Many people love this time of year, especially the lights, carols and friendliness. But some feel only stress – financial, with holiday overspending, or feelings of too much to do – shopping, decorating and entertaining. Others find it isn’t easy to spend time with relatives.
To many, the holidays are nothing more than an endangerment to their health, both physically and psychologically – a season of feeling “stressed out.”
However, there is a growing body of research that suggests that prayer can be a help in “stressbusting.” Dr. Roberta Lee, writes in her book, The SuperStress Solution, that people are using their spirituality to cope with life. She wrote, “They’re better able to cope with stress, they heal faster from illness, and they experience increased benefits to their health and well-being. On an intellectual level, spirituality connects you to the world, which in turn enables you to stop trying to control things all by yourself.”
I have found this true in my life. Having worked long hours in busy retail stores during the Christmas season, I know the pressures associated with the holidays. But I also know that prayer can lift those burdens by helping us to realize that there is a loving power, greater than ourselves, willing and able to give us the intelligence, equilibrium and grace to get through any frustrations or pressures we may face.
I remember one year when I worked for a large florist. The hours were quite long, the orders were overwhelming, and it was very cold. One afternoon, out on a delivery-run, I had to leave some of the packages at neighbors’ houses because no one was home at the recipient’s addresses. One neighbor cried, another yelled at me, and at one home, a dog bit me! I was stressed, the people I met were stressed, and even that dog was stressed!
That night, I prayed. I decided that no matter who I met, I would smile and be joyful. And I did. The results were good, and showed me that prayer can help. I was no longer tired at work. I felt great and had no more bad experiences.
As we make our holiday “to do” lists, we can include prayer for ourselves, family and friends. This has great potential to relieve stress and allow us all to have a healthier, happier holiday season.