Many years ago I attended a lecture on how to manage stress. The speaker (I don’t remember his name!) said we each have a finite supply of energy to deal with our stresses and can be compared with a bank account. When we respond to various stresses in life we make a withdrawal of this energy. When the bank account is empty we reach exhaustion and breakdown.
Most of us long for a stress free life! There is actually one place on this earth where the residents have no stress –the cemetery! Yet few people want to move there, or more correctly be moved there.
Most people usually confuse the negative events and circumstances in their lives as being stress. Yet those events and circumstances are only the stressors. Stress is our reaction to the stressors in our lives. That is why reactions to the same stressor vary so widely among people. Your neighbors pit bull may strike terror in your heart, but to them it is a loving pet that will sit in their lap if they would let it! Thus, what bugs me may not bug you at all!
Some stress is necessary for life and health. There are two kinds of stress, good and bad. Healthy stress, sometimes called “eustress,” actually stimulates us to positive actions. The bad stress, often called “distress,” can be very wearing. Yet the difference between the two really depends on our individual reactions to the stressors.
The good news is that we can do a lot to improve our capacity to bear the stressors of life. A healthy lifestyle will provide us physical, mental and spiritual strength to adapt and cope with the daily challenges we meet. Good regular sleep and rest will restore our energies. Regular physical activity is a positive way of dealing with the daily stresses. However, a faulty lifestyle tends to deplete our physical, mental, and spiritual reserves.
Dealing with all the stressors that each of us face also requires supernatural power and wisdom. I am so thankful for the promise: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (I Peter 5:7). Thus I can sleep peacefully every night (well, most nights)!
How is the balance in your stress bank account?