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Author Topic: Stress and Religion  (Read 1939 times)

Star

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Stress and Religion
« on: July 04, 2011, 08:58:09 pm »
Here's what I told Sage I was thinking about in another thread (the next two paragraphs are a direct copy/paste):

...how stress and your religious life interact--do you find religion helps you to get through crushingly stressful times, and if so how, and does it ever seem more of a negative thing (one more thing to do, one more thing to try to keep track of, etc.), and how you cope with trying to keep a healthy religious practice going when highly stressed.

Because, um, that's kind of where I'm at right now.  I'm struggling with... stress, or at least that's what I'm blaming it on for the moment... and finding that there's just so much crap in my head right now that stuff gets pushed out.  And religion is some of what's falling out.  I just totally space even looking at the religious calendar to see what's coming up, much less doing anything about it.  I don't like it, but I don't know what to do about it either.

A little clarification:  This is different from the thread she started because I'm asking less about how stress affects your spirituality and more about kind of the inverse, how religion affects (or can be used to affect) your stress levels.  If that makes sense.  Also, despite the second paragraph there, I'm not really looking for personal advice; I'm just looking to start some discussion on something that I'm sure many of us have dealt with.  I hope to get something out of the discussion, obviously, but this isn't meant as a "please help me personally" post.  :)
"The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced."
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Micheál

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Re: Stress and Religion
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2011, 01:01:43 am »
Quote from: Star;1057
...how stress and your religious life interact--do you find religion helps you to get through crushingly stressful times, and if so how, and does it ever seem more of a negative thing (one more thing to do, one more thing to try to keep track of, etc.), and how you cope with trying to keep a healthy religious practice going when highly stressed.
I guess I fit the stereotypical Virgo mould of being a worrier. I have no problem getting through stress& pressure, but it can affect my sleep patterns, blood pressure, and people can really sense it off of me. It interacts with my spiritual life in two ways.

 I often find that I succumb to stress more if I neglect daily exercises, so daily practices like meditations, and banishing rituals really do keep me grounded. On the other hand, I've found that being married, working full time, and getting involved in too many hobbies contribute to my feeling of lacking time accomplish what I set out to. Therefore I have to sacrifice in other areas to make time, which affects things like my sleep schedule again, which affects my immune system,contributes to stress, and all that. Sometimes religious events and circles I'm involved with occur very close together, so I push myself to make sure I have rites&lines memorised and such. Also I do have to travel a bit bit for my spiritual endeavours, which takes a fair bit of planning and sacrifice to make sure I don't put myself in financial strain, and yet not take away from the ability to do things around the house, or quality time out with my wife.

It's hard having a happy medium, but it's out there somewhere. I've definitely found I can't procrastinate anything, because that's when slip ups occur.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 01:03:11 am by Micheál »

HeartShadow

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Re: Stress and Religion
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2011, 08:27:23 am »
Quote from: Star;1057


 
I go short-term.  This is what must be done today, these are the things that must be done before X - and after-X doesn't even EXIST until I get past X.  Then I go for the next big thing.

When things calm down I try to pick my head back up a bit and look further forwards, but when it's bad?  Today.  I'll worry about tomorrow when it gets here.

Devo

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Re: Stress and Religion
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2011, 11:14:23 am »
Quote from: Star;1057


Because, um, that's kind of where I'm at right now.  I'm struggling with... stress, or at least that's what I'm blaming it on for the moment... and finding that there's just so much crap in my head right now that stuff gets pushed out.  And religion is some of what's falling out.  I just totally space even looking at the religious calendar to see what's coming up, much less doing anything about it.  I don't like it, but I don't know what to do about it either.


I find that my religion and stress vary from time to time. Sometimes, religion helps me to get through difficult times. Sometimes, the gods will say something in shrine that just makes it all seem better. But then there are other times when I'm so stressed, there is no way to hear or connect to them- and so it becomes a burden. If I'm feeling that cut off, I normally take a week or two off, and get myself recollected and back together before coming back to shrine. I find that that can help.

So I would say that religion helps stress to a point. After I've crossed that point, I just need to take a break from as much as I can for a bit to less the stress out.

-Devo
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Sage

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Re: Stress and Religion
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2011, 11:26:10 am »
Quote from: Star;1057

Because, um, that's kind of where I'm at right now.  I'm struggling with... stress, or at least that's what I'm blaming it on for the moment... and finding that there's just so much crap in my head right now that stuff gets pushed out.  And religion is some of what's falling out.  I just totally space even looking at the religious calendar to see what's coming up, much less doing anything about it.  I don't like it, but I don't know what to do about it either.

 
Changing the attitude with which I approach my religious habits can alter my stress level tremendously. I was raised in an environment where religion and guilt were very much intertwined (how dare you daydream in church, why are you reading those stupid fantasy books instead of THE BIBLE, why didn't you tell your science teacher you believed in God, etc). It's easy for some of those tendencies to show up now, even when I don't believe for a second that the gods I work with want to guilt me into anything.

Lighting a candle for Brighid isn't something I should do, in the sense I collect extra special merit points for being More Holier Than Thou. It's something I do for myself. It keeps the relationship going. It's a few minutes in the day where I can focus on something besides stress/depression/work/assholes in class I want to punt through the window. It's something I do because I like Brighid and She likes me, and honoring our connection feels good and right. But sometimes I'll get so stressed out if I slip up that I feel like I've failed utterly and forever. (If you can't do something perfect, don't do it at all. Yeah. Working on that.)
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

-Canticle of Trials 1:10

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Vella Malachite

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Re: Stress and Religion
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2011, 02:46:24 am »
Quote from: Devo;1299
I find that my religion and stress vary from time to time. Sometimes, religion helps me to get through difficult times. Sometimes, the gods will say something in shrine that just makes it all seem better. But then there are other times when I'm so stressed, there is no way to hear or connect to them- and so it becomes a burden.


That is pretty much precisely my experience.  When I get really stressed, I tend to focus down and only do what I need to to get through the stressful period.  Occasionally, I talk to my deities and ask for help and such, but frequently, I just put it all off until later.  I really need to stop doing it.  Speaking with Them really alleviates stress.
The human brain is an amazing thing: it works twenty-four hours a day, every day from before we are born - except when we take exams.
If everything\'s under control, you\'re going too slowly.

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