Stress: How to Respond


There you are, stretching luxuriously in your comfy bed. The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. You take a deep breath, smile slightly, and sit up. Some coffee would be great right now!

Then, without warning, an alarm goes off signalling a new email or text message. You read it and your heart sinks. It could be anything. A doctor’s bill. A request for a parent/teacher conference concerning a child’s behavior. A friend expressing anger over something you didn’t realize you’d done. Whatever the content, the outcome is the same. You are no longer relaxed and rejuvenated from a good night’s sleep. You’re stressed out and that uneasiness sits in the pit of your stomach and makes your shoulders tense up.

What do you do?

I think a good external response starts with getting a healthy perspective on the situation before you react. If it ‘s not a life-changing issue, in the which case I am not qualified to give advice,  here are two things you can do:

1. Give it to God. Pray about the situation and your attitude. Problems are bound to come and we have the unique privilege to ask for God’s help and to be a witness to Christ’s faithfulness and sufficiency even when situations arise.

2. Put the stressor in its place. In light of God’s eternal, good plans for us, this problem is momentary. Don’t allow it to steal your joy or your peace or take over your whole day. Allow yourself to compartmentalize the issue. It only has as much power as you allow it to have!

After you’ve gained a healthy outlook on the stress-causing incident, you should do your best to attack the problem: work overtime to pay your bill, meet with the teacher and try to find a solution, or buy your friend a coffee and apologize earnestly. After you have given it your all, be done. You can’t change the past and worrying doesn’t help anything.  Also, you are only responsible for your own behavior. If someone else refuses to accept your honest, best efforts, then it’s their problem, not yours. Give yourself the freedom to say, “Whatever.” Not to their face, though. Just stop engaging in stress-inducing interaction with them.

There you have it, friends. Get back to having a great day.



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