By Jamarl D. Clark, AEAP Assistant Coordinator
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5 is a scripture that is familiar to many, one that expresses how we, as human-beings, should never be because we should put all our trust into a higher power. Unfortunately, when it comes to stress, many of us forget this useful scripture.
According to the Medical Review Board; stress is the body’s reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response. Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious. One would imagine that “stress” brings discourse and conflict with one’s spirituality.
On the contrary, spirituality can be used as a stress reliever. How so? First, you must define your spirituality in order to combat stress. Spirituality has many definitions; it can be religious observance, prayer, meditation or a belief in a higher power. According to the Mayo Clinic, your spirituality is a connection with yourself and with others, the development of your personal value system, and your search for meaning in life. For others, it can be found in nature, music, art or a service community.
Second, you must be aware that stress and spirituality actually work together. Think about it. When you feel an overwhelming sense of stress, it is usually because you are not tapping into your spiritual side on a regular basis. When you are feeling a sense of peace and well being in your life, it is most likely because you realize the spirit is right there with you. Even the Bible gives stress management tips:
“Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find much rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”
How many of you feel everyday stresses of running a volunteer program? This scripture reminds us that we do not have to carry the burdens of our stress. We can cast them on a higher power. Finally, you must ask yourself the question: Do I want to live a stress free life connected to my spirituality? Below you will find five “I am too blessed to be stressed!” tips that will guide you in answering this question. In the words of the musician and artist Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.“
Five “I am too blessed to be stressed” Tips
Feel a sense of purpose. Cultivating your spirituality may help uncover what’s most meaningful in your life. By clarifying what’s most important, you can focus less on the unimportant things and eliminate stress
Avoid stressful people. Stress is contagious. Surround yourself with positive people who will speak life into your stressful situations, and you will avoid adding unnecessary stress in your life.
Be thankful: celebrate everyday and be grateful. Create a list of positive things that have taken place daily.
Light a candle. Every morning, American entrepreneur, Russell Simmons lights a candle and sits still for 30 minutes as a part of his daily meditation routine; breathe, relate, and release.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Mayo Clinic Medical Information and Tools for Healthy Living” Spirituality and Stress Relief: Make the Connection. 23 July 2010. www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-relief
Dyer, Kisrti. “Practical and Postive Ways of Managing Stress and Distress.” About Palliative Care – Hospice and Palliative Care. 21 June 2007. http://dying.about.com/od/suddendeath/tp/manage_stress.htm
Borchard, Theresa. “Therese Borchard: Spirituality and Prayer Relieve Stress.” Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. 23 Mar. 2010. www.huffingtonpost.com/therese-borchard/spirituality-and-prayer-r_b_497222.html>.