Stress is defined as emotional or physical tension, feeling pressured, or experiencing frustration. Most, if not all people, experience stress frequently throughout their lifetime. It would be odd to live life without any stress. Can you even imagine a life without any stress? What would it look like to have no stress? The first thought that comes to my mind is that if there was no stress there would be constant peace. I found defintions from Oxford Languages that describes peace as “a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended” or “freedom from disturbance; tranquility”.
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker I have counseled so many people on stress, and I have come to understand that there are not many times in life where there is total freedom from disturbance. Instead, there are many “wars” experienced in life, whether it’s conflict, trauma, addiction, social or emotional struggles, illness, financial problems, parenting difficulties, or employment issues. So, I believe that in order to peace the power is in transforming your mindset, not your circumstances. I realize this is not new to many people, but it is such an important concept it needs to be emphasized over and over again.
If you wait for the absence of stress to feel peace, it is not likely to happen. If you control your mindset peace is possible. How? You are choosing what to focus on, how much energy you give to your stress, and how much power you give to negative thoughts and emotions, including anger, fear, doubt, shame etc. The stress is in your circumstances but the war is in your mind. I am in no way minimizing stress, trauma, and difficult life situations. With every trauma, loss, and stressful situation it is a process to feel peace. There is often a need to choose peace over and over again, and focus on hope rather than pain. This is not easy at all, and there is a lot of healing that needs to take place throughout the process. There are also usually false beliefs that need to be exposed in order to take away the power the beliefs have over your life. Examine your attitudes about both stress and peace, and you may find that you have beliefs that are hindering your ability to feel at peace.
When I first became a Christian I expected constant peace and no stress. I thought that I would heal quickly from all my past and current trauma. I quickly learned this was wrong. I eventually realized that my peace came from Jesus, my trust in him, and focusing on the Bible and scripture, which really does transform the mind. I learned that the process of choosing peace over and over again, rather than being healed immediately, grew me and gave me skills that I wouldn’t have learned without the struggle of changing my focus and mindset. This has not been easy to do, and I often fall short or fail. But, I continue to try. and have definitely improved. The key is to stop thoughts that are stressful and fear filled as quickly as possible.
Phillipians 4:8 says “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” This is so important. These are thoughts filled with faith, hope, love, peace, joy, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. These thoughts focus on moving forward, new beginnings, and overcoming instead of fear, shame, or lack of faith or hope. When negative thoughts come in , focus on positive activities, self care, and gratitude. Mind and body are linked and it is easier to think differently when you are involved in activities you enjoy and/or activities that distract you. There is a strong body-mind connection and caring for both mind and body at the same time eases stress and increases peace. This is meant to be a regular practice, and not just during times of increased stress. If you regularly focus on caring for your mind and body stress becomes more manageable.
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions on how you manage stress please let me know. I’d love to talk with you. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
#PTSD #trauma #secondarytrauma #panic #relivingmypast #letgoofmypast #emotionalhealing