by Julia Bruce
“I called to the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me and put in a spacious place.
The Lord is for me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
—Psalm 118:5-6 (HCSB)
Stress – whether good or bad – has symptoms. They include:
- Muscle tension or pain
- Chest pain
- Change in sex drive
- Sleep problems
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
- Angry outbursts
- Social withdrawal
- Drug/alcohol/tobacco abuse
- Exercising less
Look through the symptoms and identify the ones that you most often experience when you are stressed. Can you think of any other symptoms you experience that are not listed?
To help you determine just how stressed you are, I want to give you a rapid stress test. This is a very serious, scientific test. Please pay close attention. In a moment, you will click a link below and there you will find a photo of two dolphins. If you see anything except two dolphins, it will give you an idea of your own personal level of stress. After viewing the photo, return to this page. Ready? Take a deep breath in….breathe out and click here: Rapid Stress Test
What did you see? Ok, so maybe it wasn’t exactly scientific or serious. But the Bible says that “A joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22, HCSB) so hopefully it helped lower your stress levels. While a change in perspective can help manage stress, there are other strategies as well. Managing stress often begins with gaining an understanding of yourself and knowing where your limitations are and knowing how to create a sense of balance. Learning habits that can increase resilience and learning to be comfortable with saying no when someone wants you to take on yet another ministry will also help you better manage stress.
This blog is part 8 in a series. Be sure to begin with part 1.
Return on Monday, October 15th for Part 9 in the blog series on Self-Care:
Challenge vs. Threat
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