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Wednesday, October 31, 2012




Common Sense Ways of Living Life With Less Stress

By Pastor Mark Taylor

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:33-34)

In Part One of these messages on “Living A Life With Less Stress”, we discussed the fact that stress is in all our lives and it is not healthy.  We mentioned that leaning how to relax and taking control of our lives will help us reduce stress in our lives.  Because our Lord wants us to live with less stress, we need to look at ways to accomplish this important life skill.

If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn’t present itself in the future. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.  If you can’t change the person or thing that is stressing you, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.

Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.  

Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective.

Adjust your standards. Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.” 

Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control— particularly the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.

Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments. Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on.  “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Prov. 14:30)

Adopt a healthy lifestyle.  You can increase your resistance to stress by strengthening your physical health.  Exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. 

Eat a healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day.

Have a good support system.  Church, family and positive people can help you reduce stress in your life  “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the House of the Lord” (Psalms 122: 1).    God’s House should be a place where people are happy and joyful and can encourage each other.

Accept your personality, don't try to alter it. Instead, learn to manage your strengths and weaknesses. Likewise, stop chastising yourself for past mistakes. Learn from them - then let them go. Remind yourself of God ability when He created you and gave to you your special gifts and abilities.  “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works..” (Psalm 139:14)

Self-talk is one way to deal with stress. We all talk to ourselves; sometimes we talk out loud but usually we keep self-talk in our heads. Self-talk can be positive ("I can do this" or "Things will work out") or negative ("I'll never get well" or "I'm so stupid").  “And be not drunk with wine in excess; but be filled with the Holy Spirit;  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heat to the Lord;  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Ephesians 5: 18-20.
Negative self-talk increases stress. Positive self-talk helps you calm down and control stress. With practice, you can learn to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. For example:  Instead of saying “I can’t do this”; say “I will do my best”.  Instead of saying “Everything is going wrong.”, say “I can handle things if I take one step at a time”; or I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).  Instead of saying “I don’t know how I am going to make it”, say to yourself God’s Words:       “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”  (Philippians 4:19). 
Another way to reduce stress in your life is simply not to argue with people who have different views from you and are convinced they are right and you are wrong.  This can be in the area of politics, religion, and social issues.  If you are convinced that your views are in line with God’s Word, the Lord Jesus has given us some very good advice.  “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” (Matthew 7:6).  Save the wisdom God has given you to give to those who are searching for the truth that comes from above.
Finally, and probably the most important way to reduce stress in your life is simply to  seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).  If you are living a life that is in line with God’s Word, and you are trying to please the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be “too blessed to be stressed”
Jesus said: “Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls” (Matthew 11:29).  Our minds are very important to God.  He wants you and I to develop them to be used for His service. “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”  (2 Timothy 2:15).  God wants you to be wise and to make good decisions.  

Start today using one or more of these steps that God has shown you to live a life with less stress.  You will be happier and be a greater positive influence on others, and bring honor and glory to your Heavenly Father.

(For more video and written sermons by Pastor Mark Taylor go to: