How is Stress Affecting the Story of Your Life?

Have you been feeling the negative effects of stress from head to toe? Has it grown to become more than just that adorable little monkey on your back? Are you remotely curious to the point that you’ll listen to some counsel? “Sometimes you don’t feel the weight of something you’ve been carrying until you feel the weight of its release.”–Unknown

Do you need a serious “wake-up” call before you take steps to reduce your unwanted burden? If you were to receive shocking news today that immediately and drastically changed the landscape of your life, what action would you take? How would you choose to spend your time if for the first time you were forced to contemplate the meaning of time and how many days you have remaining?“Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings.” —Thomas S. Monson  So, pause you must. Consider the day at hand. Yes, even today. Is it not loaded with countless opportunities? Would you not agree that it is chock-full of chances to do something wonderful and meaningful? Oh, I know that some bemoan that their days are already jammed with work, family, and other activities. These mistakenly believe there is no room available in their lives. They may as well carry a sign that reads “No Vacancy”. Deep down many desire something or someone who may help their lives to shine with a bright, new complexion. They may have even lost that loving feeling! There are those who despite the ever-present buzz of activity crave an injection which will fill their lives with greater purpose. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for the great.”–Chad Hymes  Some things must wait. Some must be set aside for a season in life. Some must be discarded completely. “A year from now you may wish you had started today.”–Karen Lamb

So, you may be wishing for a new lease on life. Perhaps, you simply do not know where to turn. Lacking sufficient knowledge, or direction, or the ability to discern the truth of things as they really are could present a stumbling block. But, don’t wait until you blow some blood vessels in your brain or your back breaks from your insanely demanding workload. “Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation. It means understanding that something is what it is and there’s got to be a way through it.”–Michael J. Fox  You’ve been stuck in neutral for far too long. A shift of perspective is called for if you are to extricate yourself from  the dangerous, cavernous rut. “Just because something isn’t happening for you right now doesn’t mean that it will never happen.”–Unknown  Do not assume that you are both helpless and hopeless. On the other hand, I suppose it might be sensible to remember that “just because you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town.”–George Carlin

Your objective moving forward is to make each day special. “I have found that rather than dwelling on the negative, if we will take a step back and consider the blessings in our lives, including seemingly small, sometimes overlooked blessings, we can find greater happiness.”–Thomas S. Monson

In the world today, it is certainly  easy for the mundane to creep up on unsuspecting individuals. Lives become hijacked. You might be speeding down the runway every day or held up at the gate in a never-ending delay, but either way you are no longer in control of your journey. I have some practical suggestions. If applied, they may serve as a one-way ticket out of your predicament:

  1. Shrink your calendar. A “busy” body does not always produce a healthy body.
  2. Make changes that will be noticed. They are more likely to be lasting in nature.
  3. Live for yourself and your family. When someone says “You’ve changed.” It simply means you’ve stopped living your life their way.
  4. Become a peacemaker. Do not indulge in trivial battles over that which is entirely and eternally insignificant.
  5. Do not create drama. There’s only room for a few actors on your stage.
  6. Don’t hold grudges. They slowly poison you and your loved ones with their toxins.
  7. Don’t judge others. Every traveler in mortality carries baggage unseen by others.
  8. Learn to appreciate what you already have. Live on less and with less and you’ll live more fully.
  9. Live so as to always be ready, willing, and worthy of heavenly help.
  10. Do not fear. Only believe. Fear will add fuel to your stress. Faith will help you let it go.

“If you think of your life as a story, then you can think of any grief or stress you might be experiencing as just a few pages–and anyone can get through a few pages. You are the author of your own story, the illustrator of your own destiny. You choose the words and the lines that fill its pages.”–James A. Owen