An Easy Way to Deal With Stress and Anxiety
Disclaimer: This is easy in theory but not always in practice.
Stress is a part of life. We all experience it to varying degrees. Some stress keeps us motivated and productive, while too much stress can lead to burnout. We’ve been in a pandemic for about 28 weeks now and it’s changed our normal way of living. It’s changed the way we work, educate our kids, and relate to people. It feels like an unending transition, which can add to stress and anxiety. If you are like me, I’ve been having a hard time working from home. Looking at clients through a screen cannot replace being with them in person. I don’t like it! Apart from the everyday stress of life, the pandemic has added a layer (or layers) of stress. So what can we do to manage our everyday stress and anxieties about the future?
Philippians 4:4-8 is a great passage to help us!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (NIV)
This scripture is a great reminder for us to divert our attention to God. It instructs us to:
1. Rejoice in the Lord – The world may be crashing around us, and a lot could be happening that is not worthy of rejoicing over, but we can always rejoice in “The Lord.” He remains constant. He is good and He is near.
2. Do not be anxious rather by prayer, petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God – It says in “every situation” remember that there are still things to be grateful for, so give thanks and pray. There is a lot of research that shows that grateful people are happier people. I need to be reminded to be grateful for what I do have. I like that even though the passage tells us to give thanks, it also allows us to talk to God about our concerns. There is nothing too big or too small to take to God. Instead of letting my worries overtake me, I can bring them to God.
3. Think about good things – Focus our minds on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. Think about good things like the beauty of nature, the sounds of birds, people around you that are inspiring, love of friends and family, all the wonderful things about creation. And if we can’t find any good things to think of, think about God Himself for God is all of these good qualities and more.
And what is the outcome of taking life’s worries to God according to Philippians 4:7?
“…the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”
It is not a promise that the problems will get resolved today, it is a promise of God giving us peace in the midst of it all. That is incredible!
So, there you go, if you are feeling stressed, stop what you are doing and go to God.
Dr. Amin is a Licensed Psychologist and 2019 alumni of Northwest University’s PsyD program. She current practices at HPA: Hornstein, Platt & Associates Counseling and Wellness Centers. She also does Biblical counseling at John Applegate, MD & Associates, LLC. The above article can be found on her blog, African Mind Healer www.africanmindhealer.com where she incorporates a cultural perspective in writing and providing resources on mental and spiritual health.