Thoughts To Live By…

Archive for the ‘Stress’ Category

WELL-BEING By Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit (The Philippine Star) Updated April 13, 2010 12:00 AM

tress or tension is the absence of faith and so, to remove it, all you have to do is increase your faith,” says Rhonda Byrne of The Secret franchise. Those words created much impact on me as I felt mounting stress a week before our family vacation.

If you really think about it, Rhonda is perfectly correct in saying that. We feel mostly stressed when we do not seem to be in control. And yes, while we do feel swamped with a lot of things that are not under our control, there is a God who is in fact the Master of everything.

Daily exposure to little stresses that pile up and take consistent soft jabs at our health leads to a lot of illnesses, decreases our immunity, and even makes our waistline bigger. According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic stress is a result of long-term exposure to acute stress brought about by nagging day-to-day situations that seem unrelenting, such as relationship problems, work difficulties, and financial woes.

They further said that while mild stress can actually be beneficial in motivating and energizing us into action, the buildup of little things is really what stresses us out. Persistent stress, they warned, can lead to health problems such as headache and fatigue, poor concentration, depression, irritability, resentment, and isolation.

Understand Your Stressor

Like a nagging allergy, medicine may be able to tame the symptoms but not manage the disease altogether if you do not know what you are allergic to. The same goes for stress, you have to identify what really exasperates you.

Mayo classified stressors into external and internal. The external ones include major life changes, which can be either negative such as the death of a spouse or divorce or positive such as marriage or a promotion. They also took note of environmental stressors such as excessive noise or extreme brightness, unpredictable events such as calamities or a pay cut or those related to family (a nagging mother-in-law or a stubborn teenager), workplace (an impossible boss) or social (a blind date).

There are also internal triggers such as feelings and thoughts that cause us unrest. These include fears and apprehensions, uncertainties, negative attitudes, and unrealistic expectations stemming from a perfectionist or controlling personality.

If you have read or seen Byrne’s The Secret, you understand that any negative thought or attitude blocks the manifestation of the good that you want or are hoping for. Having said that, a negative disposition will continue to be negative as disappointments, rather than pleasant surprises, will keep on appearing in your life due to your attitude.

Where Faith Matters

Stress like tax is here to stay, we cannot escape it, but we can learn to manage it and cope with it.

According to Mayo, spirituality helps in managing stress because it makes you focus on what is most meaningful in your life (eliminating the non-essentials which most of the time cause stress). Faith also leads to valuable inner peace during difficult times as it elevates you to a purpose in life. Faith also allows you to surrender and release control as well as expect great things to happen.

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Post me a note at mylene@goldsgym.com.ph or mylenedayrit@gmail.com.

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=565844&publicationSubCategoryId=80

Gospel Reflection: Mt: 11:28

A man approaches a priest and asks: “Please bless me, Father, coz I have so many problems.

My son is a drug addict, my daughter an unwed mother, my wife a gambler.

Priest: Wala bang positive sa buhay mo? (Is there nothing positive about your life?)

Man: Me, Father… HIV positive!

* * *

Of course, that’s still negative. The funny story somehow illustrates how we are beset by a lot of problems.

Jesus in this 14th Sunday gospel invites us: “Come to me all who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).

Christ’s words are very timely and consoling, considering our problems today – the rising cost of living (and even cost of dying!), calamities like the recent typhoon “Frank,” holdups, personal and family problems.

* * *

Jesus comes to us as a friend who is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great compassion” – a “bridge over troubled waters,” as the song puts it.

He teaches us to cultivate relinquishment, the ability to “let go” of our anxieties and to put ourselves in God’s hands.

* * *

But some cynic might say, “How can I put myself in God’s hands when my creditors are running after me over my two-million peso debt?” Or, should I not worry if I’m on the verge of losing my job due to retrenchment? Or, this lump on my neck is diagnosed as terminal cancer?

These should be causes for worry indeed. But we must distinguish between worry and concern. Worry is an emotional response that is stressful and draining. It is problem-oriented.

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Concern, on the other hand, is a rational and constructive process – and it is solution-oriented. It’s the difference between fear unaccompanied by useful action and the determination to calmly look for a solution.

As regards unpaid debt, I know of some people who through sheer diligence, determination, and financial restraint were able to gradually pay their obligation.

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As regards losing a job, it’s not the end of the road. You can always start again somewhere. As the saying goes, “Hope springs eternal.” As long as you’re alive, there’s hope.

When we put ourselves in God’s hands, it does not mean we’re escaping from personal responsibility. It is, as “concern” mean, solution-oriented.

Remember the metaphor Jesus uses in this Sunday gospel about the yoke? In Palestine two oxen are joined together in pulling heavy loads. The two oxen represent God and you sharing the burden.

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It means God helps us but we have also to do our share. Ask yourself: When you have problems, do you present them to the Lord and ask for help? Or do you just keep them to yourself? Do you give in to self-pity and excessive worry, not doing anything to remedy your predicament?

* * *

Once a lady was talking about the secret of her success. She made this striking remark: “I work hard; I do my part then I let God do the rest.” Incidentally, that’s also the principle behind the success of our boxing champ Manny Pacquiao. Notice how he prays hard, kneeling at the ring’s corner before and after the fight. However, he also trains on long and dreary hours, always learning the winning techniques.

That should be our Christian attitude, too. As much as we pray so must we work. “Ora et labora.”

Author: Fr. Luis Beltran, SVD


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