Stress, Headaches, and Relief

by Joan C Webb on July 26, 2012

According to the National Headache Foundation more than 45 million Americans suffer from various types of recurring headaches. Reports show that the majority of these headaches are tension related. The NHF suggests that “learning to live one day at a time” may relieve anxiety that contributes to the pain and inconvenience of muscle-contraction headaches.

Long before this admonition appeared on NHF’s “52 Ways to Reduce Stress” list, Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Today has enough dilemmas. Learn to face life one day at a time.”  (Joan’s paraphrase of Matthew 6:34!)

This advice is difficult for some of us to follow. After spending today making big plans for tomorrow, we then worry that something might go haywire. We pray for direction with a choice, and then worry we made the wrong decision. We advise others (whether they ask for it or not) and then worry that they won’t heed our counsel. Persistent worry becomes a pain in the neck…literally. 

Yet with God’s help we can learn to focus less on tomorrow’s “what-ifs”  and more on doing the best we can at the current moment. Then our muscles can relax and we can breathe deeper, reducing our worry-related pain and tension.

Fact is: The elimination of all stress is impossible in this imperfect world. AND I find it encouraging that practicing “living one day at a time” can alleviate unnecessary anxiety in my life. What about you?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Joan C. Webb August 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm

If you’re reading this blog post, I’d love your input. What do you do to reduce your stress levels and alleviate your muscle-tension type headaches?

tentmaker August 5, 2012 at 4:08 am

usually i dont have headaches but feeling very weak, restless and needy. at my work i have to plan for several days ahead, so it’s not possible not to worry about tomorrow at all. but it’s possible to see when i have times during the days to think about my tasks for tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and so on, so that i know i will have that time and i dont have to deal with the whole week just right now. does it make sense? and making sure i dont work and just choose not to think about problems at work, when i’m having one precious weekend :D i’m not always good at it though
also when its possible i try to think of the upcoming changes and challenges as fun not as hard work and trouble.

Joan C. Webb August 6, 2012 at 4:52 am

Hi Tentmaker!
Good to hear from you. Yes, I understand the need to plan ahead at work and in life. Many Bible verses and stories mention the “wise-ness” of planning ahead. For me, I’ve found there is a difference between planning/ reviewing/strategizing and worrying or over-thinking the “what-ifs” needlessly in my mind. And sometimes I don’t do such a good job of figuring out the difference!
I love your ideas about structuring time to deal with the future plans, so you can then set it aside and move on what is happening now.
And congratulations on leaving work stuff at work and enjoying “one precious weekend.” (And by the way, it is entirely okay to do that imperfectly! :-)
I smiled when I read your choice to think of upcoming changes/challenges as fun and not as “hard work of trouble.” Love that!

bauerchiropractic October 12, 2012 at 1:47 am

It’s arduous to seek out knowledgeable people on this matter, but you sound like you already know what you’re talking about! Thanks

Joan C. Webb October 12, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Thank you, Bauer Chiropractic! I appreciate your affirmation. Are you in Wisc?
Blessings to you as you work with your clients. I’m sure many have been helped.

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