Stress: Is It Healthy or Dangerous?


Hi my name’s father Mike Schmitz and
this is Ascension Presents. I imagine you’re probably stressed at some point
in your life. Maybe even right now because you should be doing your work
but you’re watching a YouTube video, so, busted! But, a lot of us experience
stress. In fact, when they asked across the across the country—country being the
United States, but thanks for watching from other places than the
United States—people report high levels of stress. You know, it’s
interesting because when you start diving into research about stress,
something you find is that there is such a thing as “eustress” and such a thing
as “distress.” So, eustress is the good stress, right? It’s the anxiety
or the anxiousness we feel before we are gonna perform. It’s the thing—it’s the
eustress, the good stress, we experience that actually gets our body
prepared to act, right? So, eustress is the kind of stress that
prepares our bodies for action. But there’s distress. And one of the things
that distress does is, distress can paralyze us. It does the opposite of
eustress or good stress. Distress makes us feel incapable of moving. It
makes us feel paralyzed. It makes us feel afraid and anxious to the point where we
don’t move. Instead of “I’m anxious so I need to move,” eustress. Distress is the
kind that paralyzes us. And I imagine that distress is the one that we
complain about, because eustress is not so bad. That’s why it’s called “good
stress” … because it’s … basically it’s good. But I think a lot of times we approach all
stress as the same, and our approach to stress is “I just need to get done with
this project and get done with this thing, get past this moment and then I
won’t be stressed so much.” I think about that a lot, because I often times—
and just a confession here—I’m often concerned about the next thing. I’m often
concerned about what’s the next project, what’s the next task, what’s the next
thing that’s really weighing on me that when I look at it, I have the distress.
Right? So I find myself getting paralyzed in the face of it.
And so once I get done with that though then I’ll be fine. Once I get done with
this thing, I’ll be able to move on with life. And there’s something about that
that I’ve been praying about a lot, and thinking about a lot. And the conclusion
I came to—the realization that I kind of came upon—was that life isn’t about
avoiding stress. Stress is just a part of life. Life isn’t about avoiding
stress. It’s not about getting around stress. It’s about, like, no, this is life—to experience stress is to experience life. In fact, we need stress
to continue to live. There was this research, was it at Stanford I think—maybe?
One of those, you know, big schools— Harvard, Stanford—but I think is was Stanford
that did this research on very very simple-celled organisms, single-celled
organisms. And they put it in a place of stasis, right? A place of
homeostasis where there was no stress whatsoever on the organism, on the simple
organism. And with absolutely no stress with all the environments that it needed
just to simply be “in stasis”—to be just alive and comfortable—essentially they
died. They corrupted. They were destroyed ultimately, because they needed
stress to be alive. And you and I need stress to be alive and to remain alive.
And so, life isn’t about avoiding stress. It’s about how we engage with stress.
Our perspective can really matter a lot right? There is a bunch of studies—I was reading this book recently that talked about this—that people who see
stress as something to be avoided versus people who see stress as a challenge, to
be engaged with, makes all the difference. If I see my stress, my
projects, the things that worry me, and the things that cause me anxiety as something
to be avoided, then I’m gonna run away from them. And what I’m gonna have—I’m
gonna have distress, I’m gonna be paralyzed, versus “I see stress as a
challenge to be engaged with,” well then what am I gonna have? I’m gonna have eustress or stress that leads me to take action. So my invitation is this: is to ask
yourself—when you experience stress, the next time you experience stress is—can my
perspective on this thing that is causing me stress, can my perspective
actually affect how I’m gonna engage with this? Ultimately it comes down to how do you see yourself? How do you see this world? This
is where the Scripture comes in, right? How do you see yourself and how do you see
this world? Am I a person who is a victim of the stressful situation? Am I a person
who’s a victim of what causes me anxiety, what causes me worry? Am I someone who’s
powerless or do I have agency? Am I stuck here, paralyzed, or do I have a power—do I have a certain agency where I can actually make a difference? I can engage
stress as a challenge and ultimately not only will it give me life, but I’ll be able— better able—to become the person God wants me to be and bring
life to others. We can do this because we know who our Father is; this is the crazy
thing about life as a Catholic Christian. We know who our Father is. In fact, go
all the way back to the psalms of David and just take one of those popular
psalms—psalm 23. He says “Even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death” … think about that: David was not saying if I walk through the sunny
valley of, like, you know, Anne of Green Gables, something like this. He says that even if I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil.
Why? Because you are at my side. As Catholic Christians we have this profound
conviction, this profound awareness, that in every situation, even the worst—the valley of the shadow of death—I won’t fear. Why? Because God, you’re with me.
Nothing to be afraid of because you are with me. I can engage the situation
because you are with me. All my ability to have agency, to engage the stress
as a challenge, doesn’t have to do with just me. I don’t have to just be, you know,
pulling myself up by my bootstraps. It has to do with “I believe
something about this world” and that thing is that there is a father in
heaven who’s also present to us here and now in the midst of every situation. So
even in times of distress that are terrible, he is at my side, and what can I
do? I don’t have to fear. I can go from this place of being paralyzed by my
situation to be able to be activated by his presence. In James
chapter 1, he’s writing and he says—James chapter 1, verses 2 through 4—he says
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers when you encounter various trials …”
Consider it pure joy when you encounter various trials …”for you know that the
testing of your faith produces perseverance.” The trial itself, right, the
stress? It does something in you: it produces perseverance. “And let
perseverance be perfect so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in
nothing.” I know the father’s with me. I have agency. And if I enter into this—
whatever trial it is, whatever challenge it is—if I enter into this with him and
with that agency, this trial becomes a challenge that produces fruit, both in
your life and in the lives of the people around you. We are all stressed out, which
is a great way to say all of us have the opportunity at all times to become
perfect as James says, lacking in nothing, considering it pure joy that I have the
next task to do, pure joy that I have the next challenge to complete, pure joy that I have the next work to do. Why? Because it all leads—has the power to
lead—to him. But only if I walk with him. From all of us here at Ascension Presents, my
name is Father Mike. God bless. And like, subscribe, do all those things people do
on the internet, like, you know, thumbs up. Thumbs down if you don’t like it,
whatever. I mean, that’s … that’s an option. You can take that option. Why?
‘Cause You got agency yo. *clicks* Ha.
*Off camera* Yo? Who says yo? Dumb.

