Stress and God

Being dyslexic, I find it difficult to type at any reasonable speed. Therefore, I have relied upon text-to-speech software for many years. 

These last few months, I had to purchase a new PC as my old one was over 15 years old and not working well. 

I had text-to-speech recognition installed software on the old computer, which I use for all my writing. But, unfortunately, the software had been lost and could not be reinstalled on my new computer because it was too old for windows 11.

That is when I discovered that windows 11 has software within the package. How delighted I am to write once again with dictation, and now I’ll be able to write more personal and reflective blogs.

Stress that is Destructive

I have always found typing stressful, and text-to-speech eliminates the stress altogether. It is just like sitting down and talking to you as if you were here with me in a normal conversation. The window is 11 Software package speech-to-text, which is very accurate and ended up only taking 5 minutes to adjust to my voice.

 The software only misses some words because of my Australian accent; however, overall it is very good.

Stress is a terrible thing. But, unfortunately, one of the blights of humanity is stress. We get ‘stressed out when we don’t achieve our plans for the day, or what we think we deserve, or when things go wrong. We’re a living contradiction. We are our worst enemy, working at cross purposes against our best interest. We want meaning, purpose, and peace of mind.

 Stress may affect our mind-body-soul connection, which may cause us to be socially withdrawn. When were highly stressed it is far easier not to be in the company of others, and be with oneself with one’s own thoughts. 

This is important to be solitary from time to time; however, to make a lifestyle of it will only guarantee loneliness and despair. Sometimes we live our complete life every minute of every day under great stress that we’re so used to the feeling of struggle that we accept it as normal. 

However, it is not normal, and that is why 1 Peter 5:7 encourages us to cast everything upon him because JESUS cares for us. The as he and other passages in the Bible indicate to us that the lord does not want us to be stressed out simply because it is not typical for any of us, whether we are believers or not, to live a stressful life.    New International Version

  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 

Pleasure Relieves Stress

 Pleasure is a good thing, and we need to have some fun; however, it’s not the be-all, end-all that we imagine it to be, and we become disappointed with our life and can’t put our finger on why. But, again, it’s about expectations; we become stressed when they are unmet.

 For example, when we are having fun, and the pleasure we feel comes to an end, we want to chase after it, trying to create familiar feelings of joy. Sometimes we try to recreate experiences at a considerable cost to ourselves; we try to convert momentary pleasure into something permanent.  

When life goes wrong, we try to fix it by increasing the feel-good factor and striving to make it stay with us, but we can’t do it. So, when we are stressed, we search for ways to make ourselves happy, often unwisely.

 No matter how hard we try, we cannot make what is temporal permanent or make what is imagined real.    

We can’t get back our loved one who is gone, the job that fell through our fingers or even the children who have become adults and their lives absent from us.   

 Also, it’s worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its devastating toll, and we will never get back what we lost.  

Faith and Mindfulness

Several hundred years ago, along with other religions, Christianity began engaging the West in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.    

Although it was not named as such, that is precisely what it is; the aim, objective, and results are the same. In mindfulness practice, if one removes the idea of God, it still works. However, I prefer to still relate to God mindfully because it helps me to focus my mind, body, and spiritual person.

In its purest form, mindfulness is simply trust/faith in God’s ability to help you through whatever it is you are experiencing.   

 Faith is for the Now- Amplified Bible

 Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed) and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].

Mindfulness is also in the NOW.    It is about appreciating what is right in front of you- NOW.

And faith is trusting in God Now- not tomorrow that is hope- faith is NOW

The World Borrows God’s Ways.

Science is Good because God invented it. However, it’s such a shame that today the creator- God is taken out of the equation. The scientific evidence of the success of mindfulness in enhancing human life is overwhelming, and for those interested in their wellness, we cannot ignore it.    

Various professional disciplines and social movements, such as medicine and health care, psychology and brain science, and education at all levels, the law, business, leadership, and much more, enhance their practice by inserting mindfulness into their daily routine.

 Today’s mainstream medicine is developing an ever-growing interest in mindfulness-based intervention, such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).    

We can practice mindfulness for peace of mind and to relieve a wide range of chronic medical conditions.   

 It is much like snowmelt flowing inevitably downhill from a high mountain source, flowing around obstacles, finding many pathways under the gentle tug of gravity, and ultimately merging into significant river systems. The gravitational pull promises liberation from suffering and the potential safe harbour. 

The Whole Person

Christians often forget that we are holistic beings of mind, body and spirit, and God ministered to the whole person. Therefore, as humans, we need to prepare for spiritual awakening to embody well-being, greater wisdom, and wise action in our individual lives.

  In other words, mindfulness can become a normal and natural way to live your life, and the feeling of well-being is inevitable. Living a mindful life as Jesus Christ did would not end our frustrations but the beginning of successfully managing them. 

Jesus gave us the answer to our stress and said don’t chase after things that are here today and gone tomorrow, but rather, strive for eternal things. Eternal things are more satisfying, like top-quality peace, joy, and love, that only God can supply. Mindfulness can help us to pursue eternal things naturally and consistently by focusing on the NOW.

