One of the goals I have this year is to acheive a balanced lifesytle in all aspects of my life: physical, mental (personal growth), spiritual, family, financial, business / career / ministry, community, and social / relational / emotional. I have been reading the scripture and books, and listening to CD's about personal development, and how to grow in these areas.
In regards to personal growth and mental wellness , the above scripture in 2 Timothy 1:7 gives me the key. I thank God that He has given me a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. I know that without Him, I can do nothing. And the other day I learned from a CD that the big five challenges and difficulties in life are discouragement, change, problems, fear and failure.
I believe that life has a divine purpose, so the greatest mastery over life for me has come through understanding my God, and to live my life according to God's plan, principles and purposes. There is a season, there is a time for everything. Knowing what time and season it is in our lives and seeing what our life is through His eyes and trusting Him for that ! I normally cope with stress by managing my day, taking rest breaks, doing things that are relaxing, not draining on the battery and going out with friends, trusting God and His Word. Getting into the Bible, knowing that He is in control.
While Mastery Over life means ruling and controlling over life, according to Keith Sehnert in his book Stress / Unstress, the greatest stress factor is the loss of control. In my own observations, some people just seem to handle stress better than others. Certain life habits can prepare you well for stress: they give you a kind of cushion for the hard knocks of life.
- Follow an exercise program each week. This can undo some of the damage stress does to your system, lowering blood pressure and strengthening your cardiovascular system.
- Eating nutritionally balanced and healthy meals. If you put good stuff into your body, your body will put out a good effort for you, particularly in times of stress.
- It is easy to depend on nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine in stressful times - none of which are healthy to your body. Stop depending on them in stressful times and go for healthy lifestyle!
- Take regular breaks during the day in order to relax. You will be more productive over the long haul. Remember the Sabbath and keep it free from work activities. You need time to hang out with friends but you also need time alone.
- Assert your feelings in appropriate ways. Commit to honest, accurate communication. Couch your criticism in praise. Speak the truth in love.
- Place a high value on your primary relationships, and set aside time to work on improving them. Supportive friends, family members and partners can cushion the blows of life,empower you to face your daily challenges, and undergird you with a sense of security and significance. Don't take your friendships and relationships for granted; make them a priority. Have fun. The best relationships are those with laughter,with people who can have fun together. Be an encourager and a servant; seek the well-being of the other.
- Have work / business or a hobby that gives you a sense of meaning and purpose.
- Have a strong faith. Stress comes when you sense you are not in control. There is comfort, though, in knowing that God is always in control. Set aside a regular time for prayer , bible reading and reflections. Rest and listen to God. Take time just to be with Him. Breathe your prayers. As you go throughout the day, take your prayers with you. Pray with others. You can cope with stress much better by joining others in brief times of prayer.