Are you wound up a little too tight?  No big thing is really wrong, but every fiber of your being feels slightly undone, slightly at loose ends?  We all know there’s a level of stress that’s actually good for us, but what about that not so good level?  What do you do when you’re an ocean of emotion that feels on the brink of disaster?  As we close in on another big holiday, perhaps it’s good timing to look at some stress buster ideas, ways to remain at peace so we can actually see the Star that leads the way to Bethlehem.

Remembering to breathe is one of my first stress busters.  That’s right, make sure you’re actually breathing in and out, catching quiet moments to watch the waves of life and observe its flow in regular rhythms.

The next thing is to stretch…yes, reach for the sky!  Reach for your toes…slowly, intentionally, focusing on the beauty around you, the music in the background, the breeze through the window.  Watch the trees bending or the flowers dancing, but stretch and breathe and stretch and breathe.  Bending is so much better than breaking!

After that, try centering your heart and mind in an attitude of prayer or meditation.  Sit quietly and give God a chance to be God.  Be still and let Him hold you up, embrace your spirit and strengthen your heart.  Stretch your imagination so that it doesn’t stop until it is resting at His feet, breathe in the beauty around you and just be there, calmly and wholly in that moment.

When you’re ready to talk, share all the things that are weighing you down.  Write them on a list or add them to your journal pages.  Writing out your concerns gives you a place to put them that feels better than when you cram them down to your toes.  As you look at the list, select each one and send it away in prayer, knowing that you have done what you can, trusting that God will not rest until all is well with you.

Finally, for me, it’s always a matter of doing something else that keeps my mind busy.  Writing helps me, but so does taking a long walk, visiting with a friend over coffee, taking a nap, doing something out of my usual routine like creating a new recipe, or surfing the internet to learn something I don’t know much about.  Listening to music helps.  Diversion can be a good thing.

Whatever your stressbusters are, and please feel free to share them, find those things that help to give you emotional balance, mental stimulus in a positive way, or more energy. Ultimately you’re searching to have more faith in the fact that God is still in control and you matter to Him in every way.  You’re searching for peace…the very thing we wish for each other every Christmas.

I love holidays, they are precious and beautiful to me, especially the Christmas season.  Preparing to move is so stressful at this time of year.  You can be sure that I will be breathing, stretching, praying, and diverting my emotional threads daily to find the place of peace God has for me.  If you’re not moving at this season, then pack up all your cares and woes anyway and carry them to Bethlehem.  Give them up this Christmas to the One who came so that you could see the Star overhead and the magnificent light that always leads the way.  It shines even now for you!

  1. Mark Bowers says:

    Karen,

    I agree, it is refreshing to see that I am not alone, dealing with stress or pain this way. For me, working out or running while prayerfully thinking is very good. It often leads to inspiration for a new piece of art. The pursuit of that new idea is a huge stress buster and very fulfilling for me and the art is enjoyed by others. In other words, get to a state of mind where you can listen, then do something about it.

    I think God is more interested in changing us to change things than He is in just zapping our problems away. Our change is far more important and the greater miracle.

    Mark

    • Karen says:

      Mark, thanks for your thoughts on this. I guess whenever God can convince me to change my thinking or my direction, that almost feels like the miracle. May you be blessed with an empowered and joyful December. Karen

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