Life is stressful.
The news is stressful.
All forms of social media are stressful.
Finances, college funds, finding a new job, car repairs, relationships, family — the list goes on and on. Internal issues like fear and insecurity can create stress faster than a rock in your shoe. This doesn’t even include major life moments like deaths, divorces or marriages. Everything is stressful.
Happy times can create stress. A graduation, a birth, a promotion, all are stressful, even when we don’t realize it.
You can shift your focus, and look at things a little differently.
Yes, it’s stressful having a child move from home, but be thankful your child is healthy, strong and able to move away.
Yes, car repairs are costly, but be thankful you’re not riding the bus.
If you are reading this, then you have the capacity and ability to find a job and shelter to meet your basic needs.
We can ‘succeed’ all our lives, and yet feel out of control. ‘Failures’ can feel like victories if we feel in control of our destiny. Our stress is influenced by our perspective.
We can try shifting focus, and remaining positive and goal-oriented, but the fact is it’s easy to feel stress when you think about loading your stuff into a truck and moving away.
In 1967, two psychiatrists created a stress inventory to determine if stress contributes to illness. “They surveyed more than 5,000 medical patients and asked them to say whether they had experienced any of a series of 43 life events in the previous two years. Each event, called a Life Change Unit (LCU), had a different “weight” for stress. The more events the patient added up, the higher the score. The higher the score, and the larger the weight of each event, the more likely the patient was to become ill.”
You can take an on-line Holmes-Rahe inventory here: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTCS_82.htm
A better explanation of the life events can be found here: https://www.stress.org/holmes-rahe-stress-inventory/
In times of stress, the best response is to be pro-active. To know that the headlines will upset you, to realize that the holidays are stressful, even when they are enjoyable.
We feel stress when we feel out of control. When we take control of a situation, we feel less stress.
Sometimes prayers and faith simply aren’t enough. To get through stressful times, we often have to turn to trusted friends for help or accept that some things can be ‘good enough’ rather than perfect. When feeling stress, we must strive to remember that we will be okay. You will be okay.
It may rain today, but the sun will come out again.
Weeping lasts through the night, but joy comes in the morning.
Because, as Will Rogers wrote, “worrying is like paying on a debt that may never come due.”
As difficult as it seems, the simple answer to stress is to not worry. To try to see beyond the fear, and rest in the comfort that the Spirit of God is with us, in good times and bad.
“For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat or drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on,” Jesus says. “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the air, they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by worrying can add a single hour to her life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. … You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ … For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I think a lot of life’s events are intended to get us back to living by faith and not by sight. We’ve had that problem ever since Adam and Eve had their eyes opened. Years ago there were things I didn’t believe I could let go of but like the game of pick up sticks as I let go of the easy ones, the harder ones were easier to handle. The more of them we let go of the less stress we will have in our lives. Jesus said He would give us His peace and while we might not get as much of it as we need all at once we can get a little day by day. In the meantime I find I have to do something physical to help my body deal with the remaining stressful situations.