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De-Stress Before You Distress

Lesleigh Keetch

Stress Makes You a Mess!

Besides these great suggestions from veteran children's ministers, remember that things such as proper nutrition, enough sleep, and regular exercise can also help reduce your stress level. Here are more quick-fix ways to send stress packing.

  • Hydrate. Drink the recommended amount of water every day. Forego sodas and sugary drinks in favor of H2O.
  • Abstain. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and sugar as much as possible-especially during deadlines and intense times.
  • Rest. Soothe yourself to sleep by concentrating on these four questions: What colors do I see right now? What sounds do I hear right now? What things can I physically feel right now? What do I need to do or think about right now? These "right now" questions help you focus on the present and not get caught up in the "what ifs" of the future.
  • Exercise. Walk to change your scenery, stretch to get your blood flowing again, take a few deep breaths -- all these help you refocus while taking a needed break.
  • Confront. Face the source of your tension. Sometimes it's someone else; sometimes it's you. Whoever the culprit is, take steps to relieve the situation and prevent it from happening again.
  • Recognize. Learn to recognize what triggers your stress and how you can minimize its effects. An inability to say no is a common trigger. Most of us find it difficult to say no in our effort to please others.
  • Apologize. If you lash out during a high-stress moment, acknowledge your behavior and ask for forgiveness.
  • Communicate. Learn to communicate your feelings honestly to avoid feelings of frustration and anger and reduce your overall stress.
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