Newsletter # 450 – Stress Management Skills Part 2

A previous newsletter (449) summarized the findings of researcher Robert Epstein who argued that “we receive formal training in writing and math but learning to manage stress is left entirely to chance.” Writing in Scientific American Mind, Epstein gave a psychological analysis of what he termed “stress-management competencies.” But there was no acknowledgement that what we believe impacts how we anticipate and manage stress.

When natural disasters occur or when terrorist attacks kill thousands like they did ten years ago, millions of people find solace and coping skills in their religious communities and their beliefs in the supernatural. How interesting that the Mayor of New York declared this week that there would be no prayers at the tenth anniversary observances. There has long been speculation why some politicians and scientists ignore anything to do with God even though there is clear data that religious and spiritual beliefs, including prayer and meditation on Scripture, bring comfort to people in difficult times.

We live in this troubled world but “we don’t fight in the same way the world fights,” writes the apostle Paul. “We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places” (2 Cor 3-4). These biblical words do not focus on stress specifically but they are reminders that Christians have access to supernatural resources for stress management. Most of us believe that of our established stress-reduction methods ultimately come from the grace of God. They can be effective and work to bring calm in difficult times. But the more direct  “weapons” that come from God can (and do) bring unexplainable peace, changes in the way we think, and inner tranquility in times of pressure and crises (John 14:27; Phil 4:4-7).

It is easy to lose this perspective when we work with scientific data, evidence-based methods, professional guidelines, and sophisticated explanation models. But in times of increasing uncertainty it is well to pause regularly and remember the divine resources that we bring to our work and to our clients.

6 Comments

  1. Epstein overstated things a bit–stress management is not “left entirely to chance”, but it is left largely to family and communiity rather than a central part of public education.

    Reply

  2. Hi Garry whilst I agree with your overall reminder of the supernatural spiritual resources the Christian has in life, I don’t think the verses ( actually) from 2 Cor 10:3-4 are intended as “reminders that Christians have access to supernatural resources for stress management.” If anything, when we read on they should embolden us to ‘demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” and the imperative that we “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” vs 5. There’s a battle for our minds and those around us which we must not shy away from..
    thanks for your input each week which keeps me thinking and reflecting:)
    your sister in Christ
    from Australia
    Eleanor

    Reply

  3. Gary,

    I’ve just found your blog and become an instant fan. So many in my life who don’t or barely know Christ suffer from stress. Sometimes I try to comfort them, but so unnaturally I come from a Christian perspective which the world shuns under the assumption of foolishness. I wonder if you could offer any insight as to how you would offer encouragement to an unbelieving world with a Christian perspective?

    Blessings,

    Nathan

    Reply

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