According to the American Psychological Association (APA) stress affects nearly half of all Americans. Stress can interfere with our ability to function normally and with clarity over extended periods.
Some of the key findings show that people are most stress about money, work, and the economy, with family, relationships, and health coming in closely behind. Stress in now culprit to irritability/anger, fatigue, lack of interest, and anxiousness in the lives of nearly 90 million Americans. APA Chief Executive Officer Norman B. Anderson, PhD. stated, "America is at a critical crossroads when it comes to stress and our health"
A new study conducted has emerged giving hope to millions of Americans. Alian J. Crum, Peter Salovey, and Shawn Achor, developed a new science (Crum et al. 2013) that connects our thought to not only reduced stress, but enhanced performance.
The three maverick scientists recruited a group of people from the high stress world of finances and split into three groups. Each was shown a different 10-minute video. One video suggested stress can be good for you, the second reinforced the idea that stress is debilitating, the third was neutral and served as the controlled baseline.
After watching the videos over a few weeks, the financiers reported back on their stress mindset, job performance, and their levels of stress. Documented results showed that those who watched seen the stress enhancing video developed a more positive mindset toward stress. This led to report of better work performance and decreased psychological problems.
This suggests that something as simple as a short video with a positive message can change the anxious environment of the mind and actually benefit from it, at least in the short term.
As you can well imagine. The second test group found it difficult to work and reported more psychological problems. The third group had no change, stress and lower performance remained constant.
This study uncovers a fascinating truth about the Bible. Unbeknownst to scientists, this seemingly simple bit of advice dates back thousands of years. Not only is this advice clearly written in the scriptures but it also contains additional instruction that enlists God's help.
Bible Secrets To Conquering Stress - Permanently
Secret # 1
In the scientific research we learned that changing how we think by simply receiving positive messages about stressful situations, can make a difference in our performance and mental health. But scientist are skeptical of calling this technique a long term solution, that is, until now.
In the book of Matthew chapter 6 verses 25 through 34, Jesus explains that people will enviably be confronted with stressful situations. His advise is not to look at the problem, but instead to reflect on how God supports even the smallest creature, like a bird.
"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:26
To drive the point even further Jesus explains that even the grass of the field is clothed with beautiful flowers, that even man can't duplicate. Matthew 6:28 - 30
Then Jesus makes a statement that is virtually synonymous to the research findings.
"So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:31 - 34
In these verses Jesus instructs listeners to stop worrying about things and to start focusing the mind on a power much bigger than themselves - God. A virtually identical message to what researchers discovered when they observed changes in human performance and health during experimentation. It seems that when the mind focuses on a greater power, like the power to overcome adversity, both mind and body follow, and now science agrees with the Bible.
But it doesn't stop there.
Scientists are skeptical to unveil this technique as the cure-all for stress. I suspected the reason for skepticism is that participants in the experiment needed an external stimuli, like a video. The question that arises of course is will the video have the same power a year from if watched daily? Will participants need new videos in order to keep the positive mindset about stress?
The challenge scientists face is that triggering an innate (God given) ability to conquer stress without God or faith is an unreliable tactic.
Carefully gleaning through Matthew 6:25 - 34 we discover two main principles in the scripture. Jesus calls people who have their mind on stressful situations, rather than God, people of little faith. (Matthew 6:30) Then in Matthew 6:33 Jesus states that we should "seek" the Kingdom of Heaven.
To summarize this little bit of advise we should first take our eyes off the problem and put them on God. Then we are to commune with God, heart, soul, mind, and body. This is also known as Christian meditation.
The inherit result of following the advise in Matthew 6:25 - 34 is trust, and just trust in our ability, but in God. And trust in God allows God to help you and guide you. This is something scientist can't quantify, measure, or even prove. But if you're a person of faith you know that God is forever existent and powerful. This were science and faith depart. Scientists can't claim a long term solution, but faith in an all powerful God reaches into the realms of eternity, far beyond a long term solution.
If you have any doubt that our faith must lead us to trust God take a look at Proverbs 3:5-6.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight.
These verses state that we must not rely on our own understanding in any situation, but instead we must rely on God, which can only happen if God be the totality of our awareness.
The promise attached to this instruction is that God himself will "make our paths straight", meaning our journey through life will be smoother.
Once we have focused on God, not the stressful situation, sought God with faith, and begun to feel trust, we can then pray. Philippians 4:6-7 states this:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This verse asserts the principle of mentally letting go of the stress inducing situation (Secret #1 Matthew 6:25 - 34) and then praying, but not just ordinary prayer.
The way we are instructed to pray is different than the common prayer most people pray. This is a prayer that is mixed with thanksgiving. This prayer should reflect not only our request but our thanks toward God. This type of prayer must be energized with visions and emotions of gratitude. Our request to God must lead us to think of all the things we are grateful for. Regardless of the detail, our heart must empower our prayer with gratefulness.
Our gratefulness must lead us into a state of shear love for God. When your attitude changes from worried to inspired you have correctly followed Philippians 4:6-7. The inspiration you feel in your heart is God's loving energy. It will motivate you to keep conquering, to keep moving ahead regardless of adversity, and to do everything with God who loves you and gives you peace.
Scientists have discovered a mechanism in the brain that allows a person to overcome the harmful effects of stress while seemingly enhancing health and performance. The technique involves nothing more than external stimuli that changes how we think of stress.
Although scientists are not ready to declare this a permanent cure for stress, people of faith can activate this healthy brain pattern by following three simple biblical principles. While secular tests, void of God and faith, show amazing results with a simple tool like a video, those who believe in God can the seemingly impossible.
Here's the three powerful secrets that can help you conquer stress summarized.
- Stop focusing on the problem and start focusing on God. When you do this mindfully and meditatively, your faith in God will grow. Faith will grow because your inner being will experience God's magnitude. (Seek first the kingdom of God) (Matthew 6:25 - 34)
- Growing faith in God, who can be experienced, will naturally lead to trust. Once you start trusting in God, He will guide your life with less discord and in more peaceful ways. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- When your trust becomes anchored in God you will know what to pray for, and it's probably not what you first thought. Your prayer will be formed by your experience of God, and in that experience you will also joyfully give thanks for even the smallest blade of grass.
Repeat this process until you feel a strong sense of peace.
I hope this helps you conquer your stress. We'd love to hear about your stress reducing techniques. make sure to post them below. Thanks! We love you and we're praying for you. See you in the kingdom.