Stress (IGBATTMHO All Rights Reserved)
Stressful feelings are triggered by our view of a situation or event not necessarily the event itself. Just because a situation is stressful for me, does not mean that it will be for you. However, when our mind does perceive a situation to be stressful, it sends orders to the rest of our body. Our body then responds to the orders that it receives from the mind, by becoming both emotionally and physiologically aroused. Have you ever almost had a car accident? Or have you ever been startled by something that seemed to come out of nowhere? Well if so, you may have experienced a sudden increase in your heart rate, sweating, and muscle tension. Those symptoms were activated by the mind to prepare the body to either flee, or to face the situation that was triggering the response. When the event that caused your body to be aroused was removed, those symptoms diminished. But some of us live in a constant state, or near constant state of arousal or stress. Our bodies and emotions don’t get a chance to relax so we are always on guard. Unfortunately, the longer our bodies are subjected to stress, the more detrimental the impact will be. Ongoing symptoms of stress can trigger a whole host of negative symptoms to include: increased sleeping, overeating, depression, muscle tension, ulcers, nervousness, loss of sexual appetite, tiredness, and memory loss (Cunningham, 2000). So for the sake of the kingdom we must learn to decrease the impact of stress on our lives.
There are many strategies that we can use to manage our stress. However, there is no one strategy that will work for everyone in every situation. So in order to manage your stress you must look at the specific situation that you are facing, and choose a strategy that will work best for you. For example, changing jobs, learning how to relax, and learning better communication techniques may be appropriate strategies for one situation, but making diet changes, learning assertiveness skills, and exercise may be more appropriate in another. While there are many ways a person can manage stress, the one strategy that we want to focus on here, is the strategy of changing the way we think. Face it, we may not be able to change the situation that is causing us stress but by changing our thoughts we may be able to decrease the impact of stress on our lives. Take a few minutes to review the list of strategies on the next page and pick the one that works best for you.
Managing Stress – Changing How We Think
- Face reality, there are some things that you may not be able to change.
- Learn to release feelings of anger in appropriate ways before it builds up.
- Evaluate the things that cause you to worry. Instead of letting your mind focus on the problems, spend some time trying to identify ways to solve the things that cause you to worry.
- Learn to see a crisis as a chance for change.
- Learn to see both sides of a problem. Remember there may be three sides to every situation, your side, my side, and the right side.
- Instead of meditating on negative things, meditate on ways to solve your problem using the Word of God and His principles.
- Eliminate thoughts that distress you. Challenge negative thoughts that come to your mind. Are those thoughts balanced? Are they accurate?
- Think about the consequences.
- Have realistic expectations.
- Realize that there may be times that you will have to say no.
- Realize that there may be times that you will have to make a decision.
- Realize that there may be times that you will not get what you want.
- What are your stressors?
- Why are they stressors?
- What are your stress symptoms?
- What can be done to alleviate your stress symptoms?
- What barriers will you face?
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
Jeremiah 17:7 (KJV)
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. Psalms 37:23 (KJV)