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24 November - What do you do when you feel stressed out?

Recognising what you are stressed about is key to dealing with unhealthy levels of stress. This is why Jesus wants us to come to him when we are stressed so that he can help us deal with and work through what we are feeling anxious about.

Some common stress factors are:

Anxiety often stems from feeling out of control in an area of your life. Instead of getting anxious, seek to determine the things you can control and hand over the rest to Jesus. He cares for you and doesn't expect you to handle life alone. (1 Peter 5:7)

Fear – of what might happen, often stemming from what is happening in the world or regarding your family members, job, school, finances, and health creates stress.

Fear is something which God knew you would struggle with if you didn't keep your eyes fixed firmly on him, which is no doubt why He said, "Fear not" over 365 times in the Bible…once for every day of the year. (Isaiah 41:10)

Expectations – Take the "should" out of your vocabulary and others' speech towards you. Instead, focus on doing and being who God says you are, which you'll see him talking about in the Bible, rather than allowing yourself to crumble under expectations.

Trying to do too much – You are far more capable of handling life than you give yourself credit for. However, there are areas in all of us where growth is necessary to be able to increase our capacity and manage life, and it's challenges better. Follow God's lead; he will help you gradually lift your capacity to handle new and bigger things.

Family or relationship issues – Put Jesus in the centre of all you say and do, and He will help you have healthy, loving relationships.

It's also important to choose to share and communicate how you feel, set healthy boundaries, and learn to say "No".

A no-win situation – Stress can worsen when you feel you don't have a solution to a problem. God will always make a way and work everything out for your good. It may not seem like it in the middle of the trial, but He is faithful and will turn things around if you keep walking with Him.

Not looking after ourselves. Adequate sleep, exercise and eating well are so important to combating stress. When you aren't sensible with the basics, unwanted stress appears, and you also put yourself at risk of sickness.

Today what is causing your stress? Take some time to sit with God and search your thoughts and heart.

Below is a list of healthy coping techniques to do when you feel stressed out so that you can start to feel better and can then find space to deal with any deeper issues and causes.

Be creative – draw, colour, cook or build something

Unplug from technology and get outside

Read a book

Listen to your favourite (uplifting) music

Hydrate – Drinking enough water and staying hydrated, like getting enough sleep, directly affects your cortisol levels and can reduce stress.

Hang out with a pet or animal friend

Ask for help and share with people who can give you love and support.

Make a plan to move forward rather than feeling stuck in your situation. God always has a way forward and people to help you get there.

Think of happy memories and God's promises about your life

Talk nicely about your life and situation – Practice positive self-talk.

Exercise, stretch, and breathe.

Clean and de-clutter – a clean, uncluttered environment will help you relax and breathe.

Journal or write a letter – get all those thoughts out of your head and on paper. Clarity about how you are feeling brings peace and direction

Be thankful and express gratitude.

Focus on the good.

God promises that He will be with you and never leave or forsake you. Reach out to Him, and He will hold and support you all the way, put some practical de-stressor keys into place and God's peace and rest will start to replace the stress.

Jesus said, "Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways, and you'll discover that I'm gentle, humble, and easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear." (Matthew 11:28-30 TPT)

"God, you're such a safe and powerful place to find refuge! You're a proven help in times of trouble – more than enough and always available whenever I need you. So we will never fear even if every structure of support were to crumble away. We will not fear even when the earth quakes and shakes, moving mountains and casting them into the sea. For the raging roar of stormy winds and crashing waves cannot erode our faith in you." (Psalm 46:1-3 TPT)

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your goodness and care of me. I give over the things I am worrying and stressing about today and trust you to take care of and work everything out for my good. Please help me to do the things that will help me today to stress less and enjoy my day. In Jesus name Amen.

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