5 Quick Steps to Reduce Stress via Michelle Acker .com

Is your stress out of control?

Sometimes we keep our stress levels managed and under control. Other times, stress overwhelms and knocks us for a loop. In future posts, we’ll talk more about managing stress and learning how to Be Still. For today, I just want to share these 5 quick steps to reduce stress when we’re in the thick of it. Because sometimes everything collides on us all at once, we get overwhelmed, and can’t even figure out where to start.

Start here:

These 5 steps are both simple and challenging at the same time.   They are a starting place, a process, and an ongoing battle. It’s not a cure, but it is a great place to start.

Stress Management via Michelle Acker .com

Try this:

  • Slow down. You might have to go as far as to physically or mentally tell yourself, “Slow down, sister.”   The world won’t end if you take a couple of minutes to reduce your stress.  In fact, it’s likely that you’ll end up more productive and better able to face the rest of your day after this exercise. Hint: If it feels like you can’t take the time to do this right now, this is exactly the thing you need to do most. 
  • Breathe. Inhale.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   Exhale. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    Repeat as needed until you feel at least a teeny bit calmer. Hint: If you are feeling rushed and think taking more than one breath will take too much time, go back and start over at step one.  Trust me.  It will be worth your time.
  • Pray. This prayer might come out as “Dear God, help me. I don’t even know where to start.” Or maybe “Dear God, how am I ever going to be able to handle this?”  Whatever your brain is screaming over from being overloaded, that’s the prayer you need. Hint:  No need for this to be an eloquent prayer. It’s a simple plea for help.  Admit you can’t do it all under your own strength, and simply ask God for help. 
  • Listen.  You’ve prayed something like, “God, I can’t do this under my own strength. Help me trust you and follow your lead, one step at a time.” Now listen and see where He points you. What is He telling you to do next? Hint: You have to actually be quiet inside your head and listen for His answer.    
  • Do the next thing. Where was God pointing you when you listened during your prayer?  Just do that next thing and don’t worry about all the things that will come after it. Hint: Focus on one task at a time, and don’t overwhelm yourself with everything you have to do.  Just work your way through bit by bit.

Finished?  Rinse & Repeat

Rinse: Take a minute and rinse the item you just completed off your mental to-do stress list. One less thing on your plate and hanging over your head. Rejoice! Give thanks! Literally. Stop and give thanks.

Repeat: Start over at step one. Hopefully this time you’ll make it past step 2 without having to go back and start over at the beginning, but if you do, that’s okay too. This is a learning process, not a final exam. Trust the process.

Michelle Acker
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