Multiple studies have revealed that faith in God reduces stress. Those who are actively involved in a religious community and have a healthy relationship with their Creator find themselves happier, more relaxed, and at peace – even in a turbulent world.
Why is this?
Ultimately, it is because we know that this earth is only temporary, and we have something amazing to look forward to. When kept in perspective, life’s challenges become far more manageable.
However, managing stress is not a walk in the park - even for Christians. If you find yourself struggling to overcome the pressures you face on a regular basis, consider implementing a few of these practices to strengthen your endurance and peace of mind.
1. Spend daily time in devotion.
Both prayer and scripture are powerful tools worth adding to your daily routine – even before you are stressed. Dwelling on God’s promises (Psalm 1), and spending time sharing your struggles with Him (Psalm 107:28-30) provide a comfort that cannot be matched. When you know that the Creator of the universe is interested in your well-being, even the most difficult situations can be overcome.
2. Join a supportive community.
Churches are not just places to help us learn about God – although that is very important. They are also a place for us to interact with others on the same path. A healthy Christian community gives you a network of people who can support you during hard times (Hebrews 10:25). No man is an island, and having a community to go to for advice and assistance protects us from feeling isolated and alone.
3. Exercise regularly.
The body is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19). By keeping ourselves healthy, we are better prepared for all of life’s challenges. Researchers consistently discover links between exercise and reduced stress. The next time life feels overwhelming, consider going out for a jog, visiting the gym, or just taking a moment to do a few jumping jacks to boost your heart rate.
4. Eat healthfully.
Your diet plays a huge role in affecting your mood. Unfortunately, the foods we usually go to when stressed (caffeine, sugar, alcohol) can actually increase our stress levels (1 Corinthians 6:12). Furthermore, correlations have been made between specific allergies, like gluten intolerance, and stress. If you find your energy levels low, even after eating, it may have to do with your diet. Add the right fuel to your body, and you’ll have the energy to overcome many stressors.
5. Get enough sleep.
If you are not getting at least 7 hours of sleep a day, you could be slowly eating away at your ability to cope with stress. Sleep is as critical as exercise and diet when it comes to overcoming stress. In fact, it is recommended that getting enough sleep should be one of your top priorities when life gets hard (Mark 2:27).
Stress comes from trying to manage more than we can handle – whether in work, relationships, or our personal lives. While there are many causes, one of the biggest is a need to feel accepted and valued. It is easy to associate our success and productivity with our worth. As Christians, we must remember that this is not necessary.
We are valued for who we are.
We are children of a loving God who has a positive plan for our lives.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).’”