Tools for Nourishing the Soul Under Stress

Soul – “the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.”

Excessive, prolonged stress can cause anxiety as a reaction to the body wearing down from overexposure to stress.  This will stress the soul.  So, what can we do to nourish our souls while under prolonged stress?  Below are some things I’ve learned over the years.  I’d love your suggestions as well!

  1.  The biggest thing that nourishes my soul is maintaining my relationship with Jesus.  He made me and knows how to lavish my soul with good gifts, even while under stress.  His word feeds me; worship fills me, and thanksgiving reorients my soul to notice his good gifts.
  2. Ask the Lord if there is something I am doing that is increasing the stress.  My soul can hide so many things even from me, that sometimes, when stress seems more than it should, I ask if there is something hidden within that is contributing (a lie I’m believing; a hurt I’m harboring; or an action that enhances).  God has always answered this prayer – although not always right away.  Sometimes I’ve had to spend extended time with him; and sometimes I’ve needed to fast to get the answer.  God wants my attention.
  3. Is there sin I’m harboring?  My soul can’t be nourished to the full if I’m harboring unforgiveness, or holding onto a thought or behavior that is contrary to God’s peace.
  4. Do I need to let go of control and trust God?  Grasping for control in areas beyond me is a big cause of stress in my life.  Control Freak doesn’t work, but letting God work does.
  5. Am I too busy?  Am I taking time regularly for the purpose of nourishing my soul?  Am I taking time to rest and restore?
  6. Take time to notice beauty.  I have even asked the Lord to help me see his beauty and those things he has given to bless me.  Last week I took the dog for a walk and while outside stopped, closed my eyes, felt the sunshine on my face, and listened intently for a few moments to the birds chirping their songs.  I could actually feel my insides responding to God’s gifts to me in the moment, and I was refreshed.
  7. Take time to eat properly and get regular exercise.  Certain foods and exercise although needed for bodily health, will also nourish the soul by helping alleviate stress.  I’ve found that enjoying the company of a friend while doing both, coupled with laughter, nourishes the soul even more!  (I am just learning about the foods that alleviate stress.  The vitamin D found in sunshine is also extremely beneficial to elevating mood.)
  8. Take time regularly to do something fun. I love to garden – getting my hands dirty is so relaxing for me.  Landscape photography helps me de-stress, as well as putting on headphones and lying on the floor with my legs propped on the sofa.  What is your “fun”?
  9. Incorporate the help of a friend if needed to hold you accountable to nourish your soul regularly.
  10. If your stress is because of danger to you or your children, you may need to seek safety.

Finally, I will close with the following song:  “O My Soul” by Casting Crowns

With much love,

Robin <3

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Shoring Up the Body Under Stress

Last Thursday morning, as the panic began to rise for the first time in about 3 years, I gratefully remembered something else I’ve learned.

Someone dear to me who also dealt with panic attacks after her husband died, discovered that our bodies have a gland ‘adrenal gland‘, that helps us deal with stress.  With extended stress, that gland can become fatigued, precipitating the effect of “overloading our circuits”, resulting in anxiety, brain fog, fatigue, and other related symptoms.  After a period of supplementation specifically to strengthen this gland, her panic attacks were brought under control.

Since learning this, I have kept Adrenal supplements in my cabinet.  This past Thursday, as I began to feel that horrible “rush”, I realized I hadn’t taken any that morning.  Within about 1/2 hour, my body began to settle down – sweet relief.  (I use a product called “David’s Adrenal Support – from a local health food store called “David’s Natural Market“.  My friend uses a product from Metagenics, called “Adrecet” found on Amazon.)  Someone recently recommended a beverage concoction that tastes like lemon cream and uses somewhat normal healthy ingredients that support a healthy adrenal gland – “Singing Canary“.  I’m still figuring out if this helps, but it is so healthy, it can’t hurt.

I have also learned through the years, of other supplements that help me deal with prolonged periods of stress (such as care giving, moving, death of a loved one, and adjusting to step parenting to name only a few such periods of life).  Vitamin B complex helps with the brain fog and grants me energy. Magnesium (I love the product “Calm”) has a calming effect (but it can also be a laxative, so I can’t overdo it).  I’m also experimenting with Essential Oils from ‘Young Living’, as they are guaranteed to be a therapeutic grade.  (I am a distributor for ‘Young Living’.)

I have also learned, especially under prolonged periods of stress, a high quality vitamin and probiotic are essential.

Lastly, because I’m sharing my experiences with helping the body deal with stress, I want to add – menopause is a huge change for the female body, and can stress our emotions (bringing on feelings of anxiety).  When I went through menopause, my moods shifted quickly and quite unexpectedly at times.  My mom mentioned that when she went through her change, someone recommended she use “progesterone cream”.  I purchased some through a company called ‘Arbonne’, but you can get it at many health food stores.  It was amazing!  Within a few minutes of application, I could literally feel my body and my emotions calm down.  I’ve since recommended it to others who have shared similar results.

Once again, I must stress – I’m no practitioner.  I am only able to share my experiences.  I would never be able to recommend to someone else what they need.  However, I have learned over the years that in order to deal positively with prolonged stress, I must take care of my body.  Our foods no longer provide all we need for our stressful lifestyles.  God has provided help in other areas.  His gift to us.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 (NIV)

Tomorrow: “The Importance of respite during the stress for my soul”.

Love you, and thank you for joining me –

Robin <3

 

No Fear!

Please Pray!

This week I’m going “live”, in the sense something has come up in life that is a bit frightening, and I’m going to need to remember all God has been teaching me.  This week’s “live” posts are to remind to me that I’m not doing this alone, and that God is fully aware and has already paved the way for his good plan for my family.

We found out yesterday that my son with autism has developed a condition where his platelet count is dropping – two blood tests in a row.  A bit of research last evening showed that some of his hefty daily concoction of meds can have this side effect, by causing his body to see his platelets as an enemy, and fight them as an invader.

I have enough medical background to know that platelets help the blood clot.  If your blood doesn’t clot, you bleed.  Right at this point in life, he can’t live without these meds.  They help him function as normally as possible.  We see a specialist this week, but already my brain and emotions want to go into full “what if” mode, mixed with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

So, I’m asking those of you who follow Jesus to pray for us – for peace, calm, wisdom, and healing.  I want God’s plan, and I don’t want to freak out in the middle.

This morning I read a blog post from Proverbs 31 Ministries, by Katy KcCown, entitled, “When the Road Ahead Feels Uncertain“.  God’s timing is always perfect!  I liked it so much, I decided to subscribe.  As a gift I was sent 4 pages of Bible verses on dealing with fear!  I didn’t even know these would be coming!

 

These verses are excerpted from the list I received entitled:

“Power Promises to Fight Fear & Anxiety”

God, you did not give me a spirit of fear.  You gave me one of power.  ‘For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.’ 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)”

God, you say I should not fear.  You promise YOU are with me and will help me. ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)”

God, you promise YOU are greater than anything I am dealing with. ‘Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.’ I John 4:4 (KJV)”

(For the full list, you will need to subscribe to Katy’s blog,”Katy KcCown, Laugh. Live. Faith.” .  The list will follow in your email inbox as her gift for subscribing.)

My plans to up-end fear today:  

Choose to dwell on What Is True about God, who stands with me.

Surround myself with prayer warriors who follow Jesus.

 

Thank you friends for doing this with me this week.

With love,

Robin<3