The last article was quite interesting, but I think it needs a Reader’s Digest treatment to make the salient points clear.
There are two types of stress – that which comes from outside of us (like a tornado that levels our house or being laid off from a job) and that which comes from within us (like worry, fear, perfectionism, a Type A personality, negative thinking, too much to do in too little time, having nothing to do, etc.). Both of these sources of stress
have a lot to do with our thinking. You only have to watch television news broadcasts to see the different types of thinking from the victims of tragedies and trauma. To one family, a young child dies in a tragic car accident, and the parents are devastated, fall into depression, and eventually divorce. To another family, a young child dies in a tragic car accident, and the parents grieve, but they have a faith and a peace knowing that their child is in a better place. There is a huge amount of stress in both situations, and the first family is crushed by the stress and the second family feels the burden of the stress but is able to control it with their thinking.
From within, there is stress that comes from having too much to do and too little time to do it. Let’s look at how two different people handle such stress. One person feels the situation is hopeless and accepts more and more stress until his body is so tense that his chest constricts with pain, he has trouble sleeping and eating, and eventually falls into depression. Another person takes time to reflect on her condition and changes her thinking to lessen the stress. “Perhaps this is a bump in the road that will smooth out in a few months. If it doesn’t, I can always look for a new job. In the meantime, I’ll do the best I can in the given situation and carve out time for myself to exercise, relax, and learn to block out work when I leave the office and switch to being a mother, wife, and friend to others. I’ll also hire a business coach to help me better manage my workflow and develop right attitudes toward my being inundated with work. Maybe it would be good to talk to my supervisor also.”
The main point of the last article is that there is stress in our lives. Only dead people have no stress. Or people who are medicated so heavily that most stress is dampened. Or people who live the life of a recluse, spending most of the day watching TV and laying in a lounge chair. Those are not good choices. We need stress in our lives because that is what it means to be alive. It’s when the stress overcomes us that our body, soul, and spirit are affected.
So what’s the answer to stress? Not to eliminate it, but to control it with your thinking. Let’s see how that works in a diagram, on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being stress beyond imagination.
80 ——- —– too much stress and heading to depression
50 ————–the stress you can handle in your comfort zone
30 ———– —life without and life within going very well
10———– —you’re living a life of escape of some sort
We’ll deal with the matter of stress in future blogs, simply because it is a major player in depression, anxiety, and physical and mental health and wholeness. Excessive stress also dampens the spirit.