“They reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end . . .” Psalm 107:27. Have you ever felt this way? What should we do in times of great distress? If you’re like me, you run to the pantry where the chocolate stash is. Then, after you’ve eaten every bite of the stuff, you remember to pray. That’s when I get to verses 28 and 29, ” . . . they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm so that the waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven.”
Seriously, I do find myself wanting to eat comfort food in times of stress. The first thing that comes to my mind is chocolate, but it might be chicken and dumplings for you. Or maybe you don’t think of food, but watching a whole season of your favorite TV show in one sitting is your stress-buster. Most of us probably don’t think about the need to eat right and get exercise when all we can focus on is The Event (whatever has us stressed). We usually do something that disengages us from reality for a while.
Our bodies need us to take extra good care of them during times like these because our immune system is compromised by stress. It becomes doubly important to fill up on fresh vegetables and fruits. And it is crucial to avoid sugar because free radicals are energized by it. Exercise, because it releases endorhins–the feel-good hormones–is ideal for relieving stress. My dad was a psychologist, and he used to counsel his angry clients to beat a pillow with a tennis raquet if they couldn’t get to the gym or outside for a run. He knew the value of any kind of endorphin-producing physical activity.
The next time a deadline looms or you get bad news, or you have more month left at the end of the money, run for the crisper drawer. Your body will thank you. And I’ll see you later. I need to go for a walk.
How do you handle stress? Does it consume you? Do you have effective coping strategies? Is there a Bible verse that speaks to you about how to handle stress?