How I Perceive and Respond to Stress

By David Runyon, Executive Director

Everyone deals with stress in different ways. As Executive Director of Helping Services, I have experienced many periods of intense stress. These have included times of long hours with too many tasks, uncertain funding, personnel concerns, service delivery issues, and much more. That said, I can think of only a few events that left me feeling distressed. Mostly, I experience stress as an opportunity and challenge which leads to an energizing and positive experience.

Among staff, these times have often led to amazing periods of creativity—a kind of stepping up to the plate and hitting a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to win the game! I don’t want to be Pollyanna-ish about stress because it does overwhelm us at times and can lead to serious health problems. Those times I felt distress were difficult. I do think, though, that our perspective can shape the way we respond to the intense and unexpected, the too many demands, and the lack of time to care for ourselves and loved ones.

My personal strategies for responding to stress include embracing it, disengaging from it—even for a short time—exercising, sleeping, eating well, reading, and maintaining a regular time of devotional reading and prayer. These work for me—most of the time.

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