Too Much Stress in Your Life? Center Yourself

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie shares tips with BET.com on how to overcome your stress. 

Posted: 03/20/2012 07:00 AM EDT
Leading Women Defined, women's health, stress, mental health, church, personal health, leading women, National News

In the 21st century there’s no denying that women wear many hats. You may see them delivering a presentation in the boardroom one day then playing “basketball mom” the next. 


The numbers even show that women in increasing numbers are calling the shots. In 2011, the number of female CEOs on the Forbes Fortune 500 list reached 18, a new record. Additionally, women comprised 46.8 percent of the total U.S. labor force and are projected to account for 46.9 percent of the labor force in 2018.


But, are women invincible? Not at all, Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie of the 13th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church tells BET.com.


“As women, most of the time we tend to everyone else’s needs: children needs, spouse’s needs, job needs, project needs, administration needs, everyone’s needs but ourselves,” she says. “We will wash laundry at midnight; we will scrub floors at 3 A.M. in the morning; we go shopping at the 24-hour grocery store, just so everything is in place to start the day. But, we are sleep deprived, we are rest deprived and we are running on empty without realizing it until we hit a brick wall.”


On Tuesday afternoon, Bishop McKenzie served as a moderator of a “spiritual journey” workshop during BET Networks’ 2012 Leading Women Defined Conference. Following the session, she took the time to break down what BET.com women viewers can do to help “center” or relax amidst the chaos of everyday daily life.


1) Breathe

Though she says it sounds so easy, Bishop  McKenzie suggests to simply breathe to help to alleviate our stress.


“When we are under stress we take shallow breaths and we don’t breathe deeply and our blood becomes deprived of oxygen,” she says. “It’s easy to relax by breathing. Take a deep breath, hold it and exhale. ‘Lord I need you inhale, Lord I receive you, exhale.”


2) Practice Your Spiritual Disciplines

In the midst of your daily life, Bishop McKenzie says it’s important to practice your spiritual disciplines including breathing, fasting, praising, worshiping and having silent and solitude moments.


3) Walk

Walking is another tip that sounds easy she says, but is so rarely done, especially in the cold months.


“Sometimes you just need to take a walk in nature,” she says. “Instead of sitting at the desk and eating lunch, get out of the desk and go outside, even if it’s in the dead of winter just take that walk. Listen, hear and receive.”


4) Be Still

When women can be so wrapped up in their jobs, children’s lives, spouse’s lives and everyone else’s problems, it’s important, McKenzie says, to unplug everything; turn off your cellphone; don’t tweet or Facebook; turn off the radio and just be still and silent.


“Sometimes God wants to speak, things need to happen, but you can’t receive it because there’s so much noise going on in your life, you just cannot hear,” she explains.


5) If It’s Not Positive, Don’t Have It Near You

“Devoid yourself of negative personalities, even if they are related to you, so you can make room for the positive,” she suggests.


Although you may wear many hats, continuous stress as a woman does not have to be one of them.


For more tips and teaching from Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie visit her podcast website at thisisyourwakeupcallonline.com.


For more on the Leading Women Defined Conference visit www.BET.com/lwd.


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(Photo: Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes, WikiCommons)

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