Be A Stress Expert

What do you do when you are stressed? Some people exercise more while others eat more. Some people yell while others isolate or withdraw. Stress can cause physical, emotional, mental, or relational problems. Today, we will focus on managing stress proactively.

Every experience we have in life has 2 components:

  1. The attention it gets in our mind.
  2. The interpretation our mind gives to it.

 Threats and unpleasant events capture our attention more than pleasant events. Over time the brain rewires to commit more resources to deal with the threats. We can become hypervigilant waiting for the next threat. It actually will leave an imprint on the brain. The pleasant event becomes only a fleeting thought.

 We can actually retrain our mind to be more focused, relaxed, compassionate, and nonjudgmental (Rom. 12:2). Attention training quiets the fears of the next hurt, problem, or crisis. It teaches us to live in the present by faith.

 Refining interpretations in our mind is accomplished by trading our prejudices & old beliefs for an attitude of gratitude, acceptance, meaning, and forgiveness.

 Let me share a personal experience. I went in for a physical this month. The results of a blood test showed I had an elevated P.S.A. level. The doctor sent me to a urologist. The first available appointment is Nov. 17. I have a friend who died of prostate cancer. Fear comes like a pit in my stomach.

 My mind can wander to lots of negative “what ifs”. Now, I remind myself I have been given the wonderful power of choice. I focus my mind on things I can control and I relax my mind in a state of peace. I thank God for the time I have had on earth. I accept what He has for me tomorrow. I give meaning to this trial in my life as an opportunity to learn and grow. I receive God’s forgiveness, forgive others, and forgive myself for past mistakes, sins, or hurts that could relate to this issue.

 This is what it means to refocus your mind on what it pays attention to and refine the way we interpret an event or experience.

 I believe that the Bible is a great way to refocus our mind. Read it, study it, and memorize it. It guides us in what to set our minds on.

 Overcoming stress means learning to be content in whatever state you are in (Phil 4:11-12). Some of us are blessed with wealth while others are in poverty. Can you choose to be content (Heb. 13:5)? The Bible says that food and clothing alone can be enough to be content (I Tim. 6: 8).

 If you add one more ingredient to contentment, you will always be rich. I Timothy 6:6 says godliness with contentment is a means of great gain. Choose today to focus your mind on God & let Him speak to your heart. Choose to interpret your circumstances in light of eternity. Realize God can use difficulties for good and look for the good in every experience. His grace is sufficient to transform and give meaning to every experience. That will make you a stress expert!

 

Resources:
A Guide to Stress Free Living by Amit Sood
Lord, Change My Attitude by James McDonald