“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”Philippians 4:8-9
Stress is a part of life and it can wreak havoc on our body, soul, and mind if we do not know how to cope with it in our daily life. Stress is the result of pressure, strain, or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances, or circumstances you feel are out of your control. Stress can be overwhelming and can cause anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, pounding heart, insomnia, and premature aging among others. One of the best things we can do for ourselves when encountering stress is to manage it in healthy ways.
God shows us the way to consider stress. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”(James 1:2-4). Changing your perspective on stress and knowing that God is in control, that He loves us and wants the best for us, can enable us to look at the stressors in a different way which can be freeing. Once we’re able to see the stressors in a different light, we are better able to make use of stress management tools like relaxation techniques, physical activity, communicating your feelings or counseling, time management techniques etc.
We also need to keep ourselves mentally and spiritually strong and resilient before stress occurs. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9). We need to know who we are in Christ, strengthen the areas in which we are weak, and put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). We need to be prepared with the truth that God has our back no matter the stress of the moment. “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
Start. Trust that God loves you and wants the best for you. Pray and meditate before, during, and after stressful moments so you have an understanding of each event and can take lessons from it. Make use of stress management techniques like controlled breathing, positive thinking, time management, exercise, doing something you love, treating yourself, talking to close friends and family, and more.