Turning Stress Into Success Part II
"Don't worry about anything, instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand."1
In continuing our two-part series on handling stress remember also what René Dubos said, "What happens in the mind of man is always reflected in the disease of his body."
The first four steps for turning stress into success are: (1) Realize that some stress is helpful; (2) Be aware that stress is only troublesome when it continues for too long or if there is too much of it; (3) Recognize symptoms as early as possible; and (4) Identify causes. The fifth step in turning stress into success is: Seek a practical cure.
1. The starting point to turn stress into success is to lessen your load. Eighty percent of the cure can come out of writing down all your cares and responsibilities in order of priority, then eliminating the least important.
2. Remember that Superman and Superwoman exist only in comics and films. Everybody has a breaking point, so recognize yours and call a halt before you reach your limit.
3. With stress comes pent-up feelings. Get them "off your chest" by sharing them with a trusted friend or counselor. This of itself can bring immediate relief and helps you to think and plan more objectively.
4. Stop fighting situations that can't be changed. As one father told his impatient teenager, "If you would only realize and accept the fact that life is a struggle, things would be so much easier for you." Learning to live with and get on top of struggles is what helps us grow and mature.
5. Try to avoid making too many major life changes during the course of a single year.
6. If you hold resentment towards another person, resolve your differences right away. Never "let the sun go down while you are still angry."2
7. Make time for rest and relaxation. Learn to "come apart and rest a while before you come apart."
8. Watch your diet and eating habits. When under stress we tend to overeat—especially junk food which increases stress. A balanced diet of proteins, vitamins, and fiber while also eliminating white sugar, caffeine, too much fat, alcohol and nicotine is essential for lowering stress and its effects.
9. Be sure to get plenty of physical exercise. This keeps you healthier and helps burn up excess adrenaline caused by stress and its accompanying anxiety.
10. The ultimate answer to turning stress into success is to learn to trust God and live in harmony with his will for your daily life. Read again the words in today's Bible verse above.
God's peace comes through accepting and trusting to God those circumstances that can't be changed, however difficult they may be. Perhaps this is what Christ meant when he spoke of taking up our cross daily and following him. Certainly he fully accepted his cross and trusted his situation to God and thereby was totally vindicated.
And so with us. If we take responsibility to do what we can to lessen our stress load and then, like Christ, take up our cross and daily commit and trust our life and way to God, we too will turn our stress into success, knowing that, in the words of the poet:
'Tis not the softer things of life
Which stimulate man's will to strive;
But bleak adversity and strife
Do most to keep man's will alive.
O'er rose-strewn paths the weaklings creep,
But brave hearts dare to climb the steep.3
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please 'give me the courage to change the things I can and need to change, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.' And again, help me to trust my life to You in every situation in which I find myself. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT).
2. Ephesians 4:26 (NIV).
3. Author Unknown