Many feel that stress is a leading cause of a wide variety of health problems, and research indicates that as many as 75 to 90% of all doctor visits are for stress-related issues. Yet what might create an unhealthy physical or mental condition for one individual might be health-giving to another who may see the same stressful situation as a challenge, offering the opportunity for achievement.
So how can stress impel a change for good instead of causing havoc to health? It may have quite a lot to do with how we think of our needs – and how these needs motivate our actions.
When a person sees challenges as a need for spiritual growth, then unhealthy stressors have a harder time taking hold. The staff at the Mayo Clinic have found that a sense of spirituality can help us with stress in the following ways: having a stronger sense of purpose, finding a greater connection to the world, letting go of an unhealthy sense of control, and expanding our support network.
These are all valuable assets in the fight against stress, but in addition I have found that delving deeper into these spiritual concepts opens up an even more powerful method for keeping stress from being unhealthy. When a stronger sense of purpose includes living a life that accepts and expresses God’s goodness, love, care, and hope, life’s stresses are put into perspective, and often even diminish. I’ve also found that knowing every one of us has an unbroken relationship with God yields new avenues for better relationships with others on an individual level. And this, in turn, allows for new opportunities to bless others and find blessings from others.
I particularly like the Mayo Clinic’s suggestion to let go of an unhealthy sense of control. Many times in my life I have humbly asked God, Love, for direction – and that humble asking allows me to listen and be guided from a spiritual basis. What I find when I do that is that I am inspired by unique answers that before weren’t obvious. Some people find the phrase, “Let Go, Let God.” helpful to sum up this yielding and finding the way to spiritual answers to life’s stresses.
To me it goes even deeper than that. I find it empowering to ponder, as the Apostle Paul put it, that it is “in him we live, and move, and have our being.” As a Christian Scientist, I understand this idea to mean we really exist as children of God in His universe of unlimited spiritual good, in which there is no stress. Grasping this has changed my experience for the better.
As I’ve prayed from this divine basis to see through the need to resign myself to feeling stressed, I have found my day-to-day purpose becomes clearer. Leaning on God for direction and knowing that He is always present for guidance and support is increasingly a powerful way to take stress in stride.
by Don Ingwerson