Stress Less, Live Longer

When was the last time you had a day without stress? Someone once said that stress is “the wear and tear of living.” It follows us from infancy to old age and we seem to never be able to get away from it! So what causes stress? Some possible causes might be:

Frustration – our goals are blocked. When people get frustrated, they have a tendency to respond with aggression. It can be either overt – lashing out with tongue & fists or passive – smiling on the outside, seething on the inside. This not only causes stress but if it is allowed to build, it can turn into anger and bitterness and possibly, even depression.

Change – adapting to different circumstances can cause stresses and it happens when changes occur in relocation of home and/or job changes, relationships, etc.

Fear –  a tension that come when we are in the presence or expect to be in the presence of danger or pain such as the fear of heights, being alone, being closed in, etc. It can also be an overwhelming feeling of failing or not measuring up. We are taught to succeed and associate our self-worth with success. Another fear is relational – of letting people get too close – afraid sometimes of what they may discover and not like about us.

Pressure – setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves and being performance oriented.

Conflict – decision making, interpersonal conflicts or disputes and lack of forgiveness.

Sin – Satan walks about the earth tempting us to give in to sin which causes us a tremendous amount of stress and guilt especially if we yield to the temptations.

In Esther 2:5-8:17 we read the story about a Jewish girl named Esther who experienced a tremendous amount of stress in her life. She was raised by her Uncle Mordecai because her parents had died. She was Jewish but didn’t tell anyone especially when she went to live at the palace of King Ahasuerus. She lived there 12 months undergoing a beautification process. When Esther was taken to the king, she found favor in his eyes and he loved her the most. He made her Queen Esther. The plot thickens when Haaman convinced the king to destroy the Jews. When Esther learned of this, she was extremely anxious because these were her people. Esther responded to the crisis by asking her Uncle Mordecai to have all the people fast for three days and she did the same as she prepared to go before the king without being summoned. Esther turned to the Lord and prepared through the means of prayer and fasting to face the biggest stress of her life. Esther also dealt with her stress by taking action. She formulated a plan of action, took charge of the situation and proceeded with her plan believing the Lord would not let her down. He didn’t. The evil plan of Haaman was revealed and the Jews were spared.

Question to think about: What causes your stress and how do you cope?