Spirituality And Stress
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind He will accept.”
There have been numerous articles on the ways to live a healthier, happier, more productive life, and reduce everyday stress and anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health in 2014, anxiety affects an estimated 18 percent of Americans. It has been proven over and over that keeping stress and anxiety levels low improves your health.
It has been recommended to keep learning; listen to music; have fun; and have a pet. However, I have noticed that the suggestions in all articles I have read rarely promote religious and/or faith ideas to reduce stress to stay healthier.
Yet, studies have shown that believing in God can reduce stress and block anxiety. Dr. Roberta Lee in her book, “The SuperStress Solution” noted: “Research shows that people who are more religious or spiritual use their spirituality to cope with life”. Harold Koenig, M.D. at Duke University stated in his book: “Handbook of Religion and Health” the following: “People who are more religious tend to become depressed less often. When they do become depressed, they recover more quickly”.
Let us examine a few biblical suggestions regarding reducing stress, anxiety, and becoming happier with your life. Make it a habit to walk. Try walking with God; turn it into a prayer time; or a time to appreciate the beauty surrounding you. In John, Jesus told the disciples: “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. As long as it is light, people can walk safely”.
God's people recognize they should eat a balanced diet, but they also ought to recognize the desire for a balanced diet of spiritual nourishment which comes from Bible study and prayer. Spiritual nourishment also comes from the Holy Spirit so it is possible to live in God's will. God's people are not only nourished by the food they eat, but also by the spiritual nourishment they give out for God. Jesus told the disciples: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing His work”.
Keep thinking positive thoughts. Paul wrote in Philippians: “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise”. For example: God gives you all you need; He allows you to rest; He leads you; He renews your strength; He guides you; He keeps you company; He protects you; He comforts you; He honors you by anointing you; He gives you many blessings; and you will spend eternity with Him (Psalm 23).
Dali Lama stated: “Choose to be optimistic. It feels better”. Dr. Lee stated: “...faith...gives folks hope, the ultimate stress reducer. Hope, doctors say, is about the best thing you can do for your body”.
I am not saying the recommendations in articles are not good recommendations, but I believe that your “faith” and “religious” beliefs and values also plays an extremely important part in reducing a person's stress and anxiety levels, and therefore you are content with your life.
Lord God, thank You for Your lovely promises to fix our thoughts upon. Amen.
~ Ann Brock Ludington