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S T R E S S ! !
Part 1 - Cause of Stress
        A. Stress:
                1. Stress is really an integral part of life. We set our whole pattern of life by our stress endpoint. If we hit it exactly we live dynamic, purposeful, useful, happy lives. If we go over, we break. If we stay too far under, we vegetate.
                2. Almost anything can produce alarm clock ringing, a traffic jam, pressure on the job, getting married, battling an illness...even winning a race.
                3. Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe developed what they called "The Social Readjustment Rating Scale." A total of 150 or more points within a year means a high level of stress.
                4. 89% of all adult Americans feel stressed out. More whites than blacks. High incomes twice as likely. Better educated - more stress. 114 million deal with stress by taking medication, seeking counseling or psyching themselves out. 64 million do nothing
                5. Stress occurs when there are:
                        a. Major life changes - divorce, health
                        b. Work problems - demands, fired, insecure
                        c. Environmental threats - crime, economy
                6. Stress involves -
                        a. Change
                        b. Threat of loss
                        c. Fear, worry or anxiety about the above
        B. Burnout
                1. People-to-people contact + Stress = Burnout
                2. When one works too hard, too long, under stress they lose equilibrium. (Vertigo)
                3. The result is BURNOUT.
        C. Stress Quiz
                1. Are you irritated by waiting in line?
                2. Does your personal life depress you?
                3. Do you feel insecure in your job?
                4. Do you eat, drink or smoke to relieve anxiety?
                5. Could your goals be unreal?
                6. Do you feel trapped? Pushed around? Used?
                7. Do you often misplace things?
                8. Are you accident-prone?
                NOTE: One or more "Yes" answers means stress is present in your life - and it needs attention.

Symptoms of Stress.
        A. Physical - headaches, intestinal problems, weight loss or gain, insomnia, chest pains, fatigue, hypertension.
        B. Emotional - mood swings, drastic personality changes, intense anger over little things.
        C. Spiritual - not enjoy worship, not pray, not read Bible.
        D. Mental - reject new information, regression to childhood, depression.

Four Stages of Stress.
        A. Challenge - excitement, power, goals to reach
        B. Commitment - boring, life becomes routine
        C. Containment - prison, locked in, trapped
        D. Collapse - walk out, slam the door, quit

Stress in the Bible.
        A. Matthew 6:25-34
                1. Worry about life - eat drink, wear
                2. Look at the birds.
                3. Consider the lilies of the field.
                4. O ye of little faith.
                5. Worry is what Gentiles (non-Christians) do.
                6. Put God and His Kingdom (church) first.
                7. Do not worry about tomorrow, enough with today.
                8. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
                9. Key words: Anxiety; Anxious; Careful; Care
        B. Luke 10:38-42

1. Martha - cumbered with serving.
                2. "Don't you care that I must serve alone?"
                3. "Careful and troubled about many things."
                4. One thing is needful. Choose it.
         NOTE: The 50 year rule. What will it matter in 50 years if I do this or do not do it?
        C. Philippians 4:6

1. Worry about nothing. Why SHOULD we worry about:
                        a. Past.         b. Present situation        c. Future
                2. Pray about everything
                3. Prayer and Worry are in contrast to each other. Like a glass with water and oil in it. The more water you add, the less oil will remain in the glass. The more one prays, the less they worry. The more one worries, the less they will pray.
        D. 1 Peter 5:7

1. Cast your care upon Him. (Care = worry, stress)
                2. He cares for you. (Care = concern)
                3. Concern seeks to assist, help, solve.
                4. Stress stews, frets, paces; does no help.

How to have a Nervous Breakdown.
        A. Worry about trying to find the answer before the problem arises.
                1. 95% of what we worry about never happens.
                2. Maud Muller -
                        Of all the words of tongue or pen,
                        The saddest are these, "It might have been."
                3. "Today will be Yesterday Tomorrow"
        B. Wish things had been different.
                1. Dwell in the past.
                2. Live with regret, remorse, guilt.
        C. Make no decisions, at least not today.
                1. Procrastination is our enemy.
                2. Bakery sign - "Free Doughnuts Tomorrow"
        D. Demand more of yourself than you can produce.
                1. Many still think salvation is by works.
                2. Therefore, they seek perfection.
                3. Do less than your best = Nothing at all.
                4. Impose tough demands = Destroy yourself.
        E. Believe the worst.
                1. Believe the gossip, rumor, (tabloids).
                2. We should think the best. Phil. 4:8

Part 2 - Cure for Stress
Ways to Deal With Stress.

