Lady Lydia Speaks
Reducing Stress with Peaceful Living
By Mrs. Stanley Sherman
May 23, 2005 - 8:33:00 PM
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In these times, most people have more stress than they can handle. While we cannot always control the demands or stresses put upon us by others, there are ways to reduce the stress we put on ourselves. Here are a few things that might help:
Develop Orderliness: Feelings of anxiety and loss of control occur when the disorder reigns in your domain. Your house, front porch, and yard may need some sprucing up, and the only way to get it done is to work at it. If you lack motivation, just take a tour of some orderly homes and get inspired. You will return with a renewed interest in making yours the best it can be. To prevent further chaos, get in the habit of automatically picking up and cleaning "as you go." Keeping your home hospitality-friendly, will reduce the stress that comes upon you when someone arrives at your door unexpectedly. You won't have to turn your good friends away, if you'll automatically pick up after yourself. Avoid leaving a trail of clutter, and develop the habit of orderliness in every part of your life, including your purse and the car. At the end of the day, put things away, and the next day will not begin with stress.
Reduce Personal Commitments and Cut Back on Your Schedule: Too many outside activities can draw attention away from the real tasks at hand: our homes and families. If you are a high achiever or have a skill in something, there will always be the temptation to take on too much. There will be those who will put pressure on you to do something. You can politely show that you are booked up for a season of time, as you need some rest and recreation. Some women have benefited by giving themselves a month free from activities and obligations, to do only the things that contribute to their relaxation and peace of mind.
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Some of the stress we feel has to do with the speed of our modern world. Instant changes from car to stores, back to car, to appointments here and there thoughout the day can create stress. Our minds barely have time to catch up to these sudden movements. By doing more things at home, or making your outings more recreational, you may find that your anxiety and stress are considerably reduced. Our forebears made less trips to town and engaged in fewer social obligations and did not seem to suffer, on the whole, from the stresses we encounter today. It is possible to study and learn at home, shop at home, recreate at home, and eat at home. If home is a source of stress, catch up on your work, reduce the clutter, make it clean, orderly, beautiful, and peaceful. Making your home the most desirable place to be can reduce stress immeasureably.
Put Beauty in Your Life: Get rid of clothing and household things that depress you. Drink out of a beautiful glass or cup. Beauty can be found in many things, from details of a hand towel to the arrangement of a room. Adorn your home with scenes that are soothing, and surround yourself with the colors and objects that bring a feeling of deep, settled peace. When you find yourself irritated or depressed, look around your house and see if there is disorder or lack of harmony in the physical things that surround you.
Pathway by Cao Yong from AllPosters.com
Eliminate Unnecessary Noise and Disturbing Reading Material: Not only are radio, television, web-news, machinery, and other noises irritating, but the constant barrage of information can create stress. You may not be aware that just because something makes the news, it does not mean the public needs to hear about it. The news media consist of organizations which pick and choose what they want to report. They often repeat a disturbing story many times, which heightens a feeling of depression or stress. Just as filling the body full of rotten food will make it sick, so allowing the mind to be filled with reports of moral failure, violence, fear of the future, and personal defeat will not result in good mental health or emotional stability. Usually the news reports are followed by various ads for pharmacueticals --perhaps to make us feel better after giving us all that bad news.
Try getting rid of all media for a few days. Notice that you still had to do your daily work and live your normal routine, and that life goes on, even without a steady diet of media news. Bad news and distasteful reports create more nervousness and promote a feeling of hopelessness. Media reports of this type can reduce our productivity and our success in life. If you truly want to have less stress, try "fasting" from media until your nerves settle down. When a stressful thought enters your mind, replace it with a prayer. Some news may be necessary, but we can live without most of it.
Fill your home with good, useful information. Beautiful, high quality books and reading materials will help your mind feast on "whatsoever things are lovely..." (Philippians 4:8). When the heart is filled with good things, the countenance of the face will reflect it. Emotional stability is improved by good reports.