100 thoughts on “Stress: Is It Healthy or Dangerous?

  1. #askfrmike Could you do a video about the seal of confession? People have vaguely explained it to me before but I don't really understand it.

  2. This reminds me of something I figured out recently. If I set up a reward system for myself with sticker charts, it changes the distress to eustress for me. I am much, much less paralyzed by tasks I don't particularly like but need to do.

  3. I know of a case where someone had an overloaded plate so "stress" was considered a diagnosis. Then at a medical appointment made due to the symptoms of stress (racing heart), they ended up after blood work showing that stress was caused by a serious hyper-thyroid disorder bordering on "crises". A specialist (endriocronologist) needs to be consulted. If stressed because of daily life, MEDITATION and walking is a great help. I mention this due to someone asking about medication. We need natural ways to cope with stress but need to find the cause first and not just accept meds from a GP for stress vs getting to the root. Sometimes anxiety meds will be given TEMPORARILY to get through a traumatic time post sudden loss, accident etc. The worst thing to say to someone stressed is "calm down", as if the person freely choses their current reaction. Fr Mike, we all NEED to trust God more and not ourselves because then it is a vicious cycle!!!

  4. #Askfrmike After I got baptized this year which was a wonderful feeling by the way I talked with my priest and he and I both agreed that we feel like God's calling me into the priesthood. I have been unable to reach the Diocese of Wichita. I'm sure he's a busy man. But I have been given lots of books from John Paul II to Francis on the subject. My question is since I have to wait two years before putting in the application and start school for philosophy and theology what are some good habits to do as a new Catholic and how do I stay away from some bad habits that may come with time. Thank you!

  5. Iโ€™m constantly stressed out and I tend to procrastinate..thanks for the motivation Father Mike!!!!

  6. Talk abut Being Saints. Searching found Being different, our Lord in the different, the Saint. Also to be Saint I understand is doing what we have to do, opposite to procrastinating and doing it fully and righteously. What other requirements and tips can you give us to sanctity. Regards, a new subscriber.

  7. Thanks for all your insightful videos I'm not catholic but I find your videos are full of Godly wisdom for all Christian's to learn from.

  8. These topics are so lame. Can you make videos about the Christian walk and the struggles of it. Teach me how to be a better Christian, to love more walk closer with the lord etc. These other topics I can get from any of a dozen magazines at a newsstand. I watch you a priest for a spiritual slant and solutions. Thanks

  9. Please keep my family in prayer and that our housing situation will go more smoothly. We have to move from here – NJ to another place further north from here. Thanks and God bless.

  10. If your walking with God stress can be okay.ย  Amazing.ย  I never thought about it that way before.ย  God bless you Fr Mike.

  11. #askfrmike
    If Jesus knew that his death for us was his fate and took it upon willingly…
    Why on the cross does he ask God โ€œwhy have you forsaken meโ€?
    Itโ€™s as if he was expecting God would save him from the crucifixion in the end.

  12. What distresses me is the stress my children are under. I usually tell them what my mother would always say…"this too shall pass". I use stress to turn to prayer. It's the outlet for my distress, and an action for the eustress.