Avoid Stress.
1. Get up 15 minutes earlier.
2. Don't rely on your memory.
3. Prepare for morning the night before.
4. Walk everywhere you can.
5. Allow extra time.
6. Anticipate your needs.
7. Don't put up with things that do not work properly.
8. Say "no" more often.
9. Rearrange your schedule, work hours, mealtime.
10. Make copies of all important papers. Keep originals in a safe place.

Reduce Stress.
1. Be prepared to wait.
2. Find humor in things.
3. Count your blessings.
4. Unclutter your life.
5. Keep time fillers by your telephone.
6. Memorize your favorite poem, verse of scripture.
7. Make contingency plans.
8. Establish a serene place of your own.
9. Avoid reliance on chemical aids.
10. Ask questions.

Relieve Stress.
1. Get it off your chest.
2. Take time out - to breath deeply.
3. Take a break from the children.
4. Unwind before bedtime.
5. Schedule more fun.
6. Find an enjoyable way to exercise.
7. Find something that relaxes you.
8. Talk to a loving friend or relative.
9. Reward yourself after a stressful activity.
10. Touch, hug, hold hands, kiss.

How to Cope with Stress
        A. Remember that all stress is not bad.
                James 1:2-3
        B. Develop a positive attitude.
                Heb. 12:15 Sweet spirit or Bitter spirit
                Ps. 118.24
        C. Whittle your problem down to size.
                Four questions to ask yourself:
                a. Has anyone else ever had a problem like this?
                b. Did anybody survive a problem like this?
                c. What are the alternatives?
                d. What is best alternative?
        D. Do a regular aerobic exercise.
                1 Cor. 3:16-17
                1 Tim. 4:8
        E. Come apart or you will.
                Mark 6:31
                John 18:1
        F. Develop a sense of humor.
        G. Feed your spirit.
                1 Peter 2:2
        H. Lean on the Lord.
                1 Peter 5:7
                Psalm 23

Stress Management (from Gospel Advocate)
        A. Be aware of your own stress and your own feelings.
        B. Confess your sin.
        C. Develop hobbies and interests that are not job or church related.
        D. Get plenty of exercise.
        E. Watch your diet.
        F. Manage your time effectively.
        G. Say "No" to projects you know that you do not want to do.
        H. Develop strong, supportive relationships with fellow Christians.
        I. Pray daily.
        K. Study the Bible daily.

How to Manage Stress (from Reader's Digest)
        A. Reorganize yourself.
        B. Change the scene.
        C. Change your mind.
        D. Build up your strength.

Decision Time. (from Upreach Magazine)
        A. Decide that your ability to succeed does not depend on your physical attractiveness.
        B. Decide that your success does not depend on your performance or ability to function.
        C. If what you're presently doing isn't consistent with your talents and abilities, decide now to make plans to change.
        D. Decide not to define success simply in terms of what you will get.
        E. Decide to share the success that comes to you.
        F. Decide that your success must nurture your entire family.
        G. Decide that your success does not depend on circumstances, nor on the attitudes of people around you or things working out the way you thought they would.
        H. Decide to derive the meaning of your life from a point outside your activities.

My personal list of suggestions.
        A. Get your perspective right.
                1. Busy with the urgent; we forget the important
                2. Read a book on time management
        B. Take time off.
                1. Weekly. (Sabbath = rest)
                2. Monthly. (Hermeneutic Hideaway)
                3. Yearly. (Vacation - Do not take work with you.)
        C. Take care of yourself.
                1. Walk, jog, run, swim, bicycle
                2. 30 to 60 minutes / 3 times per week
                3. Eat right. Sleep right
        D. Learn to say "NO"
        E. Delegate.
                1. One man band OR conductor of the orchestra.
                2. Turn over AND turn loose.
        F. Laugh.
                1. Read the comics.
                2. Reader's Digest - "Laughter"
        G. Use support network.
                1. We all need three levels of fellowship.
                        a. Church - Worship with an unlimited number
                        b. Class - 10 to 15 associates
                        c. Cell - Close group of 3 to 5
        H. Develop new disciplines.
                1. Learn something new, challenging.
                2. Develop a hobby, sport, activity.
        I. Enrich your life.
                1. Try new things.
                2. Be adventurous.
        J. Face what you fear.
                1. Emerson - "Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain."
                2. When you face it, you will learn that it is not as big, bad, mean as you imagined it to be.
        K. Practice self - assessment.
                1. Take inventory.
                2. Make adjustments.
                3. Avoid falling into new traps.

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