Friday, May 4, 2018

Appreciation and Gratitude—Solutions for Stress

Stress is a part of life. The word is derived from the Latin word 'stringere', to draw tight. "No stress no strain no unusual moods stay loose but don't fall apart at the seems" is good advice but life has stress both the good and bad and we are not always able to distinguish.

A writer in a diocesan bulletin introduces the readers to a Nobel laureate from Canada who spent a great deal of his life making a study of stress. Dr. Hans Style defined stress as "the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change". He gave the valedictory address at Harvard and received a standing ovation. As he left the podium and on his way out a student blocked his path and asked: "Dr.  we are inundated with stress factors in our society, teach us the way to overcome the stress of life."

He returned to the microphone and answered with one word: appreciation—recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something. We can substitute the word gratitude for appreciation. Nothing  compares to the cleansing and healing properties of a thankful outlook on life.

Religious people according to our writer have a longer life span since they are thankful for what they have received. This has been proved in studies made. Efforts are made to remove the evil effects of the seven capital sins. The moment we express thanks the serotonin comes rushing into our bodies giving health.

One of the writer's friends recommended she write down 100 reasons to be thankful. In the beginning it was difficult to even list 10, she writes, but shortly she found the words coming quickly to her mind and saw it all as grace.

The French author Jules Renard who had a weak constitution would every morning on awakening give thanks. "I can see,  ears hear, my body moves, my spirit is good, thanks, life is beautiful." When I see this prayer the writer says her body wants to give  thanks. Every morning she gets up and begins to walk she is thankful.

The writer wants to change the direction of her life. She wants to be satisfied with what she has and share with others her blessings. More than asking to obtain, she wants to be thankful for what she has,  thankful for what she received from others and from God. She wants to begin to see things from God's vantage point and grow to a more mature religious life.