YOU know the time. You’re feeling footloose and fancy-free, with tender equilibrium, and then, without warning, a flood of things comes your way to do, or some emotion-initiating event happens, and you’re undone in a flash. Or, perhaps you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed or anxious at the mere thought of the unknown coming at you. Maybe you can’t enjoy the good moments for the fear it won’t last. Could be you’re just exhausted.
Welcome to the club!
A recent study  revealed that 93.2 percent of African-American men (out of 295 studied) found seven factors significantly stressful: issues related to personal finances, personal health, family, healthy lifestyle, health of others close to you, workplace, and relationships in general. Added to this, the fear of missing out was a significant stressor for those aged under 40.
There are two ways of looking at reducing everyday stress:
1. Acceptance of those matters that cannot be changed.
2. Courage to challenge and shift what can be changed.
Here are three steps to reducing your everyday stress:
1. Accept the things you cannot change – some things like low income, the health of others, some relationships, and family (to some extent) we simply cannot influence. Make a list of the things you cannot change and agree with yourself to stop stressing about them. (Regularly praying the prayer at the bottom of this article will help.)
2. Change the things you can – budgeting, personal lifestyle, and some relationships you can impact. Again, make a list of the issues of stress you face that you can influence. Develop strategies to instil change. Of all things, we find hard it’s developing new habits. Persevere and results do come.
3. Discern the difference between things that cannot and can be changed – wisdom is so important for managing stress and the keeping of perspective in life.
Praying this prayer – The Serenity Prayer – on a regular basis will help reduce stress:
God, help me to accept the things I cannot change, give me the courage to change the things I can, and grant me the wisdom to discern the difference. Amen.
Faith in God through Jesus Christ helps mobilize such a prayer of wisdom, bringing its fruit into our lives even as we pray and apply it.
Steve Wickham is a writer who holds degrees in Science, Divinity, and Counseling.
Note: 1. Perceived Sources of Stress and Resilience in Men in an African-American Community by Bowen Chung, MD, Marcia Meldrum, PhD, Felica Jones, Anthony Brown, Rasudaan Daaood, and Loretta Jones
Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
Volume 8, Issue 4, Winter 2014 pp. 441-451