Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Stress, May Flowers?

April is National Stress Awareness Month…

I can’t help but notice ... how not-stressed I am, which is a blessing, especially considering how stressed I was this time last year. But as the thought for today goes:

“Your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.”

And a beautiful diamond forms in high pressure and heat.

They say when something good happens, don’t question; just run with it. I don’t know about tomorrow, but right now, I feel at peace. Maybe it’s because I’m learning to accept even the moments when I feel sad, scared, or anxious because by living through them, I can better appreciate and what it means to be happy, brave, and trusting.

But I realize that a peaceful, (relatively) stress free state also has to do with everyday, practical choices like: it how often I relax everyday; how much I exercise; and how much work I pile on my plate. So I took an online stress test to see how I’d score. I got a 6 for " a few hassles” – just one point shy of the “pretty good control” bracket. Like I said, “I’m learning…”

Adopting a calm, collected state of mind in often hectic, stressful surroundings can be difficult. Stats posted by Fast Company show:

STRESS BALLS, RELAXATION TAPES, and other stress-fighting products and services account for $14 BILLION of spending in the U.S. EACH YEAR.

62% of American are stressed about WORK, according to the American Psychological Association.

ONE-THIRD of American children ages 8 to 17 say they worry about their family's finances.

...Which reminds me – I heard this joke the other day. It went something like:

When I was a kid, my grandfather would always say, ‘Want to know what’s important in life? Always watch your health, never mind the money.’ He’d say, ‘watch your health,’ And I did. Then one day I woke up and my grandfather had stolen all my money!

Twisted, maybe, but the joke did get me thinking about what is important to me in life. A person can spend a lifetime chasing after tangible measures of success, or instead, making the most of one’s possessions while staying healthy, being kind to others, and living a balanced life. It can be easier said than done, but I wouldn’t mind being the person if the joke if when I woke up I could say: Yes, the money is gone, but I still have my health. I share in the lives and happiness of those closest to me. And even though this situation is crummy, I know what my purpose is in life and I have the ability to move on.

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