WELL-BEING By Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit (The Philippine Star) Updated April 13, 2010 12:00 AM
tress or tension is the absence of faith and so, to remove it, all you have to do is increase your faith,” says Rhonda Byrne of The Secret franchise. Those words created much impact on me as I felt mounting stress a week before our family vacation.
If you really think about it, Rhonda is perfectly correct in saying that. We feel mostly stressed when we do not seem to be in control. And yes, while we do feel swamped with a lot of things that are not under our control, there is a God who is in fact the Master of everything.
Daily exposure to little stresses that pile up and take consistent soft jabs at our health leads to a lot of illnesses, decreases our immunity, and even makes our waistline bigger. According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic stress is a result of long-term exposure to acute stress brought about by nagging day-to-day situations that seem unrelenting, such as relationship problems, work difficulties, and financial woes.
They further said that while mild stress can actually be beneficial in motivating and energizing us into action, the buildup of little things is really what stresses us out. Persistent stress, they warned, can lead to health problems such as headache and fatigue, poor concentration, depression, irritability, resentment, and isolation.
Understand Your Stressor
Like a nagging allergy, medicine may be able to tame the symptoms but not manage the disease altogether if you do not know what you are allergic to. The same goes for stress, you have to identify what really exasperates you.
Mayo classified stressors into external and internal. The external ones include major life changes, which can be either negative such as the death of a spouse or divorce or positive such as marriage or a promotion. They also took note of environmental stressors such as excessive noise or extreme brightness, unpredictable events such as calamities or a pay cut or those related to family (a nagging mother-in-law or a stubborn teenager), workplace (an impossible boss) or social (a blind date).
There are also internal triggers such as feelings and thoughts that cause us unrest. These include fears and apprehensions, uncertainties, negative attitudes, and unrealistic expectations stemming from a perfectionist or controlling personality.
If you have read or seen Byrne’s The Secret, you understand that any negative thought or attitude blocks the manifestation of the good that you want or are hoping for. Having said that, a negative disposition will continue to be negative as disappointments, rather than pleasant surprises, will keep on appearing in your life due to your attitude.
Where Faith Matters
Stress like tax is here to stay, we cannot escape it, but we can learn to manage it and cope with it.
According to Mayo, spirituality helps in managing stress because it makes you focus on what is most meaningful in your life (eliminating the non-essentials which most of the time cause stress). Faith also leads to valuable inner peace during difficult times as it elevates you to a purpose in life. Faith also allows you to surrender and release control as well as expect great things to happen.
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AT a recent national congress of the Italian Catholic Press Union, the Holy Father noted the tremendous changes that have taken place in many things half a century after the group was founded. The changes have been “more visible in areas ranging from science to technology and from economy to geopolitics” but “less perceptible but deeper, and more worrying, in the field of modern culture, in which respect for the dignity of the individual seems to have notably diminished, along with a sense of such values as justice, freedom, and solidarity, which are so essential for the survival of society,” Pope Benedict XVI said. He urged Catholic journalists, in particular, to observe greater professionalism and to dialogue with the “lay” world in the search for shared values.
Journalists bear the responsibility of delivering news objectively and clearly to their listeners, readers, and viewers. They are capable of shaping public opinion, mobilizing people for a cause, and forging unity and solidarity. However, in order to maintain credibility and integrity in their profession, they must ensure that their own life is coherent and their values well-grounded and anchored on Christian teachings.
In the process of reporting news, unraveling truth, advocating justice, and safeguarding democratic processes, journalists also infuse moral standards, principles, and values in their varied audiences. For this reason, they are urged to anchor their own beliefs and values on faith.
Their tasks may prove to be demanding “in which spaces of freedom are often under threat” but for many journalists, the spirit of service and the criterion of the common good always takes precedence over other things, even to the extent of making personal sacrifices. Despite the staggering risks that they have to confront and obstacles to truth that they have to hurdle, it is consoling to know that many of our journalists do not compromise their principle for the common good and faithfully adhere to the dictum that “serenity of conscience is priceless.”
Opinion and Editorial