It’s wintertime for us now and the area of the United States that I live in has recently been hit by a polar vortex. It has brought us sub-zero temperatures and a blanket of snow. And along with the bleak and discouraging conditions outside, it seems that the anxiety levels have increased at our home. Yesterday, as my husband and I were preparing for church, the way that Robert behaved made me think of Simon Peter in that small boat on the stormy sea. I have always imagined Simon Peter exclaiming, “Lord, we’re dying here!” as Jesus was peacefully asleep in the back of the boat. Robert was every bit as frantic as we got into the car and drove to church. He was allowing his personal anxiety and stress levels to overwhelm him. But being in the Lord’s house and being able to fellowship with others at church, who had just been through the same thing to get there, helped both Robert and I to calm down. Often, it is simply a matter of refocusing our attention that allows us to let it go and to release our stress and anxiety.
I have always teased Robert about being like Chicken Little. He has a tendency to tell me that the sky is falling whenever he is overstressed. As we were getting into the car yesterday, he was telling me that it was too cold and slippery for me to be outside. He thought that I should stay home. (I have always wondered why people tend to relate inclement weather and my ability to sit in my wheelchair. If you can go out in it, then why can’t I? But, once again, I digress.) When we got to our church, everything changed. The time that we had spent in getting ready had seemed to pass away; everything had become new again.
When life gets overwhelming, here are a few suggestions that can help to reduce your stress level.
1. Refocus your attention: Think about something else or go somewhere else. To start thinking about a completely different endeavor is often enough to let go of what is currently stressing you. For us, it was simply being among friends that had just endured the same horrible weather conditions to get to church. We also knew that we were going to be rewarded with a spiritually uplifting message from our pastor.
2. Physical activity. Go to the gym or go for a walk around the block. I have been going to the gym for nearly fifteen years now. I keep going back because I know how beneficial regular exercise has been for me. My hour spent at the gym allows me a cardiac workout; burns some calories; and allows me to think about something else.
3. Reading the Bible. You think you’ve got it bad? Just read the book of Job and you will see someone who always found strength in the Lord. No matter how bad it got, Job relied on the Lord. And through it all, he praised the Lord. I used to read Job when I was most frustrated and I would always be reminded that I did not have it that bad. This is another one of the gifts that God gives each of us.
4. Laugh out loud! Humor is such a great medicine for whatever may ail you. Laughter allows us to release our anxieties. In the game of life, anxiety may reign, but laughter always trumps it!
5. Journaling. To be honest, I have not done this in a very long time. I used to record my own thoughts. I was writing to myself. It was a way to release my pent up frustrations. Today, I see women at church writing down prayer requests. I have a friend who is active in this procedure. She always tells me when the prayer requests are answered and then she also records that. An answer to prayer is a written record of the Lord’s presence in our daily lives.
Is everybody at your house going nuts? Has being trapped in your house made everyone a bit stir-crazy? I hope that these five points will help to lessen the anxiety levels that you are currently facing. Often, it is simply a matter of refocusing our attention that will allow us to let it go and to give it to God.
Is the everyday stress of your life making you crazy? Do you have a suggestion about how we can deal with it? Scroll down and leave your comment and let us know how you deal with overwhelming stress in your life. We would all appreciate it.