The Season of Advent: A Time of Stress and Maybe of Spiritual Renewal

Photo of man praying at dawn during AdventA Time of Waiting

The season of Advent can be the busiest, most stressful time of year. But it can also be a time of profound spiritual renewal if we are able to adopt an attitude of waiting and preparation.

In this Advent edition of the Faith and Enterprise Podcast, we discuss the benefits of finding a few minutes a day for prayer, meditation, and reflection. We also offer a few thoughts on how it might be possible to do so despite busyness of the season. (Time:8:39)

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Advent Recordings 2016: The World Waits

Photo Advent Dawn

This is a very busy time of year for many of us — maybe the busiest. But Advent should also be a time of waiting, reflection, and spiritual renewal.

To help you wait and reflect, we will offer again this year a series of weekly recorded meditations. Each one is designed to provide a starting point for your own meditation. Each contains a passage of scripture, two or three questions for reflection, and some peaceful background music.

This week’s reflection, A Message of Hope During a Time of Trouble, is based on Isaiah 61:1-4

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Burnout in the Workplace: What Can We Do?

Photo of man facing burnoutBurnout is a big problem in the workplace. It is an organizational, psychological, and spiritual problem and is usually thought to be the result of intense, prolonged stress. The primary symptoms usually include chronic exhaustion, an absence of meaning in our work and our work relationships, and a sense of powerlessness leading to a lack of a sense of accomplishment.

We discuss the causes of burnout and possible solutions, including those involving our faith and spirituality, in the podcast episode linked below and in a new article.

Burnout is a big problem, but there are things we can do about it. (Time: 13:59)
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Leaders in Crisis and the Value of Theological Resources

Photo of leader thinkingNo one can predict the future, but we seem to be moving into a period of crisis that will put unusual burdens on leaders.  Cultural and institutional changes (and in many cases failure) will call for leaders grounded in a broader, deeper perspective.  Our institutions of faith and spirituality could play an important role in helping us prepare for this future.

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Coping With Stress: When Religion Helps or Hurts

Photo of woman in stressTo prepare for our recent Spirituality for Busy People class, I reread some of psychotherapist and scholar Kenneth Pargament’s classic book The Psychology of Religion and Coping: Theory, Research, Practice. One of his key observations is that while religion can provide relief during times of stress, the actual form of religious coping matters a great deal.  According to Pargament:

The seemingly straight forward question, ‘Does religion work,’ could not be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’  Instead, the answer depends on the kind of religion one is talking about, who is doing the religious coping, and the situation the person is coping with.  Depending on the interplay among these variables, religion can be helpful, harmful, or irrelevant to the coping process. (p.312)

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Workplace Stress: Can a Spiritual Practice Known as the Prayer Mantra Help?

photo of back of praying women's headWorkplace stress is a common problem with important consequences for both our health and our effectiveness. A spiritual practice known as the prayer mantra can help us calm down, place our problems in a more realistic perspective, and act with greater strength, insight, and resilience. It can also help us stay on track at other times. (Time: 6:52)
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Prayer Mantras and Stress

photo of back of praying women's head(See also our podcast episode about the prayer mantra.) A spiritual practice that can be very helpful during times of workplace stress and uncertainty is that of repeating a personal prayer mantra. Mantras can reduce stress whether the issue is a minor hassle or a crisis large enough to generate outright fear. They can also help us to stay on track.

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Staying Calm in Crisis

Travis Bradberry, the author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, has written a very worthwhile  article called “How Successful People Stay Calm”.  The article covers some of the basics of stress, and then lists ten practices people use in times of crisis to...

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