By the Reverend Dr. Ray Wm. Smith,
National Board-Certified Counselor and Coach
“Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at one time or another. The difference between them is that stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress.” 1
Stress and anxiety have been linked to many psychological, physical, and marital problems. Most people accept their work environment and its pressures can generate stress and anxiety, however, “home sweet home” can also trigger stressful and anxious feelings. Stress at home can come from many sources, like a crying baby or the mail bringing too many bills. Even daily and weekly chores can produce stress, like laundry and dishes piling up.
Reducing stress at home begins with recognizing you’re experiencing some stress:
- Physical signs – headaches, light-headedness, rapid breathing and heartbeat, sweaty palms, dry mouth, stomachaches and trouble sleeping or concentrating;
- Emotional signs – depression, anxiety, nightmares, crying spells or feeling unable to cope;
- Behavioral signs – irritability, impatience, anger, aggression, social isolation, lack of energy, changes in appetite, loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed, boredom, significant alcohol or drug use and diminished sex drive.2
Here are some proven tips to deal with anxiety and stress:
- Accept you cannot control everything: look at your stress from the 30,000 feet perspective, is it as bad as you might imagine? Are you taking something too personally? Are you anxious about something you fear will become permanent? Are you stressed about one thing you fear is pervasive in all your life?
- In Cub Scouts I promised to do my best; I still like that anxiety busting plan to do your best rather than perfectionism, then be proud no matter how close to excellent you get.
- Be positive (it’s not a blood type!): you can notice a negative thought producing negative feelings, dispute the irrational negativity with a positive truth, like, “I’ll be okay!”
- Grow aware of your triggers: what is it you see, hear, or touch giving you stress and anxiety? When you find a pattern, train yourself to have a different response. “Today I’ll trust God.”
- Take care of your body:
- limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine, and sugar; instead drink lots of water
- eat light and eat right to have the right fuel, including protein snacks
- get enough sleep and rest so no matter what happens tomorrow, you can handle it
- exercise daily so you feel good, strong and proud to boost your immunity
- Practice mindfulness (and “body-fulness”):
- When stressed, at least you can control your breathing by inhaling slowly.
- When angry, use Thomas Jefferson’s idea to count to 10 and calm down.
- When anxious, find people worse off and serve them altruistically.
- When going too long, put yourself in “time-out” to relax, pray and gain perspective.
- When overwhelmed, take a screening on your frequency, duration, intensity at https://healthycounselingcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/2019-04-20-Blog-on-anxiety-symptoms.pdf
- When feeling alone, call Healthy Counseling Center at 509.466.6632.
I think original sin is selfishness (Adam and Eve wanted to have their way to open their eyes). When I feel stressed and am anxious about what might happen to me, the focus of my thoughts and feelings is on me, myself and I (not Father, Son and Spirit). By training yourself, you can keep the focus on the Lord and others, serving and giving instead of ruminating and brooding in your head.
Would you like more help with anxiety and stress? You can use TeleHealth from the privacy of your home to bring help to you; call 509-466-6632 to Healthy Counseling Center to arrange a convenient appointment for you.