Pro 15:30: The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat.
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Dress Your Best Every Day: Experiments have been done among people who were depressed. Half of them were given a prescription to dress up, fix their hair, and put on perfume. The other half were left in their pyjamas or lounge clothes. At the end of a few days, those who were dressing better had improved moods and outlooks on life, while the other half were more depressed. You don't have to depend on official "studies" to see if this is true; just try it yourself, and take note. While clothing won't change all the bad circumstances in your life, dressing well will improve your attitude and you'll have increased confidence to deal with problems. And it doesn't take money to dress neatly, simply, and beautifully.
Participate in Calming Activities: Take a good look at the things you do, and decide how you could eliminate the stressful things that leave you feeling anxious or tired, then add the things that give you life and lift your mood. For a time, eliminate those things which put extra stress on you.
Say Lovely Things. Remember that what goes into the mind is what will end up on the face and come out of the mouth. Ugly thoughts can ruin your day. Practice good mental health by thinking good, positive thoughts of praise. On your lips carry prayer and thanksgiving, which produces calmness. You will notice more stress on the days when you have complained or criticised. Each time one of these thoughts enters your mind, there is a danger of entertaining it. The longer that discouraging thoughts are dwelt upon, the more damage they do to your emotional health. Try for one hour to put aside critical thoughts as they enter your mind. Look at your clock every hour and remind yourself to think and say something good. Expand this to a day. Examine your emotional disposition. Put away bad thoughts by substituting thoughts of thankfulness and words of compliments to others.
Summertime II by Carolyn Shores Wright from AllPosters.com
Honor Parents: Strained relationships can result in stress. If you had parents whom you consider inadequate, or if you are in some way estranged from them, at least do not say anything bad about them. If you practice only saying good things, it will reduce your stress considerably. As they see your attitude change into a less critical person, they will reduce the tension they direct towards you. (One way to reduce criticism is to remember that you have not been perfect in everything, either.) Notice that the Bible says we must honor our parents. It doesn't say what kind of parents, so it doesn't matter if you didn't have perfect parents. Some people want "made to order" parents who fit all their own requirements, but whether or not they were excellent is beside the point. In many cases where there is stress in a person's life, it can be discovered that there is a dishonoring attitude toward parents. Most of this stress can be eliminated by simple acts of honor: only speaking well of them, complimenting their good points, appreciating something about them, and remembering them not just on their birthdays/anniversaries, but making other days special for them. Imagine yourself having gone to great efforts for your own children, only to have them ignore you in your old age, and you can understand this principle better.
Eat Natural Foods: Eat foods as close to their natural form and source as you can. A sliced apple is better for you than apple cake, and a salad is better than a candy bar. Many vegetables are better in cooked form, as certain nutrients are released during cooking, but some raw produce should be included in your diet. You will enjoy the flavor of vegetables and fruits if you have your own garden. The closest to home that you get your food, the better it will taste, and the better the nutritional value will be.
Our cars require certain types of oil in them, and we cannot just put any cheap thing into them and expect them to run smoothly. Our bodies are more important than our cars. Green vegetables, fresh fruit, and berries are like the oil for the car; they will keep your body running smoothly. Food with additives (sodiums, bleached flours and sugars, artificial flavors and sweeteners) contribute to the stress in our lives. Often, processed foods are so tasteless that it takes more and more of them to satisfy us. This results in weight-gain, illness, and lethargy. Your body is your vehicle, your machinery, or set of tools, that you need for your life's work. Unlike tools, however, it cannot be replaced, so treat it carefully, with the renewing properties of good nutrition, plenty of rest, water, and peaceful living.
Natural food is designed for the human body to process (pharmacueticals are not necessarily designed to go into the body without side effects and often are not compatible with certain foods), and will go a long way to reducing stress. Some people find it helpful to eat cake only at special occasions, instead of having it available at home. If you will see that your plate contains mostly vegetables, your health will improve and your anxiety will diminish.
