We often think of stress as all bad. When one says, “I’m stressed” it normally points to a looming exam, job conflict, or time crunch. That kind of stress is the bad kind of stress. But there is a stress that comes from good and exciting and fruitful times, like a wonderful mission trip. Bad stress is called distress and good stress is called eustress, another name for good stress is adrenaline. I have written a short review on a book that changed the way I think about adrenaline and stress here. Some people live on adrenaline. They thrive on it and it is really good and keeps us productive for a time. That is why after an intense time at work it is good to take a break. After a long time of ministry it is good to just stop and relax and reflect. Many people talk about having the blues after a long trip such as a mission trip where one is thrust out of comfort zones, living in close quarters, seeking God with intensity. The blues are a gift of God.
The truth is our bodies don’t really know the difference between good stress and bad stress. If not dealt with properly, over a long period of time, good or bad stress may lead to lack of focus, lower immunity for blocking simple sicknesses, aches and pains and more stress. There are ways to cope:
- Eat a good diet
- Exercise frequently
- Back off from the stressor (know your stress triggers)
- Do something absolutely different for a break
- Take a nap or simply try and relax
- Don’t self-medicate
- Pursue God through prayer, reading the Bible, and journaling. Other great stress reducers are silence, solitude and prayer walking.
New Yorkers instinctively know that being with people, around people, all the noises and commotion and confusion will eventually lead to stress. That is why they love Central Park.