with a couple of coworkers I could confide in. They advised me to talk to my boss about it, something I had not planned on doing, but I trusted them so I took their advice. My boss suggested I use the weekend to step back and reassess if I truly wanted to quit or not.
It was just what I needed. The emotions, stress and sense of being overwhelmed subsided, and I cast aside my misguided notion of quitting. During the next few weeks, I pecked away at my tasks little by little, which slowly reduced the stress I was experiencing until I felt caught up with my work.
After I was past this trial, I reflected on everything that had happened to me as well as how I felt. I gained valuable insight and learned important lessons on how to deal with stress, which I’ve repeatedly drawn on when I’ve felt stressed in the time since.
I learned the effective strategy of taking it one step at a time, the importance of talking with others about our problems and stress, and the power of God to replace our worries and anxieties with His peace when we pray to Him.
Read more about dealing with stress in our articles “Coping With Anxiety,” “Perseverance and the Science of Resilience: Applying Biblical Principles in Trials” and “How to Deal With Fear and Stress.”