Healthy Thinking During a Stressful Day
Part 3 Enrich the Quality of Your Life
On the market today, there are countless programs, supplements and oils that “reduce stress”. However, the most powerful weapon against the toxic effects of stress is your mind. When you learn to harness the power of your thinking, you can deal with and overcome whatever life throws your way!
Dr. Caroline Leaf, cognitive neuroscientist, Stress is Good for You!
You do not have to be one of those people who crumble under stress. You can learn to stop the unhealthy thinking patterns that lead you to anxiety, rapid heart rate, discouragement, fear, and interrupted sleep. It’s time to start thinking about your thinking!
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2 NLT
Transformation of your mind is a cooperation of the work of the Holy Spirit and your obedience.
The Holy Spirit is daily leading you into more and more freedom and your role is to listen closely to his voice, dig deep into your soul, and then respond in obedience.
A Day With Healthy Thinking
Here is a daily plan to help remind you to capture your rogue, unhealthy thinking during the most stressful days.
6:00 a.m. First Things First
Sometimes during stressful days, it’s hard to remember the Word of God. You can get so wrapped up in emotion and distraction that you forget even the basics of what you know is the Truth and how you can think and act in healthy Biblical ways.
That’s why some time during the first part of each day you need to do what I call “filling your backpack”.
You need your heart and mind (your backpack) filled with the Truth about God, who you are in Christ, and how you are to live everyday as God’s daughter.
Finding that time each day will be different for each of you.
- Some of you have a house filled with children and a few quiet minutes each morning is near to impossible. So, your devotional time is after you have dropped off the kids and you can sit for a few minutes with your favorite latte.
- Others set the alarm with just enough time to get ready and out the door with a cup of coffee for a 30-minute commute. You turn on your Bible app and listen to a daily reading plan.
- For some of you a quiet time in your corner, comfy chair with your Bible and journal works great in your schedule.
Be creative and be disciplined. Find the time and mode that works the best for your life.
If you don’t have a disciplined Bible reading and meditating routine that is working for you right now, join my Rooted Bible Reading Plans.
It’s how busy women keep putting down strong roots in God’s Word.
How and when do you fill your “backpack” with Truth?
10:00 a.m. No Worries During Your Coffee Break
Worry is one of Satan’s greatest tools to keep you from living a life of joy and peace through Christ Jesus. You can get so caught up in worrying about all the what-ifs that you fail to see how God is working in your life and leading you. Your stressful day will only grow more intense if you add worry to the already building tension.
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Matthew 6:34 NLT
How is does worry deplete your life? (Think of your health, your anxiety level, your joy or lack of, and how this affects your relationships with others.)
What happens in our souls happens in our cells. A distressed soul creates a distressed body. (Susie Larson, Fully Alive)
Have you noticed physical changes in your body that could be related to the stress you are not dealing with very well right now?
Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life.
Philippians 4:6 TPT
5:00 p.m. The Power Drive Home
You can switch the balance of your day from stressful to power-filled by mixing worship and prayer.
I find my favorite place to do that is when I am in the car. I turn up the worship music and start singing along. As soon as I hear a phrase that resonates with what I am going through that day, I switch to declaring that truth and adding in my own words in prayer.
Worship is the atmosphere where truth dwells. (Debbie Przybylski)
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is in 2 Chronicles 20 about King Jehoshaphat and how praise won the battle. Here are the “cliff notes”:
- The nation of Judah is surrounded by enemies ready to destroy them.
- King Jehoshaphat calls the people to fast and pray. “God, we don’t know what to do but we are looking to you for help.”
- God speaks, “Don’t be afraid, the battle is not yours, but mine!”
- Jehoshaphat sends the worshipers out in front of the army – singing and praising God.
- At the very moment the worship starts the enemy armies are disoriented and begin attacking each other.
- By the time Judah reaches the battle field every enemy is dead.
How many of your daily battles, strains, pressures, and trials could be completely disintegrated if you coupled prayer and praise and sent those two into the forefront of your stressful situations?
11:00 p.m. Sleep tight and don’t let the stress bugs bite
One effect of stress is that it steals from a good night’s sleep. It’s hard to initially fall asleep and then when anxious thoughts occur in the middle of the night you can’t fall back to sleep. Insufficient sleep can then cause further stress and the cycle repeats.
According to a National Sleep Foundation survey, 43 percent of people aged 13–64 have reported lying awake at night due to stress at least once in the past month.
Does stress affect your sleep? Do you typically rehearse your stresses as you are trying to fall asleep?
Pour out all your worries and stress upon God and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 TPT
So here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Leave all your cares and anxieties at the feet of the Lord, and measureless grace will strengthen you.
Psalm 55:22 TPT
This will help at bedtime:
- Use index cards or a notebook. Write down a few Bible verses to meditate on right before bedtime.
- Ten minutes before lights off at bedtime turn off all of your glowing screens (TV, computer, phone, I-pad, etc.)
- Take out your notebook and read through your Bible verses.
- Pick out one phrase and repeat it slowly about 5 times.
- If you wake up in the middle of the night repeat that phrase and train your mind to rest on that Truth and not slide back into worry.
When I was dealing with some health issues, I found Bible verses that spoke about healing and also wrote Psalm 23 down in a notebook that I kept on the table next to my bed.
Many nights I would pick the phrase He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love from Psalm 23:2 TPT.
As I would just start to wake up, I would slowly repeat that phrase and tell my body to go back to sleep. Most of the time it worked.
This is all about capturing your rogue thoughts and bringing them into the obedience of Christ.
We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5 TPT
The more sleep you get the more rested and healthier your body will be. This gives you a physical strength.
Conquer Every Stressful Day
- Fill your backpack every morning
- Don't spend your day with worrying
- Use your drive home for praise and prayer
- Get a good night's sleep for next day strength
Apply these simple, yet powerful principles, and you will be ready to conquer every stressful day.
Today, let's begin something together!
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