Stress is part of normal life, but sometimes if there are new challenges and difficult situations, it can get to all of us. My experience is that just ignoring it, doesn’t make it go away, so here are a few suggestions about what works for me.
Back to basics! Make sure that you are eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep. Poor eating and sleeping habits will increase your stress levels quicker than anything else. If in doubt have a talk to your doctor.
Exercise! Physical fitness is a great way to sweat out problems, and get a new perspective on things. It also releases natural endorphins which will make you feel better. Find an exercise group that you can join, or a partner to go walking or jogging with.
Laugh! Don’t let things get you down, and don’t always take yourself seriously. Loosen up and have some fun, even if it means laughing at yourself. Aussies have always been known for being able to see the funny side of things.
Initiative! Don’t just sit there, if at all possible, do something about your situation. Instead of blaming everybody else for how you feel take responsibility for it. Become proactive and take control of your life.
Expect things to improve! When you adopt a positive attitude it is contagious and will catch on. Even if it doesn’t change your situation it will change how you feel about it.
Friendship! Allow those close to you, someone that you trust, to know how you feel and what is getting at you. Yes, that requires some vulnerability, but how else will they know you need some encouragement.
What holds all that together? BELIEF! Faith that God is in control and that He cares about you.
The fact is, stress can have beautiful results. Pearls are the product of stress, pain and pressure, they are the healed wound, born of adversity and irritation.
Who knows what beauty may grow out of your stress IF you handle it the right way. If you’re needing someone to talk with, find a Padre, Priest or Pastor – they can help you find some direction in life.
Chaplain Ian Whitley