If you’re alive in the world today, you already know pretty well what stress is. According to one survey, 44% of people report feeling more stressed than they did five years ago—with 1 in 5 experiencing what they called “extreme stress.” It has been estimated that chronic stress is a primary cause of at least 60% of human disease—with close to 3 out of 4 doctor’s visits resulting from stress-related problems.

If stress increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and depression, what role does it play in addiction or compulsive patterns?

Well, it’s actually a big one! To get a handle on stress, there are at least two conversations worth having:  First, how much actual stress do we have in our lives? Second, how do we respond to that stress and find our “zen-zone”?

Sources of Stress

There seems to be a never-ending assortment of things that can cause us stress—which has been explored in tens of thousands of studies over the last couple of decades. Work stress, school stress, health stress & relationship stress—these are some of the most common areas that come up in surveys.

Then there are larger worries about the economy, politics and all sorts of other things can also compound stress. It’s also easy to see examples of life “speeding up” around us, for instance, instant communication, instant food and schedules that pack to the brim. We can end up feeling like a circus juggler with more balls in the air than we can handle.

Responding to Stress

By prioritizing and taking care of the most important things, though—even if we can only muster small steps—stress will lighten.

Of course, we know that down time where we can just rest and rejuvenate or just have some fun can help you through those hard times in life. If you know anybody that owns a bow and arrow, they’ll tell you that if you keep a bow strung all the time, it will lose its spring.

Human beings are not that different—so look for ways to de-pressurize your life when you can. By making more emotional space in your life, you are doing something powerful to decrease your vulnerability to pornography and all sorts of other unwanted sexual behaviors.

Think of one of the more stressful situations in your life right now. Now, imagine yourself in that situation stepping back, taking a breath and getting some emotional space—just enough to detach and calmly observe what’s happening.

In that place, maybe ask yourself, “what’s really going on here? And what’s really important?” Instead of trying to make stressful thoughts or feelings go away, see what it’s like to just make space for them—letting yourself face whatever is challenging in that moment from a calm, collected place.

One man described a moment in his life where everything was crashing in around him.Not able to sleep, he got up and went on a walk in the calm of the night. Looking up at the stars and the mountains was just enough to help him feel connected and grounded again—just in awe of the beauty he saw around him.  Looking back, he said that he was surprised at how small and insignificant these fears and worries now seem in retrospect.

Think back to a time when you were super stressed about something.  Are you feeling stressed about that same thing now?

The point is that things have a way of resolving and passing if we let them. You may be feeling stress now that feels overwhelming. Using porn itself can multiple stress for any of us, especially if we’re still wondering whether it’s possible to ever break free.

No matter how stressful today feels, there’s good things ahead for you!

Some Concrete Tips

Let’s talk about a few other stress-busters that others have found to be helpful: First, Talk about it. Often the best way to handle a stressful situation is to openly explore it with someone we trust. Talking can help us see a situation for what it really is.

Another helpful tip is to Lighten things up.   Did you know that there’s an actual scientific explanation for why laughter can bring relief in hard situations? You see, laughter increases the oxygen supply to our lungs and our brain. And it stimulates more endorphins - the hormones that make us feel great. So in other words - find ways to laugh!

Then there’s exercise. Finding some ways to move around—especially outside—is a great way to shift what’s happening in the body, and release more endorphins while we’re at it. Medical research confirms that regular exercise can actually lower a person’s stress levels overall.

Get Started Today

Whatever you choose, it can take courage to approach stress in a new way. Don’t let that stop you, though!

Take a good, hard look at anything on your plate causing unnecessary stress—and consider big or small adjustments that could balance things even more in your life. When the hard moments hit, hold on. And weather through it, remembering that stress comes and it goes, and it will eventually pass if we let it.

So let’s do this together: De-stressing our lives as a huge catalyst for the lasting freedom we’re all on a mission to find.