Three Surprising Ways to Reduce Stress and Find Inner Peace

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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.

Here’s help for learning to be still. Here’s help to let go, trust God and find inner peace. Want to share the spiritual path together? Join me in The Guided Life. It’s free.

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22 Responses to Three Surprising Ways to Reduce Stress and Find Inner Peace

  • Hi Sarah,
    It’s good to hear from you! But I’m sorry to hear that stress is constant for you. Thank you for the beautiful comment. I always hold you in my thoughts and prayers. I will offer the words from Paul in Philippians 4:7, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
    Peace to you,

  • Stress feels like it is present constantly for me right now.
    Your e-zines never cease to give me insight into my faith, the power of being still.

    I continue to save everything you post. A wonderful source of understanding and faith
    With heartfelt thanks as usual
    God bless

  • Hi Lois,
    No should never be used as an excuse. It would be nice if those that feel inadequate could be given a nudge so that they might feel adequate(?) Just an observation. I’m sure it is an extra challenge in a small church community such as yours and that other church leaders face the same challenges. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience.
    Peace to you,

  • Hi Jackie,
    Sometimes saying ‘No’ is hard. Being in a small church community were we have no minister we have to rely on our members. Sometimes we have to put up our hand to help lead services as others feel inadequate. Being Elder coordinator I feel I need to use my skills with the help of others to lead the worship service. We also have other members who take services who have had training. If we say No, this must be for the right reasons. Not using No as an excuse.

  • Hi Daisy,
    I’m glad you found the post helpful. Make saying no a powerful habit. : ) I know I have. Don’t forget to say yes to those things that are life-giving and not soul and energy stealing.
    Peace to you,

  • Amazing post Jackie! The insight to “live from your values” is great and will help me say “no” to some commitments which have put pressure on daily activities.

  • Hi Bev,
    I’m glad you feel validated. Living from values is so important.
    Peace to you,

  • I love your explanation for living from your values. It takes spiritual confidence to know when to say yes and when to say no. Thanks for the validation!

  • Hi Cathy,
    Thanks for the comment. Kushner has some wonderful insights. His book When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a must read for everyone. Best wishes in your business.

  • I love Kushner’s definition of stress. I find it to be true that stress is a misalignment with your core values.

    Cathy Yerges
    BG3 LLC
    Business Growth 3 Ways

  • Hi Psalm,
    That is wonderful. Thanks for sharing. I love your name. I’ve never met anyone named Psalm. How could you NOT be at peace with a name like that? :)
    Continued peace,

  • Hi Fiona,
    Thank you. There’s a wonderful book called The Gift of Fear. In it was the line, “No is a complete sentence.” It’s so funny when you just say no. Not, no, I can’t because I have this other commitment, blah, blah, blah. What I’ve found is amazing is that people don’t ask, “Why not???” They usually say, “Okay,” and that’s it! They will find someone else. And… no guilt. :)
    Warmest regards,

  • Hi Henry,
    Glad you loved it. :) Best wishes on your work to help writers. Sadly, it’s not enough to write a book. There’s the marketing, building your platform, etc. So daunting that I’m sure that people become disenchanted. May you keep “igniting” them to keep on keeping on.
    Peace and blessings,

  • Hi Christine,
    Thank you for reading and for the comment. Yes, we are on the same page. I checked out your blog and will post a comment in return. :) Best wishes with your business.

  • Hi Val,
    Thank you fore reading and for the comment. I hope that the living from your values part struck a nerve in a good way! It was a surprising realization for me too that this could cause great stress. That’s why I wanted to share it. Best wishes with your business.

  • Hi Josee,
    Thank you for reading and thank you for commenting. Best wishes with your work to help others be “authentic” in their health and well-being.

  • Wonderful way of looking at relieving stress. I especially liked how you connect social media with authenticity. Very real.

  • These are 3 important ways to reduce stress that we often don’t think about. The one about living your values struck a nerve.

  • We are very much on the same page, Jackie! I loved your simplified approach to eliminating stress, thank you!


    Christine Bearse
    Goal Whisperer
    Business and Goal Setting Coach

  • Love these, Jackie! Especially insightful was the fact that stress can result from failing to live out our values. Thanks for the post.

    Henry Matlock
    “The Writer Re-Igniter”

    Formatting a Kindle book can be tricky. But if you can copy and paste, then you can do it:
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  • This is such a great post! Thank you so much for sharing it. I really do need to learn to say no without feeling guilty, but you are right – when we commit to things that we really don’t have the time for something else suffers, and it’s often something that’s far more important to us.

  • The importance of being at the center of my life to be at peace is very real to me these days. thx!

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