To my unfortunate surprise I started the new year out in the hospital with extremely high blood pressure and the release of a protein level in my blood that is typically present when one is having a heart attack. 🙁 I thank God that after resting, having several EKGs and getting my blood levels retested several times, they returned to normal and the doctors assured me that I was not having a heart attack or any type of stroke. However, my blood pressure was still a concern and my doctor wanted to get it under control, starting with reducing stress. When my doctor first asked me if I was under any stress I said no rather quickly. However, upon further reflection and answering some additional follow-up questions, he and I both realized that I was under stress, stress that I had been unknowingly internalizing and was possibly the root of my blood pressure spiking the way it did.
Needless to say the experience shook me a bit and forced me to have some down time, which gave me an opportunity to reflect. Three words came to me one day while I was resting and reflecting, “let go & reprioritize.” Two questions then came to mind: What can I let go of to reduce my stress? How can I reprioritize my responsibilities to reduce my stress?
3 areas stood out to me over the course of a few days:
1.) Over thinking & worrying: Hands down, my biggest source of stress is thinking too much. I have a tendency to over think and over analyze a lot, which then usually leads to worrying in some sort of way. This is something I have to consciously let go of! Consciously is the key word for me! Clearly I was subconsciously worrying about things, so to combat that I have to be purposeful with my thoughts. My goal is to immediately pray about the things weighing on my heart and my mind right away and then let them go! Worry is the opposite of faith! So I can’t say that I have faith that God will protect and take care of my family and me in this unpredictable world that we live in today, and then worry about everything that comes to mind. So I am letting go of overthinking and worry moving forward!
2.) Over committing: My Aunt sent me something to meditate on a few weeks ago and it simply stated, “When God brings you blank space, see that you don’t fill it in, but wait.” This message was right on point for me! I typically like to be very productive, so I have a tendency to fill up my plate and all of my “blank space” with tasks to accomplish and things to do. I have a bad habit of over-extending myself and putting too many things on my to do list. Eventually I get flustered because I end up having a lot of things hanging over my head and it’s usually at the sacrifice of not having time for the things I want to do for myself. So another goal is to not over commit and to manage and balance the things that God has given me to do in this season of my life and nothing more! So I am letting go of everything else and not over committing moving forward!
3.) Releasing fruitless things: Fruitless things are things that are not resulting in or producing goodness in my life. With that in mind it’s important to release fruitless relationships, habits and mindsets! Thankfully, I don’t really have any fruitless relationships in my life anymore but I do have some fruitless habits that I need to replace with fruitful ones. The first one that I want to be purposeful about is what I put into my body. There are certain foods and drinks that I know make me feel sluggish and bloated and don’t bring any goodness to my body. Those things have to go moving forward!
These are the top three things I have to let go of in 2017 and beyond so that I can live a healthier life and be a better me, for me, and my family! I’m not really into resolutions, so I purposely delayed releasing this blog article because I didn’t want it to be a here and gone resolution. Letting go of things that are weighing down our hearts and minds is something that we should all practice daily so we can be healthy; mind, body and spirit!
Application: What can you let go of in your life to reduce your stress, improve your health and make more time for yourself?