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The Mess of Stress

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Stress. Anxiety. Panic. Worry. Four simple words, each of which can wreak havoc on your body physically, mentally, and yes, even emotionally. Yet, many of us succumb to these four demons time and time again. I am no exception. Yep, there it is. It’s out there: I am high anxiety. I will literally stay up all night long, not getting so much as one hour of sleep, worrying about everything from “do we have the best cable plan” to “what if someone kidnaps my child in the middle of the night” to “did I turn on the light outside?” I would do that if I didn’t have something that calms me down and helps me relax.

Long gone are the days of falling peacefully off to sleep. I only sleep if Mr. Trazodone lets me. I try not to take any pills for sleep unless I’m on day two of no sleep, then I’ll call in the big guns. I do however have no issue enlisting the help of my anti-anxiety pills. I’ll tell you, stress and anxiety are numbing. It can be over something small, or when you feel overwhelmed. And it comes on like a squall—out of nowhere and without warning—and it’s just as devastating if you let it be.

Julius Caesar said, “As a rule, what is out of sight disturbs men’s minds more seriously than what they see.” For those of us who have the compulsion of needing to “be prepared” and have “contingency plans” we tend to think ahead and try to anticipate any outcome so that we can be prepared for whatever may come, but the fact is that we can’t foresee what hasn’t happened. And then worry becomes just as someone once said, it becomes a “complete cycle of inefficient thought revolving about a pivot of fear.”

So the solution is to relax. Step back, take a good, long, hard look and figure out if our fears and worries are valid. I find it fascinating that humans are the only mammal or animal for that fact, that worries. A gazelle knows by instinct that when grazing it must be cautious because predators lurk about, but it still grazes. And when a predator such as a lion begins a chase, the gazelle follows its instinct and runs. It lives in the moment. Dogs don’t worry. If it wants food, it finds it. If it’s thirsty, it searches for water. If it doesn’t have shelter, it finds one.

Interestingly, in the Bible, the most frequent instruction given isn’t “love God,” or “love one another.” It’s quite simply, “do not be afraid,” “do not fear.” So, I’ve decided that I’ve stressed long enough. I’m going to turn all my worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway.


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