Stress can come from harried schedules, crazy work deadlines, caring for aging parents and life events (expected or unexpected).
But another kind of stress I found surprising was revealed in a book called Living a Life that Matters by Harold Kushner. The following are three ways to reduce stress and find inner peace.
1) Live from your Values
Kushner’s definition of stress is: “Stress (which can affect us physically) may be as much a question of a compromise of values as it is a matter of time, pressure and fear of failure.”
Here’s an Example:
You are asked to serve on a committee, take on a project at your child’s school, or volunteer for an event. You want to say no. It will take away time from your family, or you know it’s going to zap your energy. But you say yes. That will cause stress. The value you compromised was quality time with your family or the value you compromised was your health and well-being.
No is a complete sentence. Only participate in activities that will authentically resonate with you and that you will enjoy doing.
2) Be Authentic
Authenticity is the second key to having inner peace. Being authentic means being YOU. Being an authentic Christian means exuding the fruits of the Holy Spirit which are:
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Being authentic is being who you claim to be. You don’t act one way at work and another way at home. You are congruent in your speech and actions.
Attending a Sunday school class on wisdom, I was inspired to read the book of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon was considered to be the wisest man. I found these verses:
“Do not curse the king, even in your thoughts, or curse the rich, even in your bedroom; for a bird of the air may carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter.” Ecclesiastes 10:20
This passage doesn’t mean that we can’t express feelings. It does give us pause to consider what we say and how that reflects on our true character.
We live in the age of smart phones where calls are recorded and photographs and videos can be snapped in an instant. Words and images placed on social media cannot be undone and stay out there forever. The need to be authentic has never been greater in order to experience inner peace.
Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32
When we live an authentic life, when we are truthful with ourselves, we are free.
3) Learn to Be Still
If you’ve been living your life with multiple personas as the people pleaser, super mom, super dad, or the never say no worker, change may be difficult.
Your mind may be cluttered with thoughts of guilt, doubt, fear of disappointing others and many more judgments.
You need to be still, quiet your mind and clear those thoughts away.
Meditation is a powerful way to clear anxious thoughts and allow God’s peace and presence to help you.
When you live your life from your values, when you live your life from authenticity, when you learn to still anxious and judgmental thoughts, you will reduce stress and find inner peace.
On the people pleasing front, do you find you try to please God and God is not pleased with you? Part of our stress is not embracing how much God loves us and wants the best for us. I’ve certainly had to change my view of God and God’s view of me! I write about that in this eBook and audio book, Bringing God’s View Into Focus to Live Life with Joy and Flow. Download a free copy while it’s free.