Friday, April 25, 2014

Put On My "Stress is My Friend" Glasses

I watched my first "TED Talk" How to Make Stress Your Friend (I know! It's amazing that I haven't watched any before now. But I'm ok with that). This was the video, and I am SO glad I watched it. She talks about her findings being "new research" and yes, perhaps this is the first academic research conducted in this way, but these studies just scientifically prove many of the concepts I've been taught my whole life. For example, our prophet, Thomas S. Monson just spoke again about how reaching out to others blesses not only them but especially us. "Love - The Essence of the Gospel"
But I had not thought of it before in connection to my stress response, so I am very thankful for that new perspective. I have also been taught through the gospel that the way we see the world and what happens to us will largely determine our happiness. For example, in The Book of Mormon, Nephi and his family went on a very difficult journey in the wilderness. They left their home and their possessions, following a commandment of God, in search of a promised land, the new world (before Jerusalem will be destroyed around 600BC). They were travelling in the wilderness 8 years. It was a long an hard journey. They went hungry, had family strife, had children in the wilderness, had no place to call home.

Nephi doesn't pretend that it was easy. He attests that, "we had suffered many aafflictions and much difficulty, yea, even so much that we cannot write them all,"

Yet, Nephi had an attitude of gratitude. He knew that stress/trials/afflictions were a part of life, our mortal journey, and he didn't see those experiences as the enemy, but as an opportunity to see the hand of God in his life, and to develop and progress. He says,"

"And we did travel and awade through much affliction in the wilderness; and our bwomen did bear children in the wilderness.
 And so great were the ablessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon braw cmeat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings. And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and astrengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did bprovide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.... [and] we were exceedingly rejoiced... "

(1 Nephi 17 Italics added)

Nephi chose to be Grateful in Any Circumstances But his older brothers, Laman and Lemuel, see their journey and all their trials as the worst ever. They saw everything with a mental filter of negativity which magnified all their sufferings. They say,

"20 And thou art like unto our father, led away by the foolishaimaginations of his heart; yea, he hath led us out of the land of Jerusalem, and we have wandered in the wilderness for these many years; and our women have toiled, being big with child; and they have borne children in the wilderness and suffered all things, save it were death; and it would have been better that they had died before they came out of Jerusalem than to have suffered these afflictions.
 21 Behold, these many years we have suffered in the wilderness, which time we might have enjoyed our possessions and the land of our inheritance; yea, and we might have been happy."
(1 Nephi 17 Italics added)

Who sounds like they were more happy? I'm going to pick Nephi. He took the same journey as his brothers, but yet because he saw his journey differently and remembered his purpose for taking his journey, he made the stress his friend. He let it help him grow. He saw it as a blessing. I want to be like him. I will try to be like him. I'm not perfect, but the cool thing is, neither was he! Yet he chose happiness, and so can I.

It's all about our perspective. Which glasses will you choose to see out of? I am going to choose the "Stress is My Friend" glasses.

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