We all have moments when we feel completely stressed out and need a break! Whether from work, daily worries, financial troubles, deadlines, or any number of other reasons, stress creeps into our lives and sometimes just doesn’t want to leave. A quick online search of stress relievers brought up things like meditation, yoga, walks in nature, exercise, vacations, guided imagery, music, laughter, and the oh so wonderful stress balls. Ah the stress ball. That little squishy ball that you can squeeze and squeeze until your stress just melts away. Or so I’ve been told.
I’ve tried many of the methods listed above and while they do help to ease the worries and reduce stress a bit, I have found one thing that by far trumps them all. One thing that combines many aspects of the above mentioned methods but that goes far beyond the relieving powers of any stress ball. Instead, I go to my stress beads.
Moving my fingers over the smooth beads of my Rosary as I pray and meditate on the life of Jesus relieves me of all stress and puts my soul at ease.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the Rosary, it is a most beautiful series of prayers. It is not worship of Mary but instead is a devotion asking for her to pray for us as we meditate on the life of Jesus. (You can read more about the Rosary, and how to pray it here.)
Certainly the praying of the Rosary need not be limited to times of stress or worry. The Rosary can comfort our minds and renew our spirits in any circumstance. Just as all prayer, we should pray in times of great joy just as we do in times of great need or sorrow. But when we just need something to help us relax, when the troubles of the world seem to overtake us, when we feel like the stress is too much to handle, we can always turn to these little stress beads, the Rosary.
The Rosary includes many of the stress relievers mentioned above too! First, the Rosary is all about meditation. While we pray, we meditate on the life of Christ. It is while I meditate that I believe the “guided imagery” stress reliever comes into play. As I am praying I picture those moments of the life of our Lord. I try to picture what it must have been like for Mary as she held the tiny Baby Jesus. I picture Jesus as a young child in the temple while His parents were frantically searching for Him. I picture Christ carrying His cross for our sins. I imagine what it must have felt like to meet Jesus after He had risen. What Joy!
The Rosary can be prayed anywhere. Even without the actual beads to hold, we can still pray it at any time. In this way, it can encompass the stress relieving aspect of walking through nature. Indeed praying the Rosary as I walk through a beautiful park is so relaxing and it renews my soul. Another suggestion to relieve stress, music, can also apply to the Rosary. At times I will pray my Rosary with a soft hymn or classical music playing quietly in the background, and bringing music into the prayer makes it all the more special.
As I pray and meditate on these mysteries, I feel my stress melt away. I feel God’s presence surrounding me as if He is holding me close in His arms in a most wonderful embrace. I think of the trials that Jesus endured, the strong faith of Mary, and the glory of His resurrection and I am reminded that my Lord has everything in control. I have no need for a stress ball when I have these wonderful stress beads.
When we begin to feel stressed or worried, there is no better place to turn than to the Lord in prayer. For me, there is no prayer more beautiful than the Rosary. A beautiful combination of prayer and meditation from Scripture, it instantly calms me of fears, erases my worries, relieves my stress and fills me with the hope of Christ.