My Stress Cup Runneth Over!

Listen to this obituary

It may not have been long since you said something like this, “If someone asks me to do just one more thing — I think I’ll blow up!” Is that you? It certainly can be! Our stress levels build up until it doesn’t take much more to cause us to boil over.

The Holmes and Rahe stress scale is a list of 43 stressful life events that may contribute to illness. You might want to Google it, add up your stress scores, and see if your life stressors may make you sick. I found many helpful articles in my search. E.g.

Think of it this way: The pressures of life build up in the invisible container we’ll call our “stress cup,” and eventually, we’ll have to admit, “My stress cup runneth over!” Then you will likely become angry or withdrawn, you’ll not sleep or you’ll sleep too much or not eat enough or eat too much, etc.

The key to recovery from too much stress is to get the level of stress down in your cup before life happens, and it inevitably rises. All living things deal with stress, but allowing stress to accumulate and be ignored can make us sick or even kill us.

When I was in the 10th grade, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles released a song that spoke volumes: “The Tears Of A Clown.”

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah
Now if there’s a smile on my face
It’s only there trying to fool the public
But when it comes down to fooling you
Now honey, that’s quite a different subject
But don’t let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Really, I’m sad
Oh, I’m sadder than sad
You’re gone, and I’m hurtin’ so bad
Like a clown, I pretend to be glad
Now there’s some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than
The tears of a clown
When there’s no one around

For many of us, our faith, family, and friends will make the difference as to whether we are able to weather loss and someday once again thrive. As a Christian, the value of prayer, Bible reading, and a positive mental attitude are priorities that I turn to. Psalm 23 is recited together and aloud as part of every funeral that I preach. Psalm 73 from the Easy-to-read or some other modern version may give you some insight. What scriptures have been helpful to you?

When (not IF) you grieve a loss, what’s YOUR plan?

Picture of Doug Greenway

Doug Greenway

These blog articles are written by the retired minister and former educator and counselor, Doug Greenway. He'd love to hear from you with your comments, questions, or suggestions for future topics. You may reach Doug at

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