I was a christian for 26 years and was used to praying through the hard times to feel better. Now that I don't believe there is a god out there in control of everything, I've had to come up with other ways to de-stress. Sometimes I just remind myself of how far I've come and what I've been capable of. Sometimes I take deep breaths. How do you de-stress when things are tough?
I do believe in the power of massage. The power of human touch and muscular massage can really de-stress and get those feel-good transmitters and receptor going with the good stuff. Even an inexpensive massage at the mall can do that for you. It does not have to be a $300 spa day. (And I'm not talking about the happy-ending kind at the asian massage parlor, either.)
Everything is just temporary. Glass of wine, temporary. Work out, temporary.
I just try to trick my brain into releasing the chemicals I want. Ever just hug somebody for like 30 seconds? Works amazing for killing stress.
Of course, that requires cooperation and advanced warning. You can't just like wrap somebody up for that long without their permission.
I don't have to de-stress near as much as I did when I was a believer. I do, however, need to from time to time, so I enjoy hot baths, candles, and a glass of wine --- brainwave entrainment --- being creative --- research --- listening to music --- massage --- dinner and a movie --- blogging --- going to the beach (which is 4 blocks away).
I head outdoors for a hike, or watch nesting desert birds from looking over our yard railing.
Photo I just took of a male curve-billed thrasher guarding his nest in a sagebrush thicket growing in desert area adjacent to our yard.
By the way this particular male comes to my sliding glass door at night to say "good-night" to me with a loud "WIT! WIT!" until I nod to him. His mate also calls to me from the thicket, and I can hear other thrashers all over the mountainside also echoing the "wit, wit" call before the male dives into the thicket and everything goes silent for the night.
Praying is basicly talking to yourself, if that gave you comfort before, talk to yourself, out loud if you have to. If it was th fantasy that was so attractive, close your eyes and let your mind wander, visualize what you will and work with it. The answers were always within you. reach out to others.
Ripping out weeds in my gardens is great during spring and autumn, winter= grabbing the axe, the steel wedges, the 10lb sledge hammer and the chainsaw (if needed) and splitting wood for the wood heater, it gets the blood flowing, the temperature up and I often imagine the face, etc, of some annoying person, problem, etc, being on the piece of wood.
As for the accursed Telemarketers/Survey Pollsters ringing my landline, well, answering and speaking in either German, Latin or some meaningless drivel language I've invented at the time usually annoys them and release my stress.