Stress – How to Cope Part 2

Table of contents for Stress

  1. Stress – Its Effects on Your Health
  2. Stress – How to Cope
  3. Stress – How to Cope Part 2

Implementing these 6 daily habits will empower you to better cope with stress.

This is Part 2 of steps for coping with stress. Please read the first 5 steps for coping with stress if you missed them by clicking on the link at the beginning of this post. These steps on how to alleviate stress are condensed from Dr. Don Colbert’s book, “The Seven Pillars of Health.”

Guard Your Mental Intake: What enters into your mind affects your health. Many people begin their day listening to national or world news, soap operas, gossipy morning talk shows, or music with negative lyrics. If your day begins by filling your mind with worries about the economy or other people’s problems and/or dysfunctions, you are bound to be stressed before you even get to work! Wisdom from Prov. 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for out of it spring the issues of life.” What you put into your internal being affects every issue of your life. Does your intake create strength and healing? If not, change to positive input.

Breathe Correctly: Proper breathing is one of the best de-stressing techniques and usually the least used. Dr. Colbert tells of asking a paramedic friend what made the different between a trauma patient living or dying. He answered, “I have seen others with significantly less severe injuries die because they simply quit breathing.” Though we are born breathing correctly, abdominal breathing, most of us end up chest and shoulder breathing using short breaths. Our abdomen should rise and fall when we breathe, not our chest and/or shoulders. Abdominal breathing has a calming effect on the brain and nervous system as well as relieving pain, stress, and muscle tension.

To breathe correctly, Dr. Colbert suggests this exercise. Lay on your back with your left hand on the abdominal cavity and the right hand on your chest. Breathe deeply and slowly by expanding your abdominal cavity, without moving your chest. Do this 5-10 minutes per night. Eventually, you will be able to breathe properly throughout the day, even during times of stress.

Meditate on Scripture: The principles put forth in Scripture are intended to limit unnecessary conflict in your life. If you are a person of your word, honest, dependable, treating others the way you want to be treated, you will avoid reaping a harvest of ill-treatment in return. There will occasionally be a person in your path who is bent on destruction with everyone he/she meets, but there is no reason to be continually instigating people’s hostility toward you. Dr. Colbert often prescribes that his patients temporarily eliminate TV, radio, etc., and spend that period of days to focus on memorizing Scripture. He has them do an interesting exercise by quoting 1 Cor. 13:4-8, putting “I” in place of the word “love.” This would result in the following:

I am patient. I am kind. I do not envy. I do not boast. I am not proud. I am not rude. I am not self-seeking. I am not easily angered. I keep no record of wrongs. I do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. I always protect. I always trust. I am always hopeful. I always persevere. I never fail.

De-Clutter the House and Workplace: Clean out and organize the rooms in your house including the garage and your workplace. A lack of clutter reduces stress as well as produces feelings of confidence and control. Studies show that people who have good control over the surroundings of their home and office have far less stress.

Learn the Power of “No”: First, develop in your mind a clear vision for your life. This will help you to identify what goals are actually yours to fulfill your life’s vision and which are other people’s attempt to choose your life’s vision for you. Dr. Colbert explains that you must be assertive (not the same as aggressive) to follow your vision by “being who you are and speaking your feelings, hopes, dreams, and desires confidently without fear of ridicule, reprimand, or punishment.” Being assertive like this with your goals and vision create a good self-image and well-defined personal boundaries. If you are compliant (passive), you usually will do what other people ask of you to avoid conflict. Then the other person’s problems now become yours because you didn’t say, “No!” Saying “No” to what is not good for you and not in line with your desires, goals, or vision eliminates stress by protecting your time and energy-2 things which are of infinite value to your life’s purpose.

Dr. Colbert gives these suggested phrases to help you respectfully say, “No.”

  • I don’t think that is a good idea right now.
  • I’m not available to do that right now.
  • I’m not able to work that into my schedule right now.
  • I have a different set of priorities.
  • I don’t think that is a wise course of action for me.

Choose Positive-Speaking Friends: Surround yourself with positive-speaking people rather than with what Dr. Colbert calls “life-suckers.” Life suckers are people who always feel they’ve been wronged, drain energy out of you, complain consistently, create discouragement in you. These same people usually feel better after talking to you! You may not be able to avoid the person completely, but limit the time you spend with such a person or your life will be filled with unnecessary stress. Negative attitudes are just as contagious as positive ones. If you spend a lot of time with that person, you will also begin to pick up his or her habits. Along that same thought, don’t be your own worst enemy either. Consistently complaining or criticizing yourself–even speaking negative of yourself in your mind—will stress you and drain energy. It is of great importance to your health to love and accept yourself unconditionally.

The research on this topic came from chapter 49 of Dr. Don Colbert’s book, The Seven Pillars of Health. For more detailed reading, see his book, ISBN#1-59185-815-1.

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