“Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61: 1-2
If you think stress is something not to deal with, you are wrong. Stress, worry, and anxiety can really affect your health, hinder you to perform well and effectively, and also steal your joy. Years ago, I found a cyst, a harmless lump on my body, and I went to see the specialist, and they took it out. But guess what? The doctor told me there was nothing wrong with me apart from being very stressed out, and because of the stress I was experiencing at the time it reacted on my hormones, and that cyst was part of the reaction from it. And to be honest, I didn’t even know that I was really stressed out. If it wasn’t for the cyst reaction showing on my body, I wouldn’t even find out that I was stressed out. Sometimes life leaves us no options, and make what is presented to us to look practically normal to us until we are so overwhelmed by it. So when the doctor diagnosed me, he told me I needed to make some changes, I needed to do something about my stress.
Whether we have busy schedules or not, we all have experienced stressful and overwhelming situations before. Believe it or not, stress can low your energy, change your mood, let alone it can destroy your health. So how do you practical handle stress or deal with overwhelming situations?
- Cast Your Care
Or like others who say, “This too shall pass…hahaha.” The Bible advises us we should always cast our care upon the Lord. There are lots of scriptures that say worrying about your situations do not help you a bit. In the book of 1Peter chapter 5 verse 7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” But also the book of Psalm chapter 55 verse 22, it says, “Give your burdens to the LORD, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” And if you are overwhelmed about your plans and goals, and you want them to succeed, the book of Proverbs chapter 16 verse 3 says, “Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.” The Lord Jesus said in the book of Matthew chapter 6 verse 27, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Another Bible translation, the same scripture says, “And who of you by worrying is able to add one cubit to his stature?” So cast your care and trust things will work out, and when they don’t, just remember not to stress yourself over it to make your life even worse. Proverbs chapter 3 verses 5 and 6 say, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Sometimes God may have other plans for your life, so if things don’t work like you expected, maybe it is for the best. Do you remember this Serenity Payer? “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Consider what you can control, and work on that. But also keep in mind, we are all not perfect. One way or another we will make mistakes. When that happens, stop beating yourself up over your mistakes or other people mistakes. In the Book of Matthew chapter 5 verse 7, its says, “God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” But also remember that a positive attitude overcomes the tallest obstacles.
- Take It to The Lord in Prayer
I suggest you do this and then cast your care. Because after you pray, The Lord will release you from your burden and stress. I have seen it working in my life. I will pray and then praise The Lord, maybe for half an hour. After that even if the problem or situation is still there, and nothing has been resolved or solved, I will be burden free. I will manage to stay calm, and be in a better position to think clear and figure out where the stress is coming from. There is something about spending time with God, in prayer, in reading the scriptures, and when we praise and worship Him. The Bible records in the book of Acts chapter 16 verses 25 and 26, “Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!” The book of Philippians chapter 4 verses 6 and 7 say, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” But also in the book of Colossians chapter 3 verse 16, it says, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
- Have Some Leisure Time
There are always going to be problems to solve in our lives. Make time in your free or busy time to enjoy and relax a little. There were times I would be so stressed out at work, so I would leave and go to the shopping mall in my afternoon break for one thing only to buy an ice cream cone. And I would walk around a little inside the mall, window shopping until I finish my ice cream, and then go back to the office. After that I would be so relaxed and I would have bought my lunch with me, and then eat there at work. Sometimes when we feel overwhelmed, we just need to get out and get some fresh air to help reduce the stress. During my free time I like to watch and listen to comedy videos on YouTube. Everybody needs to laugh more often. I know, I do…hahaha. Some people are incredible funny, they can make you laugh to the core. Laughing is good for our emotional well-being. But I also like to watch movies. If you have been following me from the beginning, you probably know by now one of my favorite Christian movies of all times, “One Night with the King.” I also like to watch and listen to inspirational teachings, and reading articles, books; not only to learning something, but sometimes it relaxes me, especially if it is a faith building message. I am not a social media addict, but occasionally when I am stressed out, I will checkout other people’s profiles, the interesting ones just to get out from the bad energy. Honestly, you don’t have to wait until Friday, or until you take a vacation to have fun, to relax, and enjoy your life. I heard there are some people having happy hour every day, Monday to Friday after work…hahaha. I mean, life or the future is unpredictable, live a little when you can because you never know how your tomorrow is going to be. Believe me, even bad things happen to the so called good people. You can also find yourself a hobby that enriches your world, something that you are passionate about, something that you love to do, and do it more often.
- Eat Well and Get Physically Fit
This is for me too; I am going to be honest with you. I used to exercise regularly and just recently my Mom visited me and she asked me what time I was going to exercise, and I said ‘aah, maybe tomorrow.’ She was surprised because she used to see me exercise on daily basis. Anyway, I will get back on track soon, because I have discovered that when I exercise in the evening, I would sleep well and early that night, and therefore get more sleep. And in the morning when I wake up, even if some parts of my body will be a little bit sore, but my mind would be so sharp and alert to tackle the day. There is so much benefit of exercising regularly. Of course one of them is that it reduces your stress and releases happy chemicals in your body, hence improve your mood. But I have also done a Google search; some experts say regular exercise and workout can improve your memory and ability to learn new things. When you exercise and workout on regular basis it can improve your brainpower. These experts say cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells that can improve your overall brain performance. They even say when you exercise and workout more often it is believed to help with decision making, creative and higher thinking, and learning. And we all know exercising and getting fit, can improve our self-image, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Regardless of weight, size, gender, or age, exercise can quickly elevate a person’s perception of his or her attractiveness. What we eat and drink as regular intake can impact our moods and emotional state of being. There are some food and drinks especially the ones containing caffeine and alcohol, even if are consumed in smaller amounts can trigger all kinds of things that can be bad to our health, wellness, and emotional well-being. Do your own research, and create a diet that fits your lifestyle. But remember also to increase your water intake, eat more fruits, and vegetables, take vitamins daily, and so forth.
- Prioritize and Manage Your Time and Activities Well
Zig Ziglar said “If you don’t like your situation in life, don’t fret or worry. Do something about it. Worry less, and act more.” One of the biggest stressors for many people is poor time management. There are so many things on our to-do-lists that shouldn’t even be there in the first place. We are wasting our precious time sometimes on things that don’t matter at all. Sometimes we don’t even want to do them, but because we are people- pleasers, we will make time for them. I know what I am talking about. People-pleaser syndrome is time stealer and stress contributor. It’s better to say no and be true to yourself and others. It can also help you avoid the stress of taking on activities and engagements that do not add value to your life, or they are time wasting activities. We all have 24 hours, and yet some manage well those hours, and some don’t. I know a few colleagues who are full-time over-performing employees, but yet award-winning parents, rarely heard them complained of having lack of sleep, and on their social media profiles they look happy with their families having the best time of their lives. Most productive and successful people manage their time very well. Stress-free and happy people prioritize their time and activities. They protect and value their time. Perhaps everything about them and their lives is well-planned.
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To your success,