Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Take a deep breath...then another...and another

This is sad to admit, but I was voted "Most Stressed" as a Senior in High School.  And unfortunately the title fitted me well.  I WAS stressed and did stress out about everything.  Every possible scenario was played in my head, and I came up with things that never would happen.  But those big "what-ifs" were always lurking and I was a stress magnet.  I was constantly worried about tests, friends, work, and all the other problems involved with being a teen.  I worked long hours at a very hard job; I took hard classes like Physics and Calculus; I stayed up late studying and worrying.  I do not regret the hard work, it has help make me who I am today, but I do regret not having a better plan to handle the stress.  I did have faith in God to get me through, and I would post Phil 4:13 everywhere in my site, but I still overreacted time and time again to the worries of life.

In college the stress continued.  There was a class every semester that made me cry on a regular basis.  It was a computer class the first semester, Biology the second, Accounting the third, Chemistry the fourth, an Economics my fifth and sixth and seventh.  I was not an Economics fan, but for my major 4 courses were required.  Now, keep in mind, 5-6 of any one course could gain you a "Minor" in that subject, but I refused to take one more of those hideous classes.  I could do without a "Minor" in the dreaded subject. (No offense to any economics lovers out there.)  

But, the last few semesters, I found my reliance on God strengthening.  I realized in my maturity (I know, you can't really be too mature at 20, but I was definitely more mature than I was at 17) that He did have it all under control.  I am not saying I let my "stressing out" moments completely vanish from my life, for there are times even now that anxiety can rear its ugly head, but I really started handing my stress over to God.  I took a Stress Management course my very last semester, and the techniques I learned truly did help as well.  The problem with handling stress is, you have to practice those techniques in order for them to be effective.  I could not just learn them and expect them to help me without any effort on my part.  My favorite stress relieving exercise was the deep breathing...and with all that said...our final step 8 in our healthy V-8 plan is taking 10 deep breaths every day!

Try it now...10 long, deep and cleansing breaths.  

I know you have to be patient...but it will relax you!

Breathing is vital for living.  But are we so busy living in warp speed that we never slow down and take the deep breaths needed to relax and focus and stop stressing out.  When you feel stress or anger or anxiety creeping in...STOP...PRAY AND THEN BREATH DEEPLY!  

A few years ago my husband had to have a simple outpatient procedure involving kidney stones.  I had thought I was handling everything well, but when they rolled him away I couldn't stop crying.  I prayed and calmed down.  I decided to go to the gift shop to get my mind off of things and the Lord put a little book in my hand that was perfect for that time in my life.  It was called "Your're Late Again Lord" by Karon Phillips Goodman.  She explained a breathing technique that got me through many trials that were ahead in the coming year.  It involved breathing in deeply and saying "In with His peace" and breathing out and saying "Out with my worries".  I used it constantly in stressful situations and still use it to this day.  I have expanded on below are some phrases you can use when you are taking your daily deep breaths.

1 – In with His peace, out with my worries!
2 – In with His grace, out with my sins!
3 – In with His guidance, out with my anxieties!
4 – In with His forgiveness, out with my shame!
5 – In with His mercy, out with my guilt!
6 – In with His fellowship, out with my loneliness!
7 – In with His comfort, out with my strife!
8 – In with His love, out with my hurt!
9 – In with His joy, out with my anger!
                       10– In with His strength, out with my weakness!

I hope these phrases fill your hearts with a calm and gladness, knowing that our GOD loves us unconditionally.  Let Him help you today.  Give Him your stresses and worries today.  Breath in His Peace today.

I added a new tab with a cheat sheet and verses for each step we discussed.  I hope you will take the time to breath today, and I hope you have enjoyed the eight healthy steps.  

Today's verses - I had to share two
"My meditation of him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the LORD." Ps 104:34
"Seek the LORD, and his strength:  seek his face evermore." Ps 105:4

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