Recently Jack Freed had this post on his blog, Jacks Winning Words –
“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” (Lily Tomlin) In a devotional book I use, an anti-stress kit is described for those who need “relief.” It contains a rubber band (be flexible), a candy kiss (everyone needs a kiss–encouragement), a life-saver (be a helper), an eraser (we all make mistakes) and a toothpick (pick out the good things in others and in yourself). Other stress relievers: Eat wisely, breathe deeply, shake and dance…and watch TV (not the news). 😉 Jack
We all need an anti-stress kit of our own; some things relieve stress just by looking at them or maybe doing them. Some things help us break the hold of stress on our lives, if only for a moment. I have posted here before that I often make a funny face in the mirror in the morning while getting ready for the day as a way to start off the day in a better, less serious and less stressful way. Jack’s advice that adds dance to the anti-stress kit reminds me of Snoopy of the Peanuts cartoon. Snoopy often would break into his care-free happy dance, much to the chagrin of Lucy. Eventually his infectious joy would crack even her facade of stressful seriousness. We all need more Snoopy-like happy dancing in our lives.
What makes you forget about the stress of the day and be happy and maybe break into your happy dance? I find that my two dogs help me a lot. It’s hard to remain grumpy and stressed out when they come bounding at me just trying to share their unconditional love as I return from work. We go on four walks a day and those turn out to be four of the most peaceful and stress free times of my day. Maybe a pet is in your kit.
Other than the items mentioned above, what can you think of that might make it into an anti-stress kit? I might include:
- One of those little teddy bears that have “I am loved” stitched onto their little sweaters. It forces us to think of those we love who also love us, no matter what.
- A favorite love song or the “our song” that you and a loved one share
- Your favorite pair of worn old jeans. Nothing disassociates you from the stress of the business world like getting home and putting on your old jeans (an maybe having a glass of wine, too).
- A hug – I’m not sure how you would put a hug in your kit – maybe just a little sign that says “go hug somebody.”
- A quiet corner somewhere. Stress seems to make us hyper-sensitive to the noises and chatter going on all around us and a quiet place allows us escape the din and relax a bit.
- A time out timer. Maybe it would help to give yourself a 5-10 minute time out by using one of those little timer gadgets that you can get for almost nothing these days. A key to heading Lilly Tomlin’s advice from Jack’s blog post is to stop, take some deep breaths and then to proceed more slowly.
So, what would be in your anti-stress kit?
There’s one item not mentioned above that is really like the Penicillin of stress relief and that is the Bible. Most of the things mentioned above just take your mind off the stress and hold it at bay for a while. Reading the Bible can actually destroy the stress by putting the things that cause that stress into the right perspective and providing the reassurance that no matter what, it’s going to be OK.
Reading the Bible allows you to get to that place where you off-load the stress to God. You may find comfort in the words of Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” If you can get to that peace, you will realize that the stress is gone. So, make sure that a Bible is in your stress relief kit.
Make your own little stress-buster kit and keep it with you, so that you can drag out the list when you need it and think about the things that make you happy. Use your anti-stress kit and have a wonderful and stress-free rest of the week.