Managing Stress Effectively
It was Benjamin Franklin who said there are two things in life that are certain: death & taxes. If he were alive today, I think he would add a third--stress. We live in a society of daily tension, frustration, and endless pressure. As life becomes more complicated, there is more stress.
We have not learned to manage stress effectively. Because of that, it can impact our body. It can lead to high blood pressure, ulcers, migraine headaches, skin rashes, asthma attacks, and strokes. Medical professionals will tell us that stress will literally kill you!
The word stress is not found in the Bible, but there are other words that convey the same meaning. You find the word “distress” 84 times in the scripture. The word “anxious” 13 times, the word “worry” 22 times, and the word “burdened” 54 times. All of those words could be synonymous with stress.
What are the major causes of stress? I feel there are (6) major contributors:
1) CHANGE - any kind of change will bring some degree of stress
2) PERFECTIONISM - a person who demands perfection of themselves or others
3) CONFLICT - in the home, marriage, job
4) FINANCES - nothing will bring more stress than a lack of finances
5) CRITICISM - any form of criticism increases stress
6) OVERWORK - taking on more than you can do
I believe the Bible conveys that there are (8) biblical ways to manage stress effectively:
1) THE SALVATION EXPERIENCE - Phil 4:13 When Christ is in your life, you are not alone. He is always with you. Winning the battle over stress begins at this point.
2) LEARN TO RELAX - Mark 6:31 Jesus had sent the disciple out to preach, teach, and heal. When they returned, Jesus said this, “Come with me to a quiet place and get some rest”
3) ORGANIZE YOUR TIME - 1 Cor 7:29 says that “time is short”. We need to set priorities and do important things first. Procrastination adds to stress.
4) DEVELOP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE TOWARD LIFE - Prov 23:7 in the KJV says this, “as a man thanketh, so is he”. Our attitude determines our outlook.
5) PROPER DIET & EXERCISE - Prov 23:2 is an interesting verse--it says “put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony”. Concerning exercise--John 4:3 talks about Jesus walking from Judea to Galilee, which is about 50 miles. On numerous occasions, Jesus made the walk from Jerusalem to Jericho which is 20 miles. We need to take care of our bodies.
6) DEVELOP A SENSE OF HUMOR - Prov 17:22 says, “a cheerful heart is good medicine”. I feel one of the main ingredients that is missing in our homes today is laughter.
7) PRAYER - In Mark 1:35, “Jesus departed to a solitary place and there He prayed”. Rather than being worried & stressed out about things--pray about it.
8) LIVE ONE DAY AT A TIME - Matt 6:34 says “Do not worry about tomorrow…each day has enough trouble of its own” The past--we can’t change it. The future--we can’t control it. All we have is today. We need to live in the present.