Hello again, and welcome to Gas Tank Guidelines (Part II), where we continue to explore the image of gas tanks and their relationship to stress and stress management. In case you did not read Part I of this post…or for a quick review, please click HERE. In Part I, the 7 energy renewing Gas Tank Guidelines were introduced. Let’s quickly recap them…
- G – Gratitude
- A – Awareness
- S – Simplicity
- T – Think before you speak
- A – Activity
- N –
- K – Knowledge
When our gas tank is nearing empty, we can feel the negative effects of our inability to give gas (or energy) toward our activities and projects, as well as to those we care for and are concerned about. As the gas gauge continues to slowly move downward, we can also feel the negative impacts on ourselves. We lose energy and enthusiasm. We feel stressed and depressed. We get angry and abrasive. We may even feel the impacts of this stress on our bodies, through increased pain, poor sleep, and a general state of dis-ease. The 7 energy renewing Gas Tank Guidelines can help to prevent us from “running on empty” by utilizing our natural resources
to restore our balance and equilibrium. Consider this…
Gratitude. Focusing on gratitude, what we are grateful for, negates the ability to focus on the negative. A grateful heart and mind is a peaceful heart and mind. Being grateful does not stop stress from entering our lives or circumstances, but it does promote a positive mind-set that helps us to put negativity and stress in perspective. Consider beginning a Gratitude Journal. Each day take the time to ponder what you are grateful for. And, from a spiritual view, gratitude is not only encouraged, but rewarded. Psalm 107:1 (NIV) says “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”
Awareness. Be mindful of your surroundings. Be present in the moment. Fill your senses with all the beauty and wonder around you. When we are “stressed out” we often forget, or lose sight of, the awesomeness of this world. One of the most beautiful and amazing aspects of our lives is as close as a breath away. In fact, it is just that…our breath. How many times a day do we breathe in and out, never paying attention, completely unaware of the life-giving ability of our breath? Take a moment to close your eyes and to feel the breath as it enters and leaves your body. Bringing in nourishing and replenishing oxygen and releasing the carbon dioxide that our body does not need…but that our plants do! How amazing is that? Consider spending a bit of time each day, intentionally becoming aware of yourself, your breath, and your surroundings. Your mind, body and soul will thank you.
Simplicity. Life can be too complicated, too technical, and therefore too stressful. Consider the simple pleasures in life. Live within your means. Don’t take anyone or anything for granted. It’s simple. Enough said.
Think before you speak. Words matter. A lot. A harsh word or negative tone can do damage that is almost beyond repair. A lifetime of negative words can negatively impact someone for a lifetime. Conversely, affirming and well-intentioned words and a positive tone can lift someone up, for a moment, or even for a lifetime. Consider your words carefully. Consider these spiritual words of wisdom from Proverbs 16:24 (NIV) “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Activity. Our bodies are meant to move. Stress and tension can wreak havoc on our bodies. I once heard the saying, “motion is lotion,” and am a firm believer in this adage. When we move and are active, as in through regular exercise, our bodies create chemicals known as endorphins These chemicals interact with receptors in the brain and produce very pleasant results: reducing the perception of pain, triggering a positive feeling in the body, and supporting a positive outlook on life. So, when life has you stressed, get active. Dance. Walk. Swim. Move. Remember, “motion is lotion.”
Nurture yourself. Merriam-Webster’s definition of nurture is “the care and attention given to someone or something that is growing or developing.” We need to give ourselves care and attention as we continue to live in this stressful world. We are often preoccupied with tasks, responsibilities, obligations, duties, etc., that effectively keep us unaware (or at least decrease our awareness) of the need to take care of and pay attention to ourselves. Take time to rest. Relax. Take a break from the busyness of life…even if you need to schedule these nurturing moments in your planner or on your calendar. Just take the time. Your gas tank will say thank you.
Knowledge. Seek knowledge to fill your gas tank with wisdom. Wisdom and understanding encourage positive and affirming actions and decisions. Such actions and decisions foster balance, renewal (also known as “gas”), and peace. And, we all need and deserve a little peace in the midst of our stressful lives. Be wise in keeping your gas tank full. As a reminder of these Gas Tank Guidelines, I’ve included a free printable that you can receive by clicking HERE. My hope is that these 7 energy renewing Gas Tank Guidelines have been helpful. In closing, I’d like to return to our last topic of Knowledge, and offer some scriptural insights with Philippians 1:9 (NIV) “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.” Peace be with you, my friends.