With the war in Ukraine, the pandemic, political division in our country, crime, and the daily worries of rising consumer prices, health concerns, and caring for children and grandchildren, it’s no surprise that stress levels for all people are the highest they’ve been since 2008. In fact, according to a March 2022 poll done by the American Psychological Association, stress levels in America have reached alarming levels.
Stress is caused by an external factor, like a war or pandemic. People often respond to high levels of stress with irritability, anger, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping. Maybe you’ve experienced some of these symptoms over the past few months or even the last few years? I know I have!
Here are five ways to find a greater sense of peace living in our stress-filled world.
1. Exercise daily. God created us for movement and community. Try to get thirty minutes of exercise each day to relieve your mind and body of the pent-up energy, tension, and irritability. If possible, join a group or ask a friend to exercise with you to improve your sense of community and connection.
2. Use guided bible reading. Read one of the miracles of Jesus in the New Testament and immerse yourself in the story. What would you smell, see, taste, hear, feel if you were there? What are the other characters doing? How did Jesus respond to the person’s need? How is Jesus responding to your needs? Make time to feel Jesus’ healing touch.
3. Try breath prayer. Choose a word, such as Savior, grace, love, peace, or help, and sit quietly and slowly repeat the word, matching it with your breathing. Allow the Holy Spirit to gently move the word into your heart and mind. Hold on to that word for the day and repeat it to yourself frequently to sustain a sense of peace.
4. Listen to soothing music. Tune into your local instrumental Christian, classical music or quiet jazz radio station. Let the music wash over your mind and ask God to use that time to restore your sense of peace and calm.
5. Ask for help. No one needs to walk alone through this time of stress and world upheaval. Your pastors are available to talk and pray with you. Christian counselors are trained in evidence-based techniques to help reduce anxiety and improve your quality of life. I can personally attest to the benefits of meeting with a Christian counselor. After my house flooded in Hurricane Harvey, I developed a fear of driving in the rain. With the help of a qualified, licensed professional counselor, I was able to overcome my fear and get back to doing the things I love.
Have you ever thought of scheduling an appointment with a pastor?
When times get tough, we all have questions and doubts. Where is God? Why would He let this happen to me? What does He want me to do?
People throughout the Bible wondered the same things. God was with them all along, even if they couldn’t see it, and the same is true for you. The pastors at The Woodlands Methodist Church can help you understand God’s plan for your life. All of our pastors can provide support and counseling to help you find the answers to your spiritual questions. Contact the front desk at 281.297.5900 to schedule a time to talk.
You can also find help on our Prayer and Care Page.
https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2022/03/inflation-war-stress; accessed 04/22/2022
https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/anxiety-difference; accessed 04/25/2022