Stress is life. Stress is anything that causes mental, physical, or spiritual tension. There is no running away from it. All that matters is how you deal with it. This article does not deal with the factors of stress, anxiety, and depression, nor is it a clinical advice.
If you feel depressed, you are not alone. It has been estimated that 75 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians in America are for stress-related problems.
This is why it is wise to consult a doctor if you are having physical symptoms of stress. However, here are some tips that can help from a spiritual perspective.
1. Ask Him, He Listens
Turn each anxiety, each fear and each concern into a Dua’a (supplication). Look at it as another reason to submit to God and be in Sajdah (prostration), during which you are closest to Allah. God listens and already knows what is in your heart, but He wants you to ask Him for what you want. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything. (Tirmidhi)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) once said that in prayer he would find rest and relief (Nasai). He would also regularly ask for God’s forgiveness and remain in prostration during prayer praising God and asking for His forgiveness. (Bukhari)
2. Tie your camel: Do your part
One day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah.” (Tirmidhi)
Muslims must never become fatalistic. Although we know only Allah is in control and that He has decreed all things, we are each responsible for making the right choices and doing the right thing in all situations of our lives. We must work to alleviate the hardships we, our families and our communities face.
3. Remember that human responsibility is limited
While we need to carry out our duty to the best of our abilities, always remember that you don’t control the outcome of events. Even the Prophets did not control the outcome of their efforts. Some were successful, others were not. Once you have done your duty, leave the results to Allah.
Regardless of the results of your efforts, you will be rewarded for the part you have played.
4. Leave the world behind you five times a day
Use the five daily prayers as a means to become more Hereafter-oriented and less attached to this temporary world.
Start distancing yourself as soon as you hear Adhan, the call to prayer. When you perform Wudu (ablution), keep repeating Shahada, the declaration of faith, as water drops slip down your face, hands, arms and hair. When you stand ready to pray, mentally prepare yourself to leave this world and all of its worries and stresses behind you.
5. Seek help through Sabr (patience)
Seek help through Sabr and Salat (Qur’an 2:45). This instruction from Allah provides us with two critical tools that can ease our worries and pain. Patience and prayer are two oft-neglected stress-busters.
Patience helps us keep our mind and attitude towards our difficulties in check.
6. Excuse Me! You are Not Running the World, He is.
It is important to remind ourselves that we don’t control all the variables in the world. God does. He is the Wise, the All-Knowing. Sometimes our limited human faculties are not able to comprehend His wisdom, but knowing that He is in control and that as human beings we submit to His Will, enriches our humanity and enhances our obedience towards him.