The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another – William James
Stress is our psychological, emotional and physical response to pressure. We perceive that the demands we face exceed our resources and ability to cope. Prolonged stress can lead to anxiety which can be more debilitating and chronic. Stress can be evoked from a plethora of external factors including life events such as marriage and divorce, unemployment, bullying ,financial pressures, or interpersonal difficulties.
Research suggests that 74% of people have felt stressed over the past year and at least 50% of these are also anxious and depressed. (Mental Health Foundation 2018 ) Are you surprised by these statistics? I think not as we are living in uncertain and precarious times due to Brexit, austerity , automation, inflation. Christianity does not leave you immune to stress however it’s important to harness and leverage your faith, Church community and prayer to alleviate the distress experienced.
The demands of modern life are as never before especially with technology and social media as we are continually accessible and it can be arduous to switch off at times. Yo u may be part of multiple Whatsapp groups for varying Church ministries which can be overwhelming especially when you are continually receiving notification on your mobile phone.
Many of us are juggling many roles and responsibilities such as being an employee, mother, Minister, Pastor, father , manager , entrepreneur, carer, sister and friend to name . All the more reason to be equipped with stress busting strategies. Signs of Stress:Stress affects us cognitively, emotionally , behaviourally and physiologically. I will outline below the common symptoms of stress and I wonder how many of these resonate with you.
- This is too much – I can’t cope!
- No one understands the pressures I am facing
- I don’t have enough time to do this and manage my staff
- I’ll never finish
- I have to get this done
- Bad tempered
- Apathetic and
The physical response to stress is caused by the body’s adrenaline response which is the body’s alarm signal and survival mechanism when faced with a threat.
The release of cortisol leads to the following physiological changes:
- Poor concentration
- Breathing faster
- Tense muscles – e.g. neck, shoulders, abdomen
- Hot, sweaty
- Poor memory and being forgetful
- Difficulty concentrating
- Bladder or bowel problems
- Sleep problems
- Unable to settle and fidgety
- Incomplete tasks
- Reduced or elevated appetite
- Increase in alcohol intake
- Smoking excessively or more often
- Use of illicit drugs and chemicals Crying
Stress Busting Solutions:
- S– say no and set boundaries –if you don’t have sufficient time to do certain tasks acknowledge this and decline additional requests as this is being kind to yourself. Delegate tasks where possible and focus on urgent and important tasks. Set boundaries and ensure they are clear with others. Don’t be afraid of enforcing them as this is when you will truly discover if people Respect and value you
- T-Take care of your needs as how can you take care of others if your cup is half empty. Fill your cup and recharge your battery as you know best. This may be a date night, going for a swim. have a lovely meal or simply soaking in a lavender bath
- R– Rest when needed as this allows your battery to be recharged and energized. Rest will avoid burnout and becoming physically and mentally depleted
- E– Eat healthily and Exhale by having a balanced diet and letting go of worries through mindfulness or problem solving. Eradicate toxic people from your life if they sap your energy
- S– self care is a priority so begin defining this for yourself and align with your values. Dont compare your self care to others as you are unique
- S– Sleep hygiene recharges the battery and restores you emotionally and physically. Don’t go without sleep for a long time as this affects your cognitive abilities. Avoid drinking caffeine late in the evening as this can affect your ability to sleep
Useful scriptures to meditate upon if you’re feeling stressed:
- Proverbs 3 v5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not upon your own understanding in all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths
- 1 Peter 5 vs 7 – Cast all of your cares upon the Lord.
- Phillipians 4 vs 6-7 – Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto the Lord
- Phillipians 4 v19 And my God will supply all of your needs according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus
- Proverbs 12 vs 25 Anxiety in the heart of man weighs him down
Accredited Cognitive Behaviour Therapist | Health and Wellbeing Consultant | Resilience Trainer | Author I Speaker For speaking engagements, workshops or training contact Martina at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0161 955 4720. Connect with Martina on Social Media Channels (Rapha Therapy Service)