New year, new start, new business, new nerves. Being scared is just an extension of fear that we allow to get the better of us. I came across this lovely phrase; 

‘Courage is fear that has said its prayers’ – Richard Montanari

Courage is defined as ‘a quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty’. It can be divided into 4 types:

  • Moral; the courage to stand up for what you believe in.
  • Intellectual; the courage to challenge old concepts and to act upon new ideas.
  • Disciplined; the courage to focus despite distractions.
  • Empathetic; the courage to feel and care for others above your own biases. 

Courage facilitates a person to work wholly, from the head, heart, and gut, for the greater good.

‘In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.’ – Lewis Carroll 

Ways to show everyday courage:

  • Say ‘no’ – Putting yourself first occasionally is healthy, lowering stress and anxiety.
  • Ask – Speak out, ask for things that you need because others might not realise that you need help and may surprise you.
  • Love – Be brave with your emotions, it might be reciprocated. 
  • Let go – Holding onto pain is toxic to the mind and body, don’t let pain be part of your identity or hold you back.
  • Be you – Defy the norm, try something new, and listen to your heart.

A little daily stress is fine but the long-term effects of stress on the body include:

  • Feeling easily agitated, frustrated, moody, overwhelmed, fatigued, and anxious.
  • Forgetfulness, inability to focus, poor judgement, pessimistic.
  • Suffer with low self-esteem, depression, and nervousness.
  • Avoiding others and responsibilities.
  • Headaches, chest pain, rapid heartrate, high blood pressure, ulcers, stroke.
  • Tense muscles, unable to relax, insomnia.
  • Frequent colds and infections.
  • Exhibit poor appetite, nervous behaviours such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing.
  • Poor skin such as psoriasis and eczema, also hair loss. 

If you are suffering with stress please see your doctor, who can evaluate the symptoms and recommend the best course of action for you. 

Massage effectively reduces stress by initiating relaxation, which is an involuntary response of the nervous system. The heart-rate slows and breathing deepens, which lowers blood pressure and decreases the production of cortisol (the stress hormone). Muscles are then able to relax, and the body promotes an increase in serotonin (the happy hormone).

A tip for at home to relieve anxiety is to sit comfortably, close your eyes, touch the spot between your eyebrows and apply a firm pressure in a circular motion for 5 minutes, breathe slowly and deeply while you do this. 

Remember sometimes a mistake is a good thing and can bring some happiness. Here are some bloopers found in actual church bulletins (taken from Chicken Soup for the Soul):

  • The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind, and they can be seen in the church basement Friday afternoon. 
  • There is a collection to repair the church carpet. All those wishing to do something on the carpet will please come forward to get a piece of paper.
  • Potluck supper: prayer and medication to follow.

We have been given a spirit not of fear but of power and love, which will support each of us through the difficult decisions, guiding us to do what is right for us; just believe in yourself – and say your prayers!

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