Finding Joy in Stress

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We have all heard of stress. It’s on the news; ways to reduce stress is a hot topic and a big buzz word for many magazines and publications. It may even be part of our own daily verbiage. How many times a week do you say or hear, “I’m so stressed!”  As busy moms, we are called to be and do it all. We are caregivers, cooks, household managers, taxi-drivers, negotiators, and moderators. We are an incredible creation. As incredible as we are, we are still prone to stress. We may feel invincible at times. We probably feel called to feel invincible, but that probably just adds to the level of stress.

So, what is stress? Why do we care and why is lowering our stress levels so important? Life is… We fill in the blank with the feelings that create what we experience, as what we call stress.  Life is busy, overwhelming, hard, crazy…. So, it is for most. How we manage what we are given, truly affects what stress is to us and what it means in terms of our health and well-being. When we reduce our stress, life can be calm, organized, balanced, and joyful. We are called to be joyful after all. It is a fruit of the spirit. So reducing our stress is a great thing. We can be more fruitful.

We are naturally designed to function in mind and body. When we are not functioning as designed, that is called stress. We can be stressed physically, mentally or emotionally. Stress is a way for our well-being to stay in check by telling us to slow down and take care of ourselves. Stress is both good for us and bad for us. It our body’s alert mechanism that notifies us to return to function naturally. This is great except as busy Moms, we sometimes hear the needs around us louder than our built in feedback mechanism. If we do not take care and pay attention to reduce stress, it can result in disease and imbalance in our lives. Which then can disrupt the natural function that we are meant to operate in?  So what do we do? What are some ways that we can hear this?

First we need to slow down. Breathing is so important. We take it for granted because we naturally do it, but when under stressful situations, we sometimes hold our breaths which deprives us of oxygen and creates more stress and tension in our bodies. To properly breathe, remember to breath slow deep breaths, filling your diaphragm (which is below your lungs) in through your nose and out through your mouth. You will feel the difference within moments. Remember the saying, “Take a deep breath.”? There is much truth behind it.

Take time for yourself. Find an activity that fills you. Meditation, exercise, a bath, reading, a walk, a massage, or whatever it may be. If possible try to start your day with this. Think about this, if you have your fruit bowl and it needs to nourish your family all day, and it is empty at the start of the day, how can that work? Be a full bowl of fruit. Nourish your family. We are called to have fruitful lives. By caring for ourselves first, we can give so much more. When we feel full and nourished ourselves, giving to others becomes joyous and therefore our days have a more healthy level of stress that we can use to increase our productivity and have more peace.

So remember, be joyous, breathe, and fill yourself!


Joy is very infectious; therefore, be always full of joy. -Mother Teresa

Copyright 2008 Cheryl Schell

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children’s fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa’s articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

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