I have learned that most of the stress that many of us experience is actually self-generated. If I complain to someone that I am stressed out, it’s like I'm complaining that I've stuck my finger in my eye and it hurts.
That’s silly, right?
Perhaps this is a paradox because I used to think of external stressors when I became upset.
It is the weather,
the stock market,
Recognizing that I create most of my own stress, however, was an important first step to dealing with it.
Some external stressors include:
Physical environment: noise, bright lights, heat, confined spaces.
Social (interaction with people): rudeness, bossiness or aggressiveness on the part of someone else.
Organizational: rules, regulations, "red tape," deadlines.
Major life events: death of a relative, lost job, promotion, new baby.
Daily hassles: commuting, misplacing keys, mechanical breakdowns.
Internal stressors include:
Lifestyle choices: caffeine, not enough sleep, overloaded schedule, personal resources & budget.
Negative self-talk: pessimistic thinking, self-criticism, over-analyzing.
Mind traps: unrealistic expectations, taking things personally, all-or-nothing thinking, exaggerating, rigid thinking, conspiracy theories...
Stressful personality traits: Type A, perfectionist, workaholic, pleaser.
A Believer’s List of Stress Reducers
Nobody can do all these - I can't! But I like to review them when needed. I compiled these from many sources and experiences over the years.
1. Study, understand, and obey the Bible every day.
2. Pray a lot. "Do not worry about anything; instead PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING." Philippians 4:6
3. Tell your loved ones- family, friends, especially your spouse- that you love them. Tell them often. Hugs are just as good when given as when received. "Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her" Ephesians 5:25
4. Never argue with, dress down, insult, or embarrass anyone, including your closest loved ones, in front of other people including family members. Praise in public, rebuke in private. No exceptions. Have a private conversation. Teach this to your family.
5. Be an active part of a loving church family (or circle of Godly friends) who cares for you like you care for them.
Sherry, Barb, Takiyah (Robert's wonderful wife). Takiyah will bring forth a new grandchild to us this May...
6. Say "NO" to projects and activities for which you aren’t gifted, won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.
7. Delegate tasks to capable others. Do not try to do it all – it deprives others of helping. God will provide someone to take care of the things you can’t.
8. Simplify and un-clutter your life. Let the phone take the message once in a while. Use the TV and PC righteously and wisely. Give items that you don't need or use to charity.
9. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
10. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.
11. Take one day at a time. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven...” Ecclesiates 3:1 (This is my favorite verse these days)
Barb's brother Mark and his family: Front row - Jennifer, Megan, Megan's beau (sorry I forgot his name), Back row - Marl, Tricia.
12. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you to do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't control or do anything about a situation, pray about it and put it on a back burner – let God handle it. This one thing is by far the strongest source of stress.
13. Live within your budget. God will provide what you need – not want. God owns all money – honor Him by handling it carefully. My raise in salary was only 1% this year, but I thanked Him I had a job! I know many who have lost their jobs or their business is suffering...“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17
14. K. M. S. (Keep Mouth Shut) Sometimes in the heat of the moment this single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble. "He who guards his lips guards his soul." Proverbs 13:3
15. Get organized so everything has its place. If you have a lot to organize then work on this a little at a time.
16. If something wonderful happens give God the Glory first.
17. Everyday, find time to be alone – with God.
18. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until its time to go to bed to try and pray.
19. Make new Godly friends, no matter how old you get...
20. Keep a paper or memo book of favorite scriptures on hand.
21. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good "Thank you Jesus!"
22. Laugh! Make others laugh. God’s world is pretty funny most of the time.
23. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can). As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
24. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most). “Kill them with kindness” as the old saying goes. Jesus did this A LOT.
25. Do things to help those who are less fortunate than you.
Robert, Joe, Me
26. Sit on your ego. Recognize that others can’t do this and just smile and nod…
27. Talk less; listen more. Sing when you can. “Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
28. Slow down. Be patient. Hurry begats worry. "I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
29. Note: Come to think of it, if you just follow line items 1. and 2. you won’t need to worry about the rest of the list!
God bless you all.
Me, Bros. Kip & Pete