Trying to hold onto relationships or things that are gone will leave you stressed and keep you grieving for as long as you hold onto them. All human relationships, albeit long-term, are temporal and subject to the joys and pains of this life; our lives are so fragile and short. 

  The only permanent relationship that is forever is a relationship with God offered to us through Jesus Christ.  

In my work, I aim to empower others with education and motivation to help them make a purposeful and happy life in Jesus’s love.    

In addition, I enjoy helping you to set holistic wellness goals and provide resources, helping you determine which changes would make the most significant impact on your life.

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 Paula Rose Parish💕

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#99 Conquer the Fear – Trust God and Fulfill Your Dreams!

Available on Amazon

As you know, last year I wrote 2 books that are available on Amazon and scheduled to write another this year.  Starting a new book is far more complex than one would think. With each book, I found that getting in the flow is difficult. However, once that flow begins its like sailing happily downstream. I am dyslexic, so writing for me is a mixed bag. It’s both pleasurable and painful. I pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give me ideas. It may take a little time and starts with a trickle, but then they flow through my brain like fast-flowing water in a river.

The problem is that I need to capture the ideas before they float out of sight. It’s capturing the ideas that are the hard part. Writing them down in some semblance of order is even more challenging. I have toyed with many ideas for my next book for months, but fear has prevented me from making a start. God supplies the ideas, then it’s my task to put them too good use. There’s no point in praying and receiving ideas and doing nothing about them, is there? 

Sometime ago I made a video for my YouTube channel ‘The Christian Lifestyle Channel’ about setting goals. In that video, I share how, as believers, we can tend to leave ‘everything up to God’ then we sit back and do nothing. In sitting back, we think we are being faithful and relying on God. However, we need to understand that Jesus taught us that we are co-workers with him. God, the Holy Spirit, supplies the ideas and the strength and understanding. We need to put all of that together into action. We need to start somewhere. If we don’t begin somewhere, we end up nowhere. 

I have a routine when I do morning pages. The ideas i from Julia Cameron who wrote ‘The Artist Way’. I read through the artist way for guidance and then i write my morning pages. This give me inspiration and semablec eof though helping me to over comes my fear of writing.

In the Artist Way, Julia points out that ‘God will take care of the quality if we supply the quality’.

This is a pulled idea from the Bible which teaches that we work together with Christ in this world to build his kingdom on earth. Sitting back on our laurels is not the luxury we have. If you are a kingdom builder- you need to do just that- BUILD!

When building a house the bricks, mortar and all the other materials and tools that are you needed must be available for you to use, otherwise you can not build the house. Tools are useless unless you use them. Often we take our un-used spiritual tools to polish them, admire them, and carefully put them back into our toolbox for another day. In the meantime, you are not building the kingdom, you are starting nowhere, and the reality is that if you continue, you will end up no-where ! 

Some people think it’s being ‘spiritual’ to wait on God- and to wait on God- and to wait on God (whew!) years pass, and they are still waiting on God! The only result is that we get thoroughly worn out in our waiting. We misinterpret what waiting is, and in all our waiting- we end up being redundant in the kingdom. 

I am talking to myself as much as I am talking to you about this. Don’t let fear dictate your goals, today, I began somewhere to plan my next book. I seriously began. I set up a particular process folder, outlined my chapters and researched different cover designs. Writing this post is giving me accountability because now I have shared this with you, I need to continue to move forward in the book writing process. Then I can continue to share with you what I am doing in my life authentically. 

I am in the last part of my life, and due to circumstances that I will share with you at another time, I had to reinvent myself. Part of the reinvention is becoming an author. I learnt a very long time ago that life is for living, not for just existing. Jesus promises us abundant life and calls us to build his kingdom, and it’s up to us to put it into action. So I encourage you, don’t let fear dictate what you will do and what you will not. Follow your dreams by overcoming you fear and trusting in the ONE who supplies all the tools you need.

I hope my sharing has been of help to you and I wonder, what will you do with your visions and dreams? Will you let them float forever in the forgotten realms in your head, or will you begin somewhere, will you begin now? Let me know where you are in achieving your Goals,

Until next time- Live Life on Purpose in Hope. Faith. Love

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How I started Journaling Mindfully and the struggles I encountered -Part One

Being Mindful means being more intentional in your choices to good mindfulness habits. As I have pointed out in my past blogs, there are also many additional physical and emotional benefits to a  Mindfulness practices

 Mindfulness practices have been researched extensively and shown to: 

· Decrease stress by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol. 

· Reduce rumination and overthinking. 

· Help maintains owering levels of the stress . Improve relationship happiness. (Yaaa)

· Improve memory, concentration, and performance. 

· Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Improve sleep. (nite, nite)

· Just as exercise habits will change your body, mindfulness habits will literally reshape your mind. (renews your mind)

· Protects against mental illness and provides natural pain relief. 

· With the repetition and consistency, mindfulness creates changes in your brain function and structure. (always a plus)

Probably one of the easiest ways to start your Mindfulness journey is through journaling. The act of reflective journaling is a way of practising Mindfulness, and It is Free!

