I carry stress. It eats at me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I needed help!
Stress Is a Virus
Joyce hits you hard in the Introduction: “Stress is a nagging enemy.”
Calling stress my enemy was a new one for me. Maybe I’ve sugar-coated it for so long I didn’t see stress as my enemy.
“Stress is a virus that just keeps spreading,” she writes.
Yes. Yes, it does. What can start as a stressful problem at work can lead to unbearable headaches and even can cause a fight to erupt with a loved one.
Stop the spread of the virus!
What You Focus On
Joyce travels frequently and her hotel stays are sometimes challenging. She tells a story about a truck with an annoying beeping sound outside her hotel window every morning.
It undid her. It ruined her mornings, because the irritating noise disrupted her sleep. Several mornings later, she heard the loud beeping again, BUT she also heard birds chirping.
The birds chirping filled her with joy. It almost made her forget about the upsetting beeping noise.
“I just decided to shift my focus from what was bothersome to what was beautiful. What you focus on will often determine your stress.”
Even though this might be a small example, the lesson is powerful.
I’m much more of a serious person, but I LOVE to laugh.
My son and I listened to jokes this morning in the car before he dodged the rain on his trek into school. I’ve thought about those jokes all day. Each time, I cracked up all over again.
I need more laughter!
Joyce says, “Laughter improves emotional and mental health, it lifts our spirits, and it dispels worry.”
Laughter is indeed good medicine.
Joyce’s book is full of practical ways to deal with the overload of stress in your life. They may seem too simple, but consistency is the key that unlocks the door to a more joy-filled life.
She gives the following seven action steps to decrease your stress:
Start your day by spending time with God
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
Take a vacation
Give yourself a reward
Evaluate your influences
Do less, not more
These seven action steps convicted me. I do most of them, but I admit they are not done not consistently. How about you?
Pressing In and Pressing On
According to Joyce, stress makes you want to give up. You weigh the cost and decide it’s not worth it. That is precisely the time to press in and press on.
She writes, “An important part of battling stress and worry is making right choices while you are hurting, discouraged, frustrated, confused, or under pressure – even though the right choice is often the harder choice. When you’re in the middle of terrible stress, you naturally want to take the path of least resistance. Those are the very moments when you make a conscious effort to make the tougher choice. To reap right results in life, you must decide to do right when you don’t feel like it. I call this ‘pressing in and pressing on’ – and knowing how to do it is one of the most important components of being a person who doesn’t live as a victim of stress.”
Leave a reply (below): I highly recommend Overload: How to Unplug, Unwind, and Unleash Yourself from the Pressure of Stress for anyone who struggles with stress of any kind. Her book is power packed with suggestions of how to reduce the stress in your life.
I know I needed the reminder to deal with my stress in more productive and lasting ways. How about you?