20 Quick Ways to Relieve Stress and Recenter Your Heart


Whether it’s a typical day or a time of new transition, our lives — even in ministry — often come with stress and anxiety. However, we can take simple actions, many without cost, to alleviate stress and return our focus to the Lord. As you consider how to relax after a stressful day, here are 20 quick ideas to help you recenter your heart in moments of stress.

1. Pray

First things first — if you’re overwhelmed by your day or situation, bring your heart to the One who understands the limitations of our humanity and the brokenness of our world — because he “became flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1:14 (CSB)

2. Pause

Count backward from 10. Take a short break or decide if you need to wrap up for the day. Take out a crossword puzzle, play a game of checkers, call a friend, go on a walk or read an article or book that interests you.

3. Take a Nap

Honestly, you may just be tired. Lay down for a few minutes, or if it’s late, go to bed.

4. Connect with Others

Spend time with trusted friends, the church community and loved ones who can help you relax and offer support.

5. Read Scripture and Write in a Journal

Your Bible and journal are great places to sort through feelings, make realizations about circumstances and allow Scripture to inform your next steps.

6. Have a Good Meal

Hunger pangs can worsen your sense of well-being, but eating healthy foods — like vegetables and foods high in omega-3 — can regulate your stress hormone levels.1

7. Laugh

Laughing can stimulate circulation and decrease blood pressure, soothing tension and decreasing stress.2 Joke with family and friends or turn on a TV show or movie for a good laugh.

8. Play an Uplifting Worship Song

Try music for stress relief. Look up a playlist or create your own for some happy, peaceful or inspirational tunes.

9. Take a Walk

Research shows that taking a stroll affects our brain chemistry and helps relieve stress.3

10. Work Out

Have you ever heard of a runner’s high? It turns out that exercise does provide stress relief and boosts endorphin levels.4 Pick an exercise you enjoy to release stress in your body.

11. Focus on Gratitude

To refocus, list three of your favorite things or things you are thankful for.

12. Get a Massage

Call a massage therapist, ask your spouse or invest in a massager for your neck and back.

13. Spend Time in Nature

Spending a couple of hours a week in nature has been shown to improve health and well-being. Spend some time in your backyard, public park or green area near your workplace.5

14. Stretch

Identify where you feel tension in your body and carefully stretch those muscles.

15. Ask for a Hug

Another way to relieve stress is to hug your spouse, child, family member or friend.

16. Take 15 Minutes to Organize

Sometimes, clearing your space — your desk, room or closet — can help you feel better. Since clutter can cause stress and anxiety,6 decluttering a space can positively affect your brain and emotions.

17. Avoid Caffeine

Consuming caffeine leads our bodies to increase stress hormone production and raise blood pressure.7 Avoid caffeinated coffee, tea and soft drinks that worsen your stress.

18. Sip Herbal Tea

Certain herbal teas have been known to help with stress and anxiety, as well as offering other health benefits.8 Take some quiet time to sip a warm cup of chamomile or peppermint to settle your nerves.

19. Seek Professional Help

If you feel overwhelmed, consider reaching out for biblically based professional help.

20. Meditate

Scripture instructs us to meditate on his ways and his Word. Nowhere is the believer told not to think; we are instead taught how to direct our thoughts. Philippians 4:6-8 provides a great process for meditation to reduce stress and anxiety:

  • Don’t worry, but pray about everything.
  • Tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.
  • Fix your thoughts on what is honorable and just.
  • Think about things that are pure and lovely.
  • Dwell on the commendable and praiseworthy things in others.
  • Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

We hope this list of 20 quick ways to relieve stress is helpful and pray that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:7 (CSB). For more GuideStone® resources and tips, we invite you to explore our Wellness Hub. For more information, contact us at Insurance@GuideStone.org or 1-844-INS-GUIDE (1-844-467-4843), Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT.

GuideStone welcomes the opportunity to share this general information. However, this article is not intended to be relied upon as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.