Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com
This Bible teaching about stress management gives a holistic overview of bringing tension down to a controllable size. You will find relief, whether you feel overwhelmed, helpless, frustrated and out of control, are drinking too much to unwind, have painful head and muscle aches from unrelenting tension, live in a constant state of desperate anxiety – or have just burned out and given up.
As you have already learned from another study on understanding (link to understanding stress) this affliction, the consequences can be very serious – and certainly will disrupt your quality of life and relationships.
I will explain three major areas on which to focus your stress management program: your environment, your mental outlook, and your body.
Stress comes from the way we interact with events in our outer social, physical and spiritual world. For example, we get caught up in traffic, miss an appointment, become frustrated, and then lash out with anger. If you are an impatient, short fused, hostile Type A personality, then matters become even worse.
Your response sends your blood pressure soaring, dumps stress chemicals into your body, and cramps your muscles. However, maybe traffic doesn’t bother you, but something else drives you up a wall. That is why environmental events are situation specific.
One event might make me more edgy than it would you, because you have better skills and experience to handle the situation. Perhaps you have a more positive, optimistic personality and are not uptight over little things. Here are some examples of possible pressure provoking events in the environment.
The idea is that if you learn better stress management techniques for these situations, your tension will go down. Many lessons in this website address those specific areas.
The Mental Distortions
The second area for stress management is your mental outlook. Over the years you have learned and stored away attitudes, beliefs, and values. You use these thoughts to give meaning and interpret the events in your social, physical, and spiritual world. However, many times those thoughts are distortions of what is real.
In other words, how you perceive things determines your response. Your basic personality type also comes into play. The way to corral and tame those haywire thoughts is by replacing your distortions with Bible truth (Romans 12:2). That way you see reality the way God does. Your priorities and perceptions become more accurate and clear – though never perfect in this life.
Here I suggest three, out of many, mental distortions that will drive your anxiety level through the roof.
Fortune telling is what you tell yourself when faced with some imagined threat. It is telling yourself, “What if this or that happens.” It is borrowing trouble that never comes. The logical error is that most of the stuff we fear never happens. However, our body doesn’t know the imagined threat doesn’t exist, but it responds as if it were real. Things become “stress city” when there is no threat.
The way out of this trap is for every “What if,” substitute a “So what!” For example, you tell yourself, “What if I fail in this class!” The answer back is “So what? It is not the best result, but I have learned something, and next time I will study harder.”
Another method is to write down every dreadful thing you imagine is going to happen. Save the list for two or three months, and then review it. You will find that probably none or very few of the events actually came to pass. You worried yourself over imaginary threats.
Here is where you learn to place your future, faith and trust in God’s hands (Romans 8:28-39). You learn to be happy, patient, pray with thanksgiving, and change your outlook on life, and make better choices (Philippians 4:4-9).
This is another lie we tell ourselves. Perhaps you think your boss doesn’t like your work. You stew about it and worry yourself sick. The fact is you don’t know, because you cannot read your bosses’ mind. It is best to go ask him or her, and then you will know – and make any needed corrections.
Some people make mountains out of molehills – they blow things all out of proportion. Are you that way? Here are words to listen for, “Oh! This is horrible, terrible, awful, and I cannot stand it!” Little things become terrible things in their mind. Learn to trust God and let Him figure out the hard things (Proverbs 3:5-10; Matthew 6:25-34).
Not much in our own personal life is terrible. Let me tell you what is horrible. It is standing on the 84th floor of the world trade center in New York City on September 11, 2001. You look over your shoulder to see a huge wall of flaming jet fuel coming at you from the plane that struck the building.
You look the other way, and it is 84 floors down to a very hard concrete surface – and there is no preacher there to tell you how to get to heaven. Now, that is horrible. But, most of the stuff we face every day may be a pain in the neck, an irritant, but not horrible. Quit telling yourself lies. Take a realistic view of things. Put things in proper perspectives. Look at it from God’s point of view.
The third area to attend to in your stress management program is your body. Pressure will hit you. The chemicals will spurt and flow. Toxins build up if the strain is not released. Change will happen. Fear, anger, and frustration will visit. It has its impact on our bodies. Consequently, there are ways to release the accumulated physical tension. Following are four suggestions to stress mangement:
•Watch your diet. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Better yet, avoid too much caffeine, alcohol, junk foods, and sugars. Stimulants have the same effect as dumping more adrenalin and cortisol into your system. They add to your stress management problems.
•Watch your health. Get checkups, take your medications, and do what your doctor says. Walk and sit with appropriate posture, as wrong angles strain your body.
•Watch your exercise. Physical exercise releases tension. Some experts say 30 minutes three or four times a week is enough. But, check with your doctor first.
•Watch your relaxation. Learn this valuable habit. Use deep breathing, progressive relaxation, and mental imagery – and take regular vacations and get-a-ways (Mark 6:31).
I have given you an overview on stress management. Combine it with the other life skills lessons, and you will have a good start on your management program. Esmie and I wish you all the best in your journey. Visit your local book story and pick up a good book on stress management. It may add years to your life – and certainly make it better.
Dr. Willis and Esmie Newman
BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS
1. Study 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. How did Paul handle pressure?
2. Study Luke 22:39-46. How did Jesus prepare Himself for a stressful situation?
3. What did Jesus tell His disciples in the face of overwhelming work (Mark 6:31)?
4. What kind of skills do you thinks the Corinthians needed to develop (2 Corinthians 12:20)?
Would this behavior cause tension?
5. What areas of skill development could be improved in your life to help with stress management?
6. What skills would others tell you could be improved?
7. What specific steps can you take to improve those skills?
8. What was one stress related idea behind the Sabbath (Deuteronomy 5:14)?
9. What was Paul’s instruction to Timothy who suffered stress (1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 1:5-8)?
Note: wine was used for medicinal purposes in New Testament times. How can you relate what Paul
taught to the stress management principles we have discussed?
10. What stands out to you the most in this Bible teaching about stress management?
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