2 Myths About Stress
By Katie MacDougall, LPC
You know the conversation.
“What’s new with you?”
“Oh I’ve just been busy.”
Busy. It’s a word used often that represents an epidemic of stress.
Chances are you or someone you love has this very week described feeling busy, overwhelmed, or stressed. It’s part of our everyday vocab. It’s also an expectation. If a person isn’t busy, there’s an element of judgment that inevitably comes his or her way.
From both personal and professional experiences, I’ve noticed two big myths about stress. The first is that stress is not a big deal. The second is that stress is unbeatable. I would encourage you to refuse those myths.
Fact: Stress is a Big Deal
According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to all the six leading causes of death. Yet stress is often dismissed as a fact of life. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve likely experienced some form of stress. The question is: do you realize what a big deal stress is?
To help you see how devastating stress is, I would like you to look at think of a time in your life where you were stressed, but you are no longer stressed about the same stressor. For example, I remember being very stressed about making all As when I was in high school. In fact, I was voted “Most Stressed-Out Senior” by a group of my peers—a title I am not proud of. Over ten years removed from high school, I can look at the stress of performing and see just how much it affected me.
My excessive studying and worrying left me sleep-deprived, frazzled, and lonely. I ate too much junk food, only exercised when it was swim season, and rarely hung out with friends. When there was a blood drive at school (which I organized, of course), my resting heart rate often too high to donate blood.
Those examples only give a small glimpse into the ways stress impacted me while I was a stressed-out high school student. Looking back, I see how devastating that stress was for me. I often wonder what life would have been like if I had just taken time to relax during that time.
Can you see an example of past stress in your own life? What do you wish you could tell your past self about the stress you were experiencing? How can you apply that to your current stress?
At Morning Light Christian Counseling, we know that stress is a big deal. We want to be at the forefront of preventing the devastation of stress by using practical techniques to help you experience the relief you need to really enjoy life.
Fact: Balance is Attainable
It’s difficult for me to imagine a life without any stress. I long for the ease of life that must have been in the Garden of Eden before sin entered the world. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve had responsibilities. Yet they weren’t stressed. I believe there is one primary factor preventing Adam and Eve from feeling stressed: Adam and Eve trusted God with the time and resources and relied on the promises He gave them.
When I don’t trust God with time, I feel stressed. I start to try to take control. I stay up too late working. I don’t balance work and family. I let work bleed into the Sabbath. When I trust God with time, I let go of performance and perfectionism. I choose to lean into God’s provision and grace.
When I don’t trust God with resources, I feel stressed. Money is a primary cause of stress for everyone. There have been many times in my life when money has been a huge stressor. I remember in graduate school being worried that I would not have enough money for food. I was a good steward of my money and continuing to tithe, but I remember feeling sick with worry on many occasions. Yet God provided. In fact, I look back at that time fondly because there is such tangible evidence of God’s provision. When I zoom out, I can see that greater trust would have quickly eliminated the stress I was experiencing.
When I don’t trust God with His promises, I feel stressed. God told Adam and Eve He would provide for them. When Adam and Eve trusted God’s promise, they were satisfied and relaxed. When Adam and Even did not trust God’s promise, they took matters into their own hands and brought sin into the world.
While I’m not naïve enough to think that all stress can be eliminated, I do believe that balance is attainable on this side of Heaven. The more we trust God with His provision, the more balance we find. God is our Rock and we will only find true comfort in Him, not in a day that goes exactly as planned or a completed to-do list.
Sometimes stress reduction is not as simple trusting God more. Sometimes stress reduction is made complicated by difficult events in the past or complex problems in the present. That kind of stress likely requires some additional help. That’s where our counselors can help.
We see people find balance regularly at Morning Light Christian Counseling. We know that God can beat stress because we see it happen through our passionate counselors and practical tools. Please call or text 405-664-3960 today to set up your first appointment and begin your journey to relief from stress.