Belief does not have to be true in order for it to affect you emotionally.
Myths about stress can mess you up. Move from distressed to de-stressed.
Are any of these myths making you miserable?
1. MYTH #1 – “Stress comes from stressors.”
I get stressed because of (fill-in-the-blank – my boss, my kids, my spouse, my bank account, traffic jams, my weight, my team losing, etc.) The sum total of all the negative experiences in your life is not stress.
2. MYTH #2 – “A few drinks can help you release stress.”
Your loved ones will get on your case about this – alcohol and stress have been found to “feed” each other. People turn to alcohol to relieve stress and stress dampens the effects of alcohol and stimulates the addictive neurotransmitter dopamine. Alcohol actually stimulates the release of the stress hormone cortisol.
3. MYTH #3 – “Getting enough sleep, exercising and eating right works to reduce stress.”
Life is complex, unknowable and often distressing, and there is no use pretending that eating more kale or two minutes spent in eagle pose is going to change all that.
4. MYTH #4 – “Some stress is good for you.”
Stimulation is good for you. Stress is not. Stress contributes to 75% to 90% of medical conditions, including the six leading causes of death.
5. MYTH #5 – “Stress comes from being driven.”
Ambition does not cause affliction. High achievers can be as serene as others are “stressed.”
6. MYTH #6 – ” Stress is the same for everybody.”
Look for something you’re not bothered by that other people are (a fear of heights, driving fast, flying). People who experience stress in those situations may say that it’s inevitable because they can’t imagine not feeling stress, but you know that this isn’t so. Their emotions come from their beliefs. The same is true for whatever you’re stressed out about now (money, health, work, etc.). It’s entirely possible to think differently and not experience stress in your life.
HOW CAN I DEAL WITH STRESS?
Its not what’s happening to you but what’s happening in you that is the determinant factor in distress.
1. Look inward.
The word “stressor” was coined in the mid-50’s to refer to external things that provoke stress. It is now embedded in the fabric of our collective worldview.
In reality there is no such thing as a stressor. Why not?
Because nothing has the inherent power to provoke stress.
Stress is internally produced. It arises out of fear, anger, insecurity and trying to control the uncontrollable.
2. Look upward.
Stress dissipates when you give up control.
There is an ancient story about a man named Jacob. He was a nation builder. He was also a swindler by nature.
He and his mother conspired to trick his older brother out of his inheritance. For decades he prospered in peace until he was forced to face his brother who was coming at him with 400 armed men. Imagining the worst, Jacob became “fearful and distressed.”
He spent a sleepless night wrestling with God for peace in a struggle so intense he displaced his hip.
Resolved to trust God, he limped to the meeting the next day and discovered his brother had actually come in peace, not revenge. Whew.
Jacob’s infernal distress was internally created. It was relived by making wrongs, right with God.
These words have been my peace for over 40 years: “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything and the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”
APPLICATION: What do you think about stress? What can you add to help others?
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I find I am stressed when I try to control things on my own without surrendering to God. I would like to describe stress as “Worry”. When I come to my senses and surrender to God peace comes over and things fall in place. So I don’t believe any of the above can really help.
Cynthia, I love the phrase “out of control…and loving it!” Its a good reminder to me that when my distress level is rising its because I’m being trying to control the uncontrollable.
I crashed one day in 1999 under extraordinary stress, some of which I could do nothing about, but most of which I could have had I gotten off the treadmill long enough to think about it. One of those was my view of myself and the impossibility of maintaining that view while resources dwindled at my office. When I realized that I could no longer be the respected public servant that I had always been – I could not handle it. Had a lot to do with self-worth, and, of course, pride.
Hi Gary. Life’s treadmills are hard on the body and soul. Sure miss having you in the church family at NP. Nice to stay connected through social media. Always glad when you post a comment. God bless.