by Don Ingwerson
Stress. We would all be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t had to deal with a stressful situation. But what I’ve come to realize is that a person’s thoughts, beliefs, and feelings are under their own control. Calm, harmonious thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that are expectant of good outcomes are a great stress reducer.
Today stress is considered to be at epidemic levels. But blaming increasingly hectic lives and ever-lengthening to-do lists won’t relieve the stress and its effects. Effective stress reduction can be achieved by guiding thought in the direction of peace and stillness. Someone experiencing stress might think, “If I could be calm, I wouldn’t be stressed!” But actively taking hold of thought during stressful situations will promote peace and combat stress.
Once, an arson fire was set in the small coastal city where I live. The fire extended from eight miles inland to the edge of the ocean, burning homes in my neighborhood at the rate of about one house every 15 seconds. The stress of evacuation and uncertainty was almost overwhelming. My wife and I decided to challenge the extreme stress and, instead, look to God for calmer, spiritual thoughts. We went to an all-night McDonalds and prayed. When morning came we saw on TV our house standing untouched in the midst of devastation, just as our thought remained untouched by stress as we prayed through the night.
A well-known hymn helps with this idea of taking control of thought: “Speak through the earthquake, wind and fire, O still small voice of calm…Take from us now the strain and stress…”
Opening up thought to a divine power redirects the power of thought spiritually, more than just having good thoughts. While present-day medical practitioner Lissa Rankin describes this divine influence as an inner light, 19th-century spiritual leader Mary Baker Eddy described this calm as the effect of the spiritual laws of God.
Through their research and work, they have each been able to share what they found about harmony and healing. Rankin describes her “Whole Health Medicine” regimen in Mind Over Medicine, encouraging the health care industry to empower patients to heal themselves. Eddy wrote Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which has for over 100 years enabled people to heal themselves and others. Eddy’s book includes many first-hand accounts by people who have overcome a wide variety of stressful problems through spiritual insight and transformation. Eddy profoundly stated in Science and Health, “The realization that all inharmony is unreal brings objects and thoughts into human view in their true light, and presents them as beautiful and immortal. Harmony in man is as real and immortal as in music. Discord is unreal and mortal.”
We must find a way to combat stress, the underlying factor in many diseases. As Eddy and others have discovered, harmony begins in thought. And we can all learn to find that peace in thought that reduces, even overcomes, stress.