3 September 2020
Causes and cure of stress
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord for ever … Isaiah 26: 3–4
As we seek to help people, all the demands of professional life can easily sap our vitality. Patients may be nervy, demanding or uncooperative, and long working hours add to the pressure, physically and emotionally. Exposure to human suffering may drain us, leading to anxiety symptoms such as migraine, sleep loss, stomach ulcers and even to suicide. Added pressure comes if our treatment is less successful than we’d hoped, or relationships break down with colleagues and staff. Life can become a constant battleground. Anger, envy and bitterness can start to fester, or imagination takes over with its ‘What if …?’Ninety-nine per cent of our worries never happen!
There are practical steps we can take to overcome daily strain, such as whenever possible getting more sleep and exercise. On the job, seniors should learn the art of delegation, first teaching how the jobs should be done before allotting them. However, the important factor in determining our feelings is
not our circumstances themselves but the way we react to them.
Speculating on what might have been is futile and selfdefeating. We may worry about mistakes in the past, reliving things which we wish we’d done differently. ‘If only …’ cannot alter things as they are. For Christians, the wonderful good news is that God is willing to forgive the guilty past, give us strength for the stressful present and give us peace for the uncertain future.

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Reinhold Niebuhr

Read: 2 Corinthians 11: 23–28; 1 Peter 5: 7.