  13. Thank you so much for this video! This is a really nuanced, helpful approach to stress. I have watched this clip heaps of times when I've been feeling 'distressed' and it's helped me out so much. Thanks again!

  14. Stress is stress. Our reaction to and use of stress is what must be managed. Prayer will always prevail.

  15. Stress as a challenge! Yeah clearly you don't have stress anxiety and depression … Perseverance sucks there is Zero fruit anywhere in sight.

  16. I have a levels (finals) next week, really been struggling and the stress has made me ill. Thank you Father for this video. It's good to know whatever happens, I am never a failure in the eyes of our father in heaven. God bless you all.

  17. Can you see me? how did you know that I was procrastinating ? Always happy I did to watch you vids…thanks always…ps Watching from Australia>

  18. Father, I stayed in an abusive marriage for 33 years until I had "hypoadrenal syndrome" from stress. I can't handle stress now. What should I do? I pray, go to daily holy Mass, frequent confession. Please help.

  19. Watching from Ireland ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช keep up the good work Fr Mike. I find your videos very interesting and informative.

  20. Wow!!! Thank You for helping us understand many things we encounter in life. It helps me to understand in what I need to conquer them.

  21. Wow!!! Thank you for helping us to understand many things we encounter in life. It really helps us to understand how to conquer them.

  22. Rough 2 years of my life, and I'm still stay here … #Catholic #Christianity
    At times of my almost went to other "ways", seems Jesus always pulled me back ๐Ÿ™‚

    Just found your videos bout a week n now it becomes my daily routine ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks, Fr.Mike..
    Helps me a lot with my newest troubles…

  23. I cut myself off from sexual stuff to be more obedient for god but my body is going through all kinds of crazy stuff pray for me prayer warriors its been rough.๐Ÿ˜ž

  24. If I am having perfect faith in God, I do not have to worry about anything anymore, because he is always by my side. So I will die from a lack of stress then? My advice to anyone suffering from stress: try to get professional help and stop relying on 8 minute YouTube videos.

  25. Twenty-third psalm, always works for me "he restoreth my soul, he leadeth me in the ways of righteousness for his name's sake". I think a lot of people misunderstand the 23rd psalm, it's not a promise, it's a wish, but you have to live a bit to understand that.

  26. Proverbs ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿ‰๐Ÿ‰๐Ÿ‰๐ŸŽค๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŒ€๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿบthank you

  27. This is an incredible video Priest ! it was fantastic also that I was looking for words like yours about life and God ! congratulations and blessing ! continue doing videos with those topics !

  28. As a woman in my 73rd year of life, I find that this constant distress (for about 3 years) has depleted all of my energy. I have allowed it to immobilize me. At this point, all I have is God and my faith. I remember a hymn with the wording "When you find that I am all you have, you will find that I am all you need. Praise the Lord." Unfortunately, I start to prescribe the outcome, not waiting upon God for the answers. ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ’–

  29. "your probably stressed right now bc your watching this video and not doing whatever you should be doing"
    throwing shade

  30. Father Mike
    I would love to sit down and have a coffee with you
    I love everything about you
    You are so natural so human
    And don't say this about many priest
    But you
    You are very special
    God bless and protect you

  31. This is really helpfull because I am stressed about my driver licens test But now, you gave me a tool to deal with it Thank you and God bless from Sweden ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ™

  32. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ for everyone , Father Mike , is stress a cause of the fall? After all if you never experience stress how can you truly enjoy being relax? Just thinking out-loud. Lol .

  33. Took a break from thesis and watched this then got busted by Fr. Mike. ๐Ÿ˜‚ also am watching from the Philippines. Thank you so much for uploading such meaningful videos that help viewers learn more and most importantly restore their faith in God. โค

  34. Father, your comments are so up to date on our everyday lives. I wonder why I did not hear from you before on Youtube. God Bless your efforts.

  35. Indian watching from Kuwait,haha. Fr. Mike ,your words are so moving n encouraging! I'm very much inspired after the video , Confession,a place of victory n praying the mass like never before. Of course your tip to renounce our sins in the powerful name of Jesus has always helped me to make a good confession by his grace. Grateful to my Jesus for speaking to me at the right time through fr. Mike. Keep us in your powerful prayers. God bless!!

  36. I wish you were close to my town so I could go to your church or even be able to talk to you in person..!
    Thank you Father.
    Actually my niece that is like 20 younger than me told me about your YouTube channel. Thank You

  37. I'm constantly stressing over trying to control what I think is right for other ppl and getting them to change their behavior

  38. Just as I was about to break down and my college deadline is in 15 days. Thank God for putting this into my vision, it just popped out on my screen. Praise God!!

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