We live in an unprecedented time with stress reining uppermost in our hearts and minds. From work, health problems, financial crisis, children, and family, our daily stressful lives feel like an endless cycle of worries.
How do we manage all this stress?
To know how to manage stress, we need to be able to recognize its triggers and causes.
There are two crucial things we need to focus on first:
1. Monitoring our inner self, and,
2. Keeping our minds healthy.
Monitoring Our Inner Self
Amid the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, how many times do we stop and ponder over, giving our prayer its due time, or remember Allah the Almighty mindfully?
Our souls need to have oxygen to stay alive, just like the body. The oxygen of the soul is the remembrance of Almighty Allah.
Stress resides in us when we deprive our souls of remembrance of our Creator. And the best form of remembrance is prayer. When we fail to offer our daily prayers properly, we deprive our hearts of spiritual oxygen. Why would we willfully choose to do that?
Keep the Mind Healthy
You are what you think! If you focus on good things, then your mind gets used to thinking about good things. If you focus on negative things, your mind grows accustomed to negativity. Our thoughts forcefully impact our attitudes in life.
Shift the Focus
Shifting the focus is another key to managing stress.
What does shifting the focus mean?
It can be a mental exercise to pinpoint your focal point. Some being able to target your focal point is the missing link, focusing on the dark side, or pain.
This exercise leads to the practice of gratitude. Allah the Almighty says:
If you are grateful, I will increase you. (Quran 14:7)
With the hardship comes ease. (Quran 94:5)
With any hardship you experience, Allah the Almighty gives you ease at the same time. He never gives us difficulty and struggles without relief.
Our past often holds painful elements that affect our ability to move forward.
Instead of trying to numb the pain, try to address the wounds and move on. Part of the healing is to deal with the pain itself. Carry on in a new way despite the challenges.
To keep our hearts healthy, we have to be mindful of what we are taking in. When we saturate our minds with matters that cause us to experience spiritual illness, like negative news on social media, it can be equivalent to sipping poison. Remember, your surroundings affect your heart.
Keeping your environment healthy as much as possible will play a significant role in minimizing stress.
Studies have found that to increase happiness and well-being is to be in the service of others.
How do we improve the quality of our lives?
One of the most effective ways to soften our hearts is helping others.
Let Go of the Myth of Perfection
The myth of being perfect is crippling us. Believing that we are supposed to be perfect can lead to a sense of despair, causing us to slip or commit a sin.
Allah the Almighty and His messenger never taught or expected us to be perfect. Islam teaches that the best of us are not those who never commit sins, but those who repent and get back up when they fall.
No one is supposed to be perfect. Allah the Almighty wants does not want us to give up hope but to continue moving forward.
Center of Gravity
Sometimes we take people or things and make them the center of our lives.
When we allow the wrong things to take priority in our lives and our existence to revolve around those people or things, the result is suffering.
Taking status, wealth, children, or power as the center of our existence – that place is intended only for God – causes pain and suffering.
Sometimes the stress we feel demands making changes in our life circumstances. We have to look at our lives and see what is going wrong and try to correct our course.
Managing stress is hard for many, but we hope these tips can at least help minimize whatever is wreaking havoc in your life today.
Reflections based on the following video.