Coping with Stress
Stress is one of our society’s greatest dilemmas. We feel it every day…pressure, strain, tension, sometimes burn-out. What is it that causes stress? What makes it so prominent today? How can we get out from under it’s heavy load? Stress is that feeling you experience when life is closing in on you with too many responsibilities, expectations, personal goals, changes, instabilities and life struggles.
Today more than anytime in history, we feel stressed-out. Why? Is it the proliferation of technology? Have we become human computers…with megabyte capacities and speed accelerations escalating out of control? Maybe for this and other reasons we’ve lost our humanity. We’ve become human doers rather than human beings. Our souls have grown empty. Our emotions have been blocked. Our relationships have deteriorated and our spirits have withered. We no longer have time to love or be loved. So how do we remedy the situation? How do we learn again to be human, learn to enjoy life?
We need to put God back in the picture. We need to begin with God Who made us to be….in relationship with Him and others. Who gave us a hunger inside for Him and His purpose in our lives. We need God. We long for God. We need God everyday. We are made to know God. We need Him to communicate with us and us with Him. We need to experience His love. We are not just computers…taking in information, processing it and spitting it out. We are people with souls, spirits, emotions, bodies and intellect. We are made in God’s image. Pascal said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man”. When that vacuum stays empty we try filling it with sex, alcohol, work, success, pleasure, fortune, addictions only to be reminded that we are still empty and feeling even more unfulfilled.
We need God to fill our hearts and lives. We need His power for living. Jesus Christ said, “come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” in Matt. 11:28. Take time out to know God. Read your Bible. Seek His face. Read the gospel of John. Think about what Christ has done for you. Rejoice in your faith. If you are not sure whether you know Christ personally, ask Him to come into your heart, trust Him for forgiveness of sins and eternal life. He died for our sins and has risen from the dead! He said, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me will live.” (John 11:25) Read about How To Have a Personal Relationship with God.
Then challenge yourself to drop out of some activities which are not serving God’s purpose and/or may be causing you undue stress. Take time to connect with Jesus Christ and His family….in a solid Christian church.
Next, I would encourage you to look at how to improve your nutrition, intake of vitamins and increase exercise….all of which will boost your immune system.
Reprioritizing your life is important. What activities can you cut down on that aren’t absolutely necessary and take a lot of your energy? It seems like taking care of yourself and your family are the most important goals for you now.
Next look at your life to see how you can get revitalized. Do you have some activities which inspire you such as going to church, or being involved in a support group or doing something which is meaningful or creative? Reading your Bible will inspire you. Start by reading the New Testament Gospels. Getting closer to God through prayer and fellowship in a local, healthy church which teaches the Bible and that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior will revitalize your life! Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 Growing in a relationship with Him will bring new hope, energy and perspective into your life.
Also, get a physical exam to see if there are any other health problems contributing to your stress symptoms.
Get support and a counseling evaluation as well. Please contact AACC for a referral to a counseling professional in your area.
Take care of yourself by exercising, sleeping 7-8 hours at night and eating nutritiously. Examine your personal pace of life and check out your stress level with the inventory. See what you might need to change. Simplify your life by starting to do and be what God made you to be. You will begin to feel more hopeful, more peaceful and encouraged as your soul and spirit are renewed.
Watch this Be Still and Know that I am God video for comfort and meditation.
Read the book: What’s Good About Anger? Fourth edition to understand how to practically manage your stress.
© copyright 2015 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC