I was surfing my television channels early one Sunday morning and heard the Rev. Charles Stanley state, “stress is a killer.” It got my attention. His words also caused me to reflect on personal experiences and the lives of others where it was evident that stress is indeed a killer or near killer. It’s interesting that stress is a neutral element, yet it is our reaction to it that creates the challenges that impact our physical and mental well-being, according studies from the John Hopkins School of Education.
Here are my tried-and-true recommendations on how to eliminate negative reactions to life stressors:
1. Identify your perception of any negative stress element impacting your life. Metaphysical teacher and author Louise L. Hay wrote a book, “You Can Heal Your Life” (Hay House) that offers life-changing advice and exercises to pinpoint key stress points. One of my sons had medical challenges that resulted in the loss of his eyesight at age 8. I utilized Hay’s book and similar works by spiritual authors to transform my life, and therefore, his experiences.
2. Do the work. Seek solutions to heal yourself from negative stress.. My college students often complain that they are “under stress” when they study for exams and complete projects. The obvious recommendations are to read the textbooks, ask questions in and out of the classrooms, and work on the projects upon learning of it.
3. Pray and meditate. Find prayers that relate to your circumstances. There are churches that incorporate quiet time/meditation into its services. Hillside Chapel & Truth Center in Atlanta, GA and Unity Eastside in Tallahassee, FL offer in-service meditation. Hillside has an introductory song to its meditation period, “I need to be still … when the people of the world start to push and shove me, I need to be still and let God love me.”
4. Read, post and live affirmations. There are positive and true statements about what you wish to do and who you are. I just posted something on my wall to motivate me to return to my favorite place in life and that is to write. I am honoring this affirmation by blogging, working on scholarly research articles, and finishing a book.
5. Dedicated exercise. My doctor once informed me of horrible blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol numbers. She again informed me to exercise with a purpose. I increased my swimming and walking to at least five times a week, and my stress level was also reduced.
6. Practice the “Five Agreements.” A powerful book written by Don Miguel Ruiz, boasts a subtitle: “A practical guide to self-mastery.” It lives up to its billing. The five agreements are to 1) Be impeccable with your word; 2) Don’t take anything personally; 3) Don’t make assumptions; 4) Always do our best; and 5) Be skeptical, but learn to listen.” Read, listen and practice what Ruiz outlines and our stress will move to zero!
7. Absorb the content on the OWN Network, especially the Super Soul Sunday programming.
Finally, my favorite practice to remain de-stressed: