Mental Health: How to Minimize Stress

Have you ever woken up and immediately felt irritable, anxious, or sad about the thought of going back to work or school. You’re not alone. I have definitely gone through seasons of my life where I was overwhelmed by stress.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way that help me get my peace of mind back when it gets stressful.

Starting Off With Gratitude

Gratitude is one of our most powerful weapons against stress, anxiety, and other things weighing on our mind. Mental health experts have found that a simple gratitude practice, like thinking of things you’re thankful for, or remembering 5 people you love, can change the way our brain is wired. Anxiety may always be a part of your life, but it has less power over you when you keep gratitude front-of-mind.

Prayer Helps Everyone

Prayer and meditating on God’s love for me is something that has helped me time and time again when I’ve felt stress creeping in. I try to start each day with some short prayers to thank God for another day of life, to ask for His help getting things done, and to ask for His protection as I go about my work.

If I am dealing with someone who has a difficult personality in the course of my work, that certainly doesn’t lower stress. But the more I pray for that person and for peace in that relationship, the less of a grip I find that it has on me.

Minimizing Caffeine

Many of us love nothing more than to start off the day with a delicious cup of coffee. But if you notice your physical anxiety symptoms are hard to control, your doctor or therapist may suggest scaling back on caffeine to see if that helps your body feel calmer.

If reducing caffeine intake doesn’t help, try some deep breathing exercises. If you’re experiencing such strong physical stress that it’s making you ill or unable to get things done, it’s time to talk to a physician to see if there is a medication or other treatment that may help.

Reaching Out for Support

I know work and school can get stressful. There are few things more draining than feeling stuck in a stressful situation you feel like you have to be in, especially if you have a mental health diagnosis like anxiety or depression. It can be hard to feel like anything is working, or that anyone truly understands what you’re going through. When I have those feelings, I know it’s a signal from my heart, mind, and spirit that I need to reach out to someone I trust for some guidance and support.

You may try talking to a friend or coworker you trust, or making an appointment for counseling. But if it seems like working itself prevents you from going to those appointments, you’re not out of options.

If you’ve tried everything and still feel overwhelmed, it doesn’t have to be that way. We are here to offer prayer support anytime. Our mentors can also provide a listening ear and help you develop stress management techniques that you can use to cope with stress.

Do you ever have panic attacks? Read my blog on what to do if you're having a panic attack here. 

I pray that you’re able to find some peace of mind soon. No matter what, I’m rooting for you!

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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