 Mindfulness journaling is used as an intervention method because it lowers depressive symptoms, anxiety and overwhelm. Mindfulness is so easy to implement. It can be practised anywhere, and only requires your time and consistency.

Despite the ease of implementing Mindfulness, like any new habit, it can be overwhelming for beginners. Where should you start? Should you implement a daily meditation session, mindful eating, mindful exercise, or mindful walking? The answer is you should start small, with one thing at a time. Then when it becomes a Well Habit, you can move to the next thing.

In this post, I share with you how and why I started with reflective mindful journaling, and how I struggled with it at first. This is not about journaling for organising but for self awareness. This is not the whole story but a snippet from my new book about Holistic Living, which features Mindfulness and issues around mental health. I am in the process of writing it. It will be published and made available to you later in the year – so keep a lookout for that! If you struggle to make self-care a priority or do not know how to start your mindfulness journey, check out my course, which will be available in the Summer of 2021- subscribe free to this blog to get updates on this! Maybe you are at the beginning to start a habit. Regardless of where you are on your journey, I hope you will find something useful here- if so, please let me know down in the comments. 

My Struggles

I have been on this planet for a long time now in my 66 years of life. Like you dear reader, I have experienced trauma, joys and much sorrow. I am also very dyslexic, so I shied away from anything to do with writing as much I could. Through the years, I tried journaling but never was consistent with it. Due to my dyslexia, writing caused me GREAT anxiety and overwhelm. So, I would abort my efforts only after a few weeks.

Then I discovered Mindfulness, and everything changed for me. All my life, I have enjoyed practising holistic living but never really ventured into mindfulness territory. I was always busy, busy, busy, and stopping to be mindful of what I was doing seemed almost a waste of my time. 

Then one day, I escaped a very abusive marriage which caused me to be physically ill, developing bodily weakness and I became susceptible to colds and flu. The lifestyle of abuse I was under wreaked my immune system, making me feel like an old lady before my time – not only in my body but in my mind as well. I spend over a year with women’s aid and had weekly counselling. I was still working full time, and no one knew what I was going through. I am the ‘stiff upper lip type of person, which has served me well because I ‘just got on with things’ despite the circumstances. However, although I didn’t want to let that go of my stiff upper lip attitude, I had to acknowledge that being busy, busy, busy, was hindering my recovery.

Then I had an accident that ripped my shoulder, and two of the main tendons snapped. I lost the use of my arm for three months. The divorce went through, now living alone, I was trying to manage one-handed which was not easy. I prayed and cried and repeated that – a lot! I didn’t have a strategy for recovery, I was becoming an invalid and thought of taking early retirement. I lamented about my situation as I crawled up the stairs on my hands and knees. I was so weak. Of course, my tendency to ‘get on with it’ kicked in. I couldn’t allow my life to down the gurgler- or my Lord Jesus would not allow that to happen either. So, I accepted that I had to slow down. I had physically slowed down because I lost the use of my arm. I could not drive and took over 3 months off work. However, my mind was still in work mode; it had not slowed me down permanently at all. So, I surfed the web, bought books to study, researched the mind and its workings, and discovered Mindfulness. From then on, I began to practise mindful journaling and approached everything I did intentionally, including my faith. But it didn’t last. I could not grasp ‘the mindful thing’, and as my shoulder healed, I began to drive again and returned to work.

Then- 

That very same year, I was involved in two car accidents. Neither of them were my fault- thankfully! The first one happened when a bike slammed into the passage side of my car, causing me whiplash and many emotional and financial problems, which added to the trauma. It wiped out the whole side of my car, which was in the workshop for 10 days. After I got my car back, then only three days later, I was sitting at a 6-way roundabout ready to enter the motorway – WHEN – bammm!!!!

A humungous lorry slammed into the back of my newly repaired car- wiping out the back end, sending me into shock! The driver said he didn’t see me- (I didn’t believe it). Everyone was stopped, including me as we gave way to our right, and the guy didn’t see me! Anyway, my car ended up in the same shop, and I then became very ill.

 I obviously didn’t the message slowing down message through my head. Was this God speaking to me? Who knows, This situation was was what caused me to make a vow to myself and God, to slow down physically and mentally (after all I was no spring chicken any more). I asked God to help me to get a grip on this mindfulness thing because I knew that this would be my way to the lasting healing of life.

 So over time, with starts and stops, I began reflective journaling. I did it for six months straight – Amazing! I would sit down at 6am, with coffee in hand and pray, read scripture and then journal. I enjoy it, I found it helped me to get out of bed, looking forward to putting pen to paper. Its was a struggle, but happily I can tell you that the habit continues till today. the journaling habit gave me the confidence to write two books during the COVID lockdown, and I regularly write blog posts, one of which you are reading.

Well, dear reader, this is part of my mindfulness journey, I hope you enjoyed it and was of some help to you. My next post is part two; lookout for that. In that post, I will outline a few basic steps to get you started on your mindfulness journaling journey.

If you are struggling as I have, you’re in good company – just keep going!

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Paula Rose Parish