Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when we handle stress in a positive way. We all know that a little stress such as a deadline to finish a project can be considered as “good” stress.” Good stress is a key to success because it keeps us working and moving towards a finished; however, even “good stress” can become very heavy. We all need to take a break from the project – get a drink of water, walk around the office, etc. – and then go back to the project.
Big problems are caused when we fail – for whatever reason – to let go of the stress and take a rest. It is particularly important that we put our burdens down early in the evening and refuse to pick them up again until morning. If we fail to take a proper rest from our stress, the burden continues to get heavier and heavier.
Laughter is an excellent way to relieve stress. I remember the true story about a mother who had her hair done professionally in order to look her best at an important function. She prepared for the evening and went into the kitchen to speak to her children. One of the children dropped something on the floor, and the mother stooped down to pick it up. At the same moment a glass of lemonade was spilled – and the lemonade splashed on the mother’s hair. The situation was tense because no one knew how the mother would react. Then the mother started laughing at the situation, and the stress in the home cleared.
There are other excellent ways to relieve stress, such as prayer, scripture study, listening to soft music, and physical exercise. I find that doing physical work – such as vacuuming or gardening – helps me to keep stress under control.
The following experience demonstrates how the weight of stress can become greater and greater until something breaks. In order for us to strength our homes, communities, and nations, we must learn how to deal with the stresses of life in positive ways.
A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they would be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired, “How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 8 ounces to 20 ounces.
She replied, “The absolute weight does not matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute it is not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass does not change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.
She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.” (Author unknown)