Simply put, stress is mental, emotional or physical strain caused by anxiety or overwork. This strain, or pressure, many times produces tension, trauma or even a fracture. A bone can have a “stress fracture” which is a small break in a bone caused by repeated physical strain or heavy pressure. Medically, stress is the root cause of a wide array of afflictions, some minor and some life threatening.
Relentless pressure produces stress. That is just the way things work. Many times there is little we can do about the stress that comes with daily living. But, there are things we can do about the stress that arises from anxiety, which is far and away the more dangerous kind of stress.
When a person crumbles under the heavy weight of stress (pressure), there is a good chance they will breakdown either physically or emotionally. Back “in the day”, this was known as a nervous breakdown. Now days it is simply known as being stressed out. A person under extreme stress is unpredictable, unhappy and unpleasant to be around.
As difficult as it is to do, we must learn how to “let go and let God” help us during times of stress. Whether it be music, sleep, meditation, physical exercise, reading, watching a movie or a long walk in the woods; each one of us needs to know ourselves well enough to know how to vent the pressure before we blow up. A pressure cooker does a great job cooking, but it needs a vent to release steam or it would blow up.
People can only function under extreme stress for a season before that stress causes them to fall apart, break up or explode. Since none of these things are pleasant, it behooves us to find and faithfully do whatever it takes to try and avoid unnecessary stress and have a way to vent stress when it builds up in our lives.
Many times all we need is a long drive or a short vacation to relieve the stress seeking to tear us down. Many times all we need is to get away from the pressure long enough to restore our faith in God’s ability to provide and willingness to take care of us. Many times all we need is a time to safely vent the building steam and then we will be able to handle the pressure cooker of life once again.
Stress arising from physical maladies, mental anguish or emotional pressure can be devastating or it can make us better people. When we learn the art of handling stress before it breaks us, we are not only able to help ourselves but those around us.
Before stress blows you up, please take some time and get away from the situation long enough to remove anxiety, calm frayed nerves, restore a broken spirit and refresh a broken down body. Even Jesus made a habit of taking time to be alone with God and we should definitely follow His example!