Turning Stress Into Success
A "friend" invoices you for considerably more than his original quote. A family member takes seriously ill and is in the hospital for months. Responsibilities and expenses soar.
At the same time you're in the middle of a million dollar building program at your business for which you are responsible – and your loan falls through.
The result? Stress!
I know because these things all happened to me in the course of a recent year.
Stress is a normal part of contemporary living. We all have our share. Ignore it and it will take years off your life. Accept it and deal with it creatively and you too can turn your stress into success.
How can you do this?
First. Realize that some stress is helpful. It provides motivation. For instance, if it weren't for the stress of having to pay our bills we may not want to go to work.
Second. Be aware that stress is only troublesome when it continues for too long or if there is too much of it.
I read recently about a ten-ton bridge that had been serving a community very well for over fifty years. During the course of those years it had carried millions of tons of weight. But one day the driver of a logging truck ignored the ten-ton load limit sign. The bridge collapsed. Life is like that. All of us can carry our ten-ton load day after day, year after year, but only one load at a time. Overload us and we collapse too.
And put us on the rack;
You can sit upon a mountain,
But you can't sit on a tack.
Some readers will be familiar with the research Thomas Holmes has done on stress. He found that too much change at one time was the greatest cause of stress. An accumulation of 300 or more "life changing units" in any one year may mean an overload of more stress than an individual can carry. On his scale, death of a spouse equals 100 units, divorce 73, marital separation 65, marriage 50, and so on.
Third. The next step in turning stress into success is to recognize symptoms as early as possible.
Writing in Eternity magazine Fred Stansberry talks about "stress-related diseases such as cancer, arthritis, heart and respiratory diseases, migraines, allergies and a host of other psychological and physiological dysfunctions which are increasing at an alarming rate in our Western culture."
Other symptoms of stress have been listed as, "tense muscles, sore neck, shoulders and back, insomnia, fatigue, boredom, depression, listlessness, dullness, lack of interest, drinking too much, eating too much or too little, diarrhea, cramps, flatulence, constipation, palpitations-heart skip, phobias, twitches, restlessness and itching."
Fourth. Identify causes. As already mentioned change is one of the chief causes of stress. An accumulation of life's everyday annoyances can also build up a significant stress level – perhaps even more than one single traumatic event. As the old saying puts it: "It's the little things that bother us, and put us on the rack; you can sit upon a mountain, but you can't sit on a tack."
Whatever the cause of your stress is, identify it so you can do something about it.
Fifth. Seek a practical cure.
Superwoman exist only
in comics and films.
God's peace comes through accepting and trusting to God those circumstances that can't be changed, however difficult they may be. Perhaps this is what Christ meant when he spoke of taking up our cross daily and following him. Certainly he fully accepted his cross and trusted his situation to God and thereby was totally vindicated.
And so with us. If, like Christ, we pray and truly trust our lives to God every day, we too will turn our stress into success, knowing that, in the words of the poet:
1. Ephesians 2:26. 2. Philippians 4:6-7.
Copyright © 2001 by Dick Innes