Simply put, stress is mental, emotional or physical strain caused by anxiety or overwork. This strain, or pressure, many times produces tension, trauma or even a fracture. A bone can have a “stress fracture” which is a small break in a bone caused by repeated physical strain or heavy pressure. Medically, stress is the root cause of a wide array of afflictions, some minor and some life threatening.
Relentless pressure produces stress. That is just the way things work. Many times there is little we can do about the stress that comes with daily living. But, there are things we can do about the stress that arises from anxiety, which is far and away the more dangerous kind of stress.
When a person crumbles under the heavy weight of stress (pressure), there is a good chance they will breakdown either physically or emotionally. Back “in the day”, this was known as a nervous breakdown. Now days it is simply known as being stressed out. A person under extreme stress is unpredictable, unhappy and unpleasant to be around.
As difficult as it is to do, we must learn how to “let go and let God” help us during times of stress. Whether it be music, sleep, meditation, physical exercise, reading, watching a movie or a long walk in the woods; each one of us needs to know ourselves well enough to know how to vent the pressure before we blow up. A pressure cooker does a great job cooking, but it needs a vent to release steam or it would blow up.
People can only function under extreme stress for a season before that stress causes them to fall apart, break up or explode. Since none of these things are pleasant, it behooves us to find and faithfully do whatever it takes to try and avoid unnecessary stress and have a way to vent stress when it builds up in our lives.
Many times all we need is a long drive or a short vacation to relieve the stress seeking to tear us down. Many times all we need is to get away from the pressure long enough to restore our faith in God’s ability to provide and willingness to take care of us. Many times all we need is a time to safely vent the building steam and then we will be able to handle the pressure cooker of life once again.
Stress arising from physical maladies, mental anguish or emotional pressure can be devastating or it can make us better people. When we learn the art of handling stress before it breaks us, we are not only able to help ourselves but those around us.
Before stress blows you up, please take some time and get away from the situation long enough to remove anxiety, calm frayed nerves, restore a broken spirit and refresh a broken down body. Even Jesus made a habit of taking time to be alone with God and we should definitely follow His example!
While stress is always... well... stressful, since my brain injury I do not handle it very well at all. Stress always intensifies or reveals our "weaknesses". I am very thankful that my husband understands this and is very quick to intervene with his prayers and support. When this first started to happen, he was initially in shock for my response was dead opposite of what it always had been. Fortunately in my case, the reason for this change was easily identified and confirmed.
While I can't change the physical response I have to stress nowadays, I can still take steps in regards to managing it. I have strictly limited to what I take on and I recognize that I must juggle one ball rather than the ten, six, three or even two. It makes no difference whether or not other people can do more. I'm not them. I'm me and I can't. This bothers people who believe you should "push yourself" and while there is a certainly a time for that, sometimes pushing ourselves is the very thing we should NOT do! Yes, initially I felt bad about it but after several years I have come to terms with the fact that there is nothing to feel bad about. This is where I "live" nowadays.
I must carve out those quiet moments for myself every single day. I must not grieve about what I can no longer do but rejoice in what I can do and make the most of it.
What it has done is caused me to get alone with God much more frequently and in reality, I am probably living life much more fully. There's nothing wrong with slowing down when you need to... lest we crash.
There is a very good point here. We often do not live within our capabilities.
Sometimes because we don't want to admit we have limitations.
We all have those limits. We need to recognize them and live within them. Not doing so will indeed put us in stressful living.
Sometimes it seems life just doesn't allow us to slow down.
Most of time this happens when we have taken on more than we can do and we need to take a good look at our priorities. After all we set our own schedules.
Then there are those time of course that things are just beyond our control. These are the toughest times because we have to come to terms with the fact that we simply have no control and we must just let it go and give it to God.
And if you happen to be one of those "A" personality people - you know all of these can be hard to do.