Stressful days inevitably lead to sleepless nights

Stress is something that kind of sneaks up on a person. As a senior citizen, I wonder why I should feel the twinge of stress. I am pretty much able to take care of myself, and while I may have some normal everyday ups and downs, there seems to be nothing too major.

I always know when stress is a factor in my life. In my busy days and weeks, I normally am tired and sleep well. However, when I notice that I have trouble falling asleep, or wake up extra early in the morning, that means stress.

It may take me a few days to think about what is causing my sleeplessness, but soon the word “stress” pops into my head. Next, I have to figure out what is the cause. Am I worried about myself? Are there too many demands on my time? Am I worried about a friend, or am I worried about a family member?

At that point, I need to get myself in hand. If it is some situation in my life that is stressing me out, then I need to change what I am doing or how I am handling it mentally. I will admit that writing a column can be stressful at times. Most weeks I have multiple ideas for what to write about, and other weeks, I am stumped. For now, that is not the reason of my stress; rather it’s the reason I am stumped on a topic.

I did a short Google search on the subject of stress, and it notes that stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life. It comes from our lifestyles, our bodies and our thoughts.

It adds that stress is essential for survival; the chemicals it triggers help the body prepare to face danger and cope with difficulty. However, long-term stress can be detrimental to one’s health.

It does not seem to matter what your age or gender is, stress seems to be part of our everyday life. So, at least for me, I need to look for ways to reduce the load of care. I say I need to do this, because I know that stress is not good for me, nor do I enjoy feeling jittery and out of sorts. To emphasize that, the Google printout shows a long line of physical ailments that result from long-term stress.

It is times like these that I work hard on calming my thoughts. The Serenity Prayer becomes forefront in my mind. It reads like this: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”

This prayer and other readings can help me get back my perspective. For this prayer alone tells me that I do not have the power to change certain things, people or places. It tells me to have courage to try to change the things I can, but to make these decisions with wisdom. It tells me to help sometimes, but not to meddle.

When my phone rings in the wee hours of the morning, the stress begins as my arm is trying to reach the phone. My mind is already racing as to what the problem is now. I am grateful it does not happen very often.

That was the advent of this latest session of stress. I am at work calming myself.

Many Bible readings help me to know that God is always with me. Psalm 139:23-24 says: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

For your information: The Google research advocates seeking a medical professional if you have feelings of panic; you are unable to work or function at home or your job; you have fears you can’t control; you are having memories of a traumatic event. Call a suicide hotline if you have thoughts of suicide.

Tigerton resident Leah Lehman, who calls herself a “small town country girl at heart,” offers memories of the past and observations of current events from the the viewpoint of someone born in the 1940s.