Splendid Table by Cao Yong from AllPosters.com
Be Creative Every Day: If, at the end of the day, you feel frustrated and nervous, recall if you have been creative. Arts, crafts, sewing, and home decorating are wonderful ways to relieve stress if you don't treat them like "must dos" and make work out of them. There are also ways to be creative in something as simple as clearing off a table or washing dishes. There are many ways to do tiresome tasks cheerfully and creatively. To be creative is to allow the hands to busily engage the mind, which takes it off worrisome things. Just moving arrangements on the mantel of your fireplace, re-arranging something to make it more beautiful, or sweeping the front porch can do wonders for an anxious mind. Be careful not to set quotas for yourself or make your creative activities into stressful tasks. Put them away when they become stressful rather than pleasureable.
Don't Make Homeschooling Stressful: If it becomes a source of contention, rather than a source of joy, put it away and focus on learning in a different manner. Quiet time, arts and crafts, exploring, orderliness, and serving others are also learning areas that can be explored. Homeschooling should be a source of great joy for both the parents and the children, as they develop close relationships with each other. Eliminate studies that have no personal meaning, and you will see a reduction in stress.
Momma's Singer by Lorraine Brewer from AllPosters.com
Accept the Necessary Stress: There will be stress in our lives, but it can be used to learn the lessons needed to live properly. If we suffer for doing wrong, we must learn from it and not complain. Our houses get messy and our relatives may be out of sorts with us, but if any of it is our fault, we must admit it and change our ways. When one fault is corrected, we may become forgetful and slide back, and the stress will return. Some stress is necessary in order to refine us, and we must bear it without complaining. (Complaining only adds to unnecessary stress.) There is no stress on earth that has not already been endured by people before us. Keep that in mind, and take courage from their endurance. Accept adversity as a challenge, and welcome the stress that comes with it. A certain amount of stress is normal and necessary. There will always be worrisome things going on that we can do nothing about, and learning to distinguish between what is necessary and what is unnecessary will reduce the level of tension we feel.
On the Porch by William Chadwick from AllPosters.com
Get Rid of Personal Bitterness: Sometimes we create stress for ourselves by feeling bitter and unforgiving about difficulties in our lives. I once heard someone suggest that when we harbor resentments, we take on the burden of guilt of others whom we are not forgiving. It certainly does add to our stress. Forgiveness does not mean the other person is right; it just means that we are free. Freeing yourself from bitterness will cause a drop in your level of stress.
Avoid Personal Comparisons: Someone is always going to get something more than you or do better than you. There is no such thing as equality, and there never has been. Everyone is blessed by God in a different way. Some people have more property, but they have more responsibilities and less leisure time. Others living in reduced circumstances might have closer families and less stress. Learn not to compare circumstances. Be happy for the success of others, and "rejoice with those who rejoice." Create beauty and order around you and do your very best, in whatever state you are in. Learn to adjust to abundant times and to lean times in your life.
Phi 4:12: I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Set Aside Quiet Time Each Day: Remove yourself for half an hour each day to rest and be quiet. Your family will come to enjoy these times the most, and you will be passing on to them a good tradition. "...In quietness, and in confidence shall be your strength..." (Isaiah 30:15).
Private World by Dwayne Warwick from AllPosters.com
To increase peaceful living, put order in your life, purity in your soul, beauty in your heart, creativity in your mind, and health in your body.
Listen to the Quiet by Alda Ellis
Perfect Peace and Rest by Thomas Kinkaid
Daily Strength for Daily Needs by Mary W. Tileston
God's Little Promise Book by Word Publishing
A Shepherd's Heart by Paul Brownlow
Leaves of Gold by Brownlow Publishing
Gardens of Delight by Abrams Publishing
© Copyright 2002-2008 by LAF/BeautifulWomanhood.org
reprinted with permission.