<<pressure, hassle>>

This is a response of the body to demands made on it through unresolved tension arising from the pressures and irritations of life, conflicting or excessive obligations, difficult circumstances, uncertainty, our rights not being met, emotional and physical fatigue, or strained relationships, together with unconfessed sin. As there is an intertwining of the

Don’t carry tomorrows cares today                                     – Matthew 6:34

spirit, soul and body, stress affects the whole body and personality – eating, sleeping, health, work, relationships and spirituality. During these tense times, we are more vulnerable to temptation besides venting unresolved feelings on others. Being physically or emotionally stressed reduces the bodies immunity making it more susceptible to illness.

A certain amount of stress is beneficial in life to provide motivation, to challenge and extend our capabilities, but undue and unrelenting pressure that exceeds our ability to cope will have a detrimental influence on all we relate to besides us.

Managing stress

Periods of stress are refining times, giving the impetus to gain a true perspective and sort out priorities and set boundaries. Analyze the situations and events that cause you stress and realistically deal with them – what can be eliminated from my schedule, what needs to be conquered, what methods can
I use to bring this about? As much as we are able we are to be the masters of our lives, not being dictated to by others or circumstances.

If possible, eliminate the root cause of the stress and not just its effects
– kill the spider so you are not constantly removing its web! Deal with the

  Follow these stress relief techniques

pressures by reacting in a positive way; confront your fears and emotional anguish caused by past mistakes or undue concern about the future. Much of what we worry about never comes to pass or is of a reduced severity than our minds portray; even when we have made a mistake, it’s probably not as disastrous as we think, so learn from it and forgive yourself.

Take control of your thoughts, bringing them into submission so they don’t go down the predictable, negative pathway of reprocessing the information received (Rom 12:2; 2 Cor 10:5; 1 Pet 4:12). As Christians we should be influencing the world around us as we walk obediently and radiate peace, having a positive belief that God is in control, even if He didn’t author many of the circumstances, and confident that He will work everything out for our good (Rom 8:28).

Think ahead and plan, being committed to achieving your attainable goals but do not fret over what you can’t control yet uphold your integrity – which is being true to yourself (Lk 12:22-31). Know your vulnerable stressor points, pace yourself, and don’t leave everything till the last minute. Even in the midst of a stressful situation taking ‘a breather’, for a few minutes, can restore enthusiasm and energy, such as a good walk, watching a funny film or other diversionary tactics.

To counteract the negative influences of stress, it is vitally important to stay connected to God, praising Him for His faithfulness, mercy and love as a cheerful, thankful heart with an optimistic outlook is a good antidote to stress, “In God I trust…What can man do to me?” (Ps 56:3,4; Prov 17:22, 18:14; Lk 12:5). Focus in on God who, because He will never leave us, is our refuge and salvation at all times, providing strength beyond what is capable in our humanity (Ps 46:1; Isa 33:2, 40:30,31; Heb 4:16, 13:5).

The Bible’s advice is, “Trust in the Lord. Don’t let your heart be troubled” (Jn 14:1,27). Joy, prayer and praise form a triple antidote as we look to Jesus, our firm, anchor-like hope (1 Thes 5:16-18; Heb 6:19). In the (outer) world we will have trouble but in the inner world with Jesus there is peace, strength and restoration (Jn 16:33; 2 Cor 4:16; Eph 3:16). Remind yourself, “We did not receive a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” (Rom 8:15; 2 Tim 1:7).

A lot of the stress is because we foolishly try to shoulder ‘life’ ourselves ignoring His promise – “Come to me with your burdens and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28-30). Peter also advises us to ‘find rest for your soul’ by casting all your cares on Him (1 Pet 5:7). We should pray about everything, so then God’s peace will guard our hearts (Phil 4:6,7). This brings spiritual and emotional release – complaining doesn’t! We are able to conquer hardships because nothing can separate us from God’s love (Rom 8:35-39).  Although we are hard pressed and crushed we should not lose heart for ‘faithful is He who has called us’ and He will complete what He has started (2 Cor 4:8,9,16; Phil 1:6).

Nourishing food and adequate rest are vital, together with physical activity to reduce the tension, through improved circulation to eliminate harmful toxins, and so bring restoration to the whole body.

Often in today’s hectic lifestyle, the pace and the pressures create burnout and unnecessary turmoil within. We need wisdom and balance to know what we should be involved with, yet graciously and firmly decline other opportunities, which although they ‘are of God’ and will advance His Kingdom are not for us personally; have such a relationship with God that you clearly hear His voice and feel secure in saying ‘no’. We can’t do everything and we need time out to refocus and recharge our batteries.

See also: balance, body/soul/spirit, burdens, burnout, emotions, focus, pressure, reaction, relationships, rest, temper, tension, wisdom/wise, worry

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