Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to Kiss Stress Good-Bye!

The last few months have been exceptionally hectic for my family. Between homeschooling, ministry, building a house, short-term mission groups, writing, and life in general, I sometimes find myself feeling that all I do is run from early morning to late at night.

It doesn’t really matter what your job is or what you are going through at the moment, we all understand and experience stress on a daily basis, both good and bad.

As I grow older, I've noticed that it is essential to find both quiet and balance in all the chaos. Especially when my 'jobs' are never ending. For example, as a writer, between writing, brainstorming, editing, and marketing, and social networking my job is never finished. And that is just one segment of my life! 

Seth Godin has a great blog post on Dancing on the Edge of Finished that really got me thinking about how while it might be true that there is always one more things to do, my life should be "a dance, not an endless grind." It started me thinking about the importance of finding that balance in my life.

So here are nine things I'm trying to implement to help kiss stress good-bye!

Learn To Say No: Michael Hyatt recently had a blog post dealing with the importance of saying no. We can only do so many things in a day, and as hard as it might be, sometimes we have to say no.

Delegate: Are your kids old enough to take on extra responsibilities around the house? Can you call on a friend to help you out on a project? It’s easy to want to keep that control and do it all ourselves, but there is also a blessing in having others pitch in and help.

Exercise: I always see a difference in the way I feel when I stick to my exercise routine. I feel better, I’m healthier, and more relaxed. Exercise can improve so many aspects of our lives both mentally and physically by improving our mood, combatting disease, and boosting our energy.

Positive Self-talk: I’ve been amazed at how many time the Bible talks about the importance of our thoughts. Paul says in Philippians 4:8 that we should be thinking about things that are true, pure, and lovely. He also says in 2 Corinthians 19:5 to take captive every captive and make it obedient to Christ.

Keep in Tune with the Spirit: In connection with positive self-talk, it is important to look at what are we filling our minds with? If we are filling our minds with constant negativity from the media and television, it’s hard to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and his active roll in our lives.

Remember You’re not Superwoman or Superman: (And you don't have to be.) It’s so easy to compare ourselves with others, and believe that we have to do it all ourselves. We look at others around us and feel as if we fall short when we can't keep up. Putting reasonable expectations on ourselves is essential to cutting out stress. 

Prioritize: Have you ever heard the old expression, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." It means that when you are facing an overwhelming situation that feels too big to handle, you need to take a deep breath and don't panic. My own kids, for example, start to panic when they find out they have to write a research paper, until I tell them not to focus on the overall goal, but instead the mini-steps they will take to get there. Break things down into small pieces. One thing at a time. One day at a time. It really does make a difference.

Laugh more: I have some good friends who send me links to funny You Tube videos because they know how important laughter is. The saying is true that laughter is the best medicine!

1     What about you? I’ll be off line through the weekend, but would love to hear from you when I get back about what helps you handle stress. 

LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award nominated author who has over twenty novels and novella collections in print. She and her husband, Scott, along with their three children, live near the Indian Ocean in Mozambique as missionaries. As a homeschooling mom, life can get hectic, but she sees her writing as an extension of her ministry which also includes running a non-profit organization The ECHO Project. To find out more about her books you can visit her website.


  1. Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for the great tips. I know that being too rushed for long does my head in. Strangely, I think it helps to remember what Seth Godin said, that we need to accept that we're never 'finished' and dance gracefully on.

  2. I go with laugh more. Just this Saturday I shocked a friend by revealing my age. She was sure I was ten years younger. (stop and preen here :-0) Then she asked for my secret. I think laughing is part of the secret.

  3. Thank you very much. These are very helpful. I needed this right now. ~Carley

  4. Love that picture, Lisa! Oh, yes, it's all about focus--but that seems to be getting harder. I often told my kids when they were all at home, "There's only one of me!" I don't think they liked hearing that--now they have children of their own, they'll understand.

  5. Thanks to all of you for stopping by and commenting. Dealing with stress isn't easy, but may we all dance gracefully on. And love the laughter reminder as well as it is so important!