It's easy to live and preach our Christian faith when we're enjoying a smooth-sailing life. But when our days get busy, hectic, and anxious, we may not even realize that we're running low on faith. At times, we even find ourselves getting pulled towards unpleasant habits such as cursing, getting angry, and being unkind -- all because we're stressed.
Pause. Take a deep breath. It may not be easy to remember this at first, but our faith in God is actually a powerful way to beat stress. How do we translate this in our daily lives? Here are practical, doable ways to remain a calm Christian in stressful times.
1. Surround yourself with positive influence.
Take a look at the people you spend the most time with. Do they inspire, encourage, and support you to manage your life better? Do they exemplify a productive yet God-centered life? Whether they're your family, friends, or colleagues, choose to be around people who influence you positively.
You may also seek help from them when you need it, such as in delegating your chores or comforting you when you feel anxious. Then, by their example, you can also learn to provide help to others when you are able.
2. Get a Bible boost.
One of the simplest tips to stay calm with Christ is to fill yourself with uplifting verses from the Scriptures. Some wonderful verses to start off with:
It helps to bookmark these verses in your Bible and take a few minutes each day to reflect on them. You could also surround yourself with encouraging Bible quotes as decor for your home and office. The wall art above features a timeless Psalm that can sooth your mind and spirit.
3. Listen while you work.
Christian music offers plenty of songs with powerful, stress-busting lyrics. There are also so many instrumental pieces that put you in a peaceful state of mind. Put these songs in a personal playlist to listen to while you work, do chores, commute, or run errands. One playlist we recommend is this three-hour YouTube compilation of meditation music paired with Bible verses.
4. Watch what you absorb.
Christian music may be helpful, but it's only one subset of an entire world of media out there -- and much of the media that comes to us may be detrimental. For instance, we are constantly bombarded with profanity and materialism in pop culture, and we often see narcissism and 'humble-bragging' on social media. Apart from drawing us close to un-Christian like attitudes, these kinds of content can add to the chaos that's making us stressed.
Take note of the television shows, songs, and internet content you encounter daily. As much as possible, curate your media consumption so that you are filled only with positive, enriching content.
It's completely doable to stay away from 'black holes' like TV and Facebook, especially when you sense that they're doing you no good. Plus, unplugging frees up more of your time -- which you can then use for more important things.
5. Make "God time" non-negotiable.
There are days when 24 hours just don't seem enough to accomplish all you need to do. Between work, home, and social life, do you still have time to be quiet and alone with God? The key here is to make this your top priority. Reserve several minutes every day in your schedule, and dedicate those precious minutes to prayer and reflection. No matter what, nothing should diminish that time with God. Plan everything else around it. You'll come out in a better state of mind every time.
6. Just say no.
Believe it or not, it's okay to say no every now and then -- especially when you are dealing with so much already. Politely decline less important engagements such as casual parties and promotional offers. When your time and energy are getting used up fast, focus on your priorities, number one of which is God.
The trick here is that you have to first acknowledge that you are already stressed. Many people who are really frazzled don't even realize it. It's important to acknowledge your mental and emotional state, so that you can set limits to what you can take. When you've accepted that you already have too much on your plate, that's the time you can say no to any additional stressors.
7. See what you can change.
Christian professor David Murray has some truly sensible advice for stressed believers: there are factors that we have no control over (life situations), and factors that we can very much control (lifestyle). When it comes to our lifestyle, it is up to us to deliberately assess, change, and improve -- it doesn't just happen passively.
For example, is there anything you can improve in your work processes, in how you eat, or in your money decisions? Are there people in your life you should be spending more time with? Do you have an unhealthy or costly habit that you can eliminate? Be conscious of your lifestyle and take charge of it.
We hope these stress-relieving tips help you stay on track in your faith, as well as in your physical, mental, and emotional health. For more Christian inspiration, browse Christ-focused items at ChristianStyle.com.