Thousands of pages have been written about the subject of stress, so I wonder if there’s really anything new I could possibly say to help someone who is struggling with it. Most likely not. I myself am still fighting that “beast” that tries to pull me down and take away my joy of living.
But over the years, my defense wall has grown higher and stronger and I’ve learned some tricks along the way. Though I haven’t completely overcome stress, I think I can safely say that it doesn’t control my life anymore. With God’s help, I’ve managed to tame the wild beast. It can’t harm me anymore, but I have to constantly be on guard.
Unfortunately we can’t just snap our fingers and make stress disappear from our lives. But let’s take a look at a few things that have helped me minimize the negative effect of stress.
Faith in God: God is like a coach that knows how to strengthen us, both physically and mentally. Though we might feel like we’re “dying” and that we can’t take it anymore, He cheers us on and encourages us to endure just a bit more and not give up during our most trying times. He will never give us more than we are able to bear,1 and if we hold on a little longer, we will come out stronger and more capable of fighting our future battles. Jesus doesn’t expect a perfect performance from us; He only wants us to trust Him and not give up. Trust your Heavenly Coach.
Regular exercise: It’s well known that exercise causes your body to increase the production of hormones that fight stress and stress-related sicknesses. Whenever I was stressed out, I would experience pain on the left side of my lower abdomen, but since I started exercising regularly, that pain is completely gone. Though any kind of exercise is better than no exercise at all, group activities/sports have the added bonus of engaging our mind and personal skills as well.
Prayer and meditation: Taking time to talk to God and unload all our worries and concerns on His shoulders is essential. Our heavenly Father loves us and wants to help us. All we have to do is ask.2
1. See 1 Corinthians 10:13.
2. See Matthew 7:7.