If stress burned calories I’d soon be skinny again.

You know you’re stressed when you start getting on your own nerves.

Then there’s that ineffective verbal tranquilizer aimed at the stressed person, “Calm down!” Has someone made a difference by launching that missile your way? If so I would love to hear from you. The expression may be rendered in other verbal conglomerations of equal uselessness:

  • Don’t get your knickers in a knot.
  • Chill!
  • Cool your jets!
  • Don’t get your bowels in an uproar.
  • Shove in your clutch!

A web search for stress cures returns more results than a busy person can navigate and wading through to find helpful tips might lead to more stress. I did that work and read web site after web site. I am certain that many of the writers do not understand stress or the real world so let me provide ten PRACTICAL tips for handling stress. These work for me though your mileage may vary.

1. Number one item to consider when under stress is this amazing fact: Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Use this tidbit as you see fit.

2. My wise Uncle Bob counseled me during an overwhelming season of my life, “You have to make a choice. You can pray. You can take a nap. Or sometimes you do both.” Pray. Take a nap. Do both. I think he’s got a solution. The Psalmist would agree that we have to stop the struggle and realize it’s nap time.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10 KJV

3. Focus on God instead of the turmoil. Sounds spiritual but what does it mean? It helps me to have a couple of favorite passages of Scripture to visit. For example I love Psalm 37, and it only takes a few minutes to regain perspective as I peruse those verses. And while I am reading I am refocusing my mind off the problems at hand and zeroing those thoughts on One who has a plan and power far superior to my own.

4. Budget your time and be militant about it. Often we simply need to say, “No!” Additional commitments or contrived obligations that serve to increase rather than reduce stress exacerbate the problem. Repeat after me, “I cannot do everything myself! I need downtime to survive!”

5. Clean out the garage, storage room, or that junk drawer which will no longer close. Sometimes the accomplishment of exerting control over a small slice of life makes a huge difference in the big picture.

6. Do something physical away from the desk, computer, and phone. Take a walk. Ride a bike. Weed the garden. Let your mind unwind in the moment of the activity. Sunshine and fresh air are crucial to our existence which is why God provided so much of them.

7. Sleep on the dilemma and respond tomorrow if possible. Solutions we derive in those moments of back-breaking stress are rarely ideal. God has designed our supercomputer brains so they chug away on a problem even as we sleep. Many times that huge monster from yesterday becomes a tiny speck with an obvious resolution in the morning light.

I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. 

Psalms 16:7 NLT

8. Break big problems into their smaller components and be realistic about which ones you can conquer. Some things are simply out of our control. Accept that fact.

9. Force yourself to slow down. Give yourself a buffer and arrive at appointments ten minutes early. Use that gift of time to close your eyes and breathe. Drive in the slow lane. Pick the slowest register for check out, but of course at one popular major retailer only one register will be staffed.

10. Pick the best solution you can to the problem, implement it, and don’t second guess yourself. Looking backward too often uses up resources we need for moving forward.

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That’s it. Hope these help.

Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.” 

Isaiah 35:3-4 NASB
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