Are you stressed? Are you like the man in the photo who, when under stress, tends to overeat to the point of gluttony? Or are you like the woman in the photo who looks old for her age because of stress at work? In our fast-paced, highly-competitive and modern world, I think no one is exempted from experiencing stress. Even a baby inside a mother’s womb experiences stress on certain occasions! Indeed, everyone will experience stress, whether major or minor, whether positive or negative. Certainly, stress has become part of every human being’s life that cannot be completely avoided. Given its inevitable nature, the question now is – how well do you handle stress in your life?
Some people handle negative stress well, and it has little effect on their emotional or physical health. Others, who are very negatively influenced by it, become the victims of fatigue, chronic headaches, irritability, change in appetite, withdrawal, high blood pressure, insomnia and gastrointestinal disorders. Negative stress creates a tremendous breeding ground for illness. Researchers estimate that stress contributes to over 80% of all major illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, endocrine and metabolic disease, skin disorders, and infectious diseases of different kinds. And even if the illness is not caused by stress, it most certainly is made worse by it.
After reading the book “Greater Health God’s Way” by Stormie Omartian, I was reminded that, even though we can’t control all stress, we can control how we react to it. People who cope well with day-to-day negative stress have some kind of outlet or source of inner strength. They take charge of daily decisions about what they will allow into their lives and what they will not. On the other hand, people who succumb to negative stress are the ones who get victimized by various illnesses like high blood pressure and ulcer. In Stormie’s seven steps to greater health, the foremost step is securing a consistent peaceful and relatively stress-free life. One cannot be successful in achieving good health by only doing exercise and diet without a certain level of peace in his/her life.
Here are some tips (or friendly reminders) that you can ponder on to help you take control of the situations that you face everyday and achieve real peace in life:
- First and foremost, having a right relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ, and being filled with His Holy Spirit, is the only true peace you will ever have. Peace, health, and beauty all begin here. Have a deep, committed, loving walk with God in order to have good health in every area of your life.
“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart.” – Job 22:21-22
- Have a personal daily time alone with God. The more time you spend with God alone in quiet solitude, the better you will hear His voice guiding you and directing you to His will and purposes for your life. Prayer gives us a supernatural storage of strength and peace that we can draw on everyday no matter how toxic our schedule may be or how chaotic our situation may be in now. Pray also for your loved ones and the people you deal with everyday. Your peace depends on God working in their lives, too.
“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” – Psalm 5:3
- Begin your day with an attitude of praise and worship for a loving Father. Even if you feel your life is getting out of control, begin to praise God. Focusing everything outward to God is a wonderful, positive way to bring about mental health. It is one of the most health-building things you can do for every area of your life.
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24
- Feed on the Word of God daily as one of the keys to emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever.” – Isaiah 40:8
- To deal with stress, either you do something to change the situation or learn to “be content whatever the circumstances” and fortify yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually to survive it.
“For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:11-13
- A life with an abundance of laughter and joy promotes good health, so take time to laugh or find humor in a situation. On the other hand, crying is also good for you sometimes. A free flow of tears appears to be a healthy, natural release from stress. Crying can be a positive, healthy reaction that we should allow ourselves to do.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22
- To live truly in peace, you must watch what comes out of your mouth. When you are angry, deal with it immediately. Don’t shorten your life, or impair the quality of your life, by giving in to unforgiveness. It’s a slow and painful killer; it grows like a cancer. On the other hand, when you do something wrong, confess it to God. No matter how small the wrongdoing, do not carry around a burden of guilt about it. It’s not good for your health.
“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” – Ephesians 4:26-27
- The best work you’ll ever do in your life is the work you most enjoy. Be who God created you to be and you’ll find out what you were created to do.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2
- Simplify! Don’t allow your life to get too complicated. Calmness and strength are lost in too much busyness and rush. As much as possible, get rid of things you can live without so you can better care for everyone that you love. Simplicity brings peace.
“In quietness and trust is your strength.” – Isaiah 30:15
Nobody can avoid stress altogether but you can do many things to minimize it. Stress is relieved by a right relationship with God, the true source of all peace, among others. Be filled with Him.