5 Steps to Tackling Stress like the Saints
When I was still in school I would often think to myself, “there’s no way I’m going to get through this week.” As finals approached I would have a semester’s worth of my online class to finish in 3 days, 2 papers to write, several tests to study for AND I had to sleep, go to work, and not neglect my relationships.
Somehow, some way, by the grace of God, the semester would end and then I could finally rest. It felt like running a marathon.
Lucky for us we aren’t alone. Even the Saints went through times of suffering and stress. I don’t know about you, but I want to be a saint. I don’t care if I have a prayer card with my face on it, but I long for the peace of eternity in heaven. My reaction to stress is keeping me from that peace. Consistently I read about the saints calmly and joyfully embracing suffering. WHY? HOW? WHAT?
I have narrowed it down to these top 5 ways to tackle stress like the Saints:
1. Look at the big picture
Most of the time whatever you are stressing about is not that big of a deal. Take a breather and take yourself out of the current situation and look at what really matters. When we get bogged down with this test or that paper, we tend to lose sight of our priorities. The Saints realized that, ultimately, God is in control and He loves His children more than we can fathom. That, alone, is enough.
JPII said: “What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And, without the love of Jesus, everything is useless.” –St. Pope John Paul II
We are our worst enemies, sometimes. The worst thing Netflix could have done was add the feature to automatically play the next episode. It’s destroying my self-control. By the time I decide that it’s time to go to sleep so I can wake up at a decent time the next morning, the next episode is about to play. Of course, I just let it play. This often leads to a stressful morning and a not so productive day the next day. We tend to bring stress on ourselves by not practicing self-control. The weird thing is that we cannot practice self-control alone. The Saints relied on God, alone to help them control their own behavior. A little bit of self-mastery opens you up to transformation from the Holy Spirit.
Try getting up at the same time every day, praying at the same time every day and shut Netflix off at a decent time.
3. Sit in Silence
The Saints knew the importance of silence. Silence is not an absence, but a presence.
“A soul that has never tasted the sweetness of inner silence is a restless spirit which disturbs the silence of others.” -St. Faustina
God speaks in the stillness of our hearts. Taking time to put the homework and the activity to rest. Don’t allow yourself to be lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Take time to sit in silence to find Jesus and in finding Him, yourself.
4. Be attentive to others
During the time that St. Maximillian Kolbe was imprisoned in
he suffered tremendously. Meanwhile, he was giving away his rations of food, hearing confessions, and focusing on other’s suffering. This mindset helped him to remain peaceful during some really intense suffering. Focusing on those around us and responding to their needs is the cure
being self-centered and stressed. God is giving us the opportunity to stretch ourselves to tend to the needs of others. We are being called to be present outside of ourselves.
5. Be Grateful
Gratitude makes you realize that everything that you have been given is already enough. God provides even in our weakest moments. He’s prepared you for whatever struggle you are facing right now. Make a list of the things you are grateful for and remind yourself of the things that He has given you to succeed.
Have hope, my friends, because on the other side of stress is peace.