Stress is a seemingly ever-present force in the life of many college students today. According to a study published by Harvard University, three out of four college students reported experiencing at least one stressful life event during the past year. What is stress? In this article, I want to look at what stress is, what the Bible says about it, and some productive ways to deal with the issue.
Stress can be defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Stress is a feeling that every human being experiences for better or worse. Stress can be thought of as healthy when a situation, like getting married or starting a new job, causes us to feel anxious, but that feeling goes away before too long. Stress becomes negative and unhealthy when we allow it to have a constant pessimistic influence on our life. If we are constantly stressed and anxious about our future, a test or a personal relationship, we allow stress to become a negative controlling factor in our life. Stress can become a determent if it impacts our ability to enjoy life, function normally or gets in the way of us going about day to day activities.
Biblical View on Stress
The Bible directly addresses how believers are supposed to behave and respond to stressors of all kinds. In Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. Again, in Matthew 6:34 Jesus says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble”. It seems that God wants us to live life moment by moment, day by day. When we think ahead and worry about the future, we take our eyes off of Jesus and allow the wind and waves of life to push us and bend us to their will and not the Father’s.
Great, the Bible says not to worry or be stressed, but what are some practical ways to deal with this mass amount of anxiety and worry that is building up in me? I’m glad you asked, let’s look at some positive ways to deal with anxiety and stress.
How to Deal with Stress
I want to start with some practical Biblical tips on managing stress. It can be very helpful to the believer to have an honest prayerful conversation with the Father regarding your thoughts, feelings, and desires. Lay out your anxiety and fears to Him, allow His presence to fill you. It could also be helpful to journal what you are feeling and what God is speaking to you. In times of stress we must turn towards and lean into the Giver of peace rather than away.
I want to give some practical, daily, tips on managing the anxious world that is all around us. Primarily try to live your life moment by moment, focusing only on what you can control. This is put aptly by the Serenity Prayer, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference. Try to start out each day by thinking and believing that it is going to be a good day, because positive self-talk really helps. Time management and balancing your time effectively is a simple yet effective way to stay on top of assignments, procrastination ultimately leads to loads of anxiety. Try to get some exercise, even taking a simple walk around the hill promotes stress relieving neurotransmitter release. Eat food that will make your body feel good, it is definitely easier to stay in a positive mental space when you are attending to your physical health. Find something positive you can do every day that allows you to shake off the stress of the past day and move in the peace of God. Finally, and probably most importantly, talk to people about how you are feeling. You may feel strong dealing with problems by yourself, but ultimately, positive influences in your life lead to social support and enjoyment of life. The Bible says in Proverbs 15:22 “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established”. Don’t be afraid to seek counsel whether that is from a wise friend or from a trained Psychologist, such as those available for free to UCLA students at CAPS.
Free on campus counseling– UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services (310) 825-0768
If stress or anything else is causing you to have suicidal thoughts or ideations, please reach out to someone, such as The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
It will get better. Do not choose a permanent solution to a temporary problem
I want to make myself available as a resource, if anyone needs anything.
(530) 863-6128 -J.N.
Stress is only here for a moment; you are going to be around for a lifetime.