Recently, I came across an article entitled “12 Steps to De-stress Your Bird.” I don’t have a bird, but with a title as catchy as that, how could I pass it by? I took a break from doing homework to peruse this ridiculous article that provided some expert advice, on the off chance that I ever have a bird in need of de-stressing. I quickly came to the realization that I would never actually be able to own a bird, since it is a seemingly full-time job to keep it from a nervous breakdown.
According to the article, “Nobody wants their bird so stressed that it becomes a nervous little wreck, plucked bald and on the verge of a heart attack. Even if your bird’s not “acting” stressed, don’t assume it isn’t.” Step 9 has got to be my favorite as it insists, “if you are having a discussion … next to your bird’s cage and things start to escalate, stop and put your bird in its sleeping cage in another room, before you say another word.” Really? Handling such a fragile animal is the last thing I should be doing if ‘things start to escalate.’ Also, bird owners have got to be exhausted.
How to De-Stress A Bird
This provoked me to write my own article about how to de-stress your bird. Step 1: Let the bird go. The only stressed out bird I have ever seen is one indoors. I can’t recall ever looking out my window and seeing a bird “plucked bald and on the verge of a heart attack.” I think we can all agree that 99% of the birds we encounter outside seem to be stress free. In fact, when having a bad day, I go outside. The sound of birds chirping immediately calms me. It seems the article has it backwards; we were never intended to de-stress nature. Nature was, instead, intended to de-stress us.
The Bible says in Luke 12, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” When talking about stress, Christ tells us not to be anxious, but to “consider the birds.” Birds don’t even think about where they are going to get their next meal, which is at the top of my priority list. There comes a time in all of our lives when we are kicked out of the nest and forced to spread our wings. So, as you are learning to fly, consider a few of the ways that God’s natural resources can help eliminate the stress of life.
Escape the Flock
As a full-time college student, working 30 hours a week, and living in a guys dorm, I experience a lot of noise. Noise that is produced by life and those around us. Don’t get me wrong, I love people, but sometimes I feel like my head’s about to explode if I don’t get away from everything. The Bible says, in Luke 5:15, that even Jesus had to escape the flock from time to time. “But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” Jesus didn’t just slip away from the noise, He also replaced it with the silence of the wilderness. I am afraid that most times, when we slip away from the noise, we are just replacing it with another type of noise. For instance, we lock ourselves in our room and turn on Netflix, listen to Spotify, or scroll through endless pages of social media. Our minds are never actually catching a break. You might think that spending time alone is enough to de-stress yourself, but if you aren’t replacing the noise with some silence, you will eventually pluck yourself bald and be on the verge of a heart attack… Or something like that.
A Solution to the Noise
Go for a walk. Try walking in silence; let nature provide the melody. You might actually hear the sound of the wind blowing through the leaves, birds singing, crickets chirping, and maybe water trickling by. Pubmed.gov did a few studies, one of which was researching the sounds of nature. These studies show that “Nature sounds facilitate recovery from sympathetic activation after a psychological stressor.” So, in theory, psychologists simply recommend the sounds of nature to help patients who are recovering from high stress. When you eliminate some of the noise around you, you might just hear the still small voice of God. Give it a try.
Bird’s Eye View
One of my favorite verses of all time is Psalm 8:3-4, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” When I consider all the works that God has made, my trivial needs start to fade away. Looking at creation assures us that God is in control of our circumstances. A study shows that “Exposure to natural scenes mediates the negative effects of stress reducing the negative mood state and above all enhancing positive emotions.” Our Great Physician has placed antidepressants in our lives in the form of sunsets, waterfalls, skylines, and camp fires; all we have to do is enjoy them.
God literally thought of everything when He spoke the world into existence. Let this video give you a perspective on how detailed God is with His creation. Like a bird on a wire, we need to be still long enough to catch our breath and regain strength. We are a generation pressured by time and controlled by deadlines. Traffic jams, homework assignments, and schedules pepper our lives. But, like a camera, we have to be still in order to focus. The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Just be still. When we stop what we’re doing, we’re able to focus on God. At work, I like to step outside on break and take a breath of fresh air. It’s like I’m exhaling the stress of life and inhaling the peace of God. It’s amazing to think that the earth is revolving under the control of God’s mighty hand, and that I am simply a piece of that Creation. If God can create a universe with planets hovering in orbit, stars fixated in their place, and the earth revolving around a massive ball of fire in perfect balance, I think it’s safe to assume He will be able to set our life in equally perfect balance.
Early Bird Gets the Worm
God may provide the worm, but it’s the bird’s responsibility to be proactive with the provision. God has given us the blessing of Creation, but to enjoy it, we have to roll out of our nest and take advantage. Another study suggests “People fail to maximize their time in nearby nature and thus miss opportunities to increase their happiness and relatedness to nature.” Every day, people are choosing video games over camping trips, Netflix over bonfires, and social media over scenery.
I’ll be honest, sleeping is my favorite hobby, but I have never regretted watching a sunrise. Starting my day off outside with a cup of coffee is a great opportunity to spend some quality time with God, think about life, or even stare at the sky until I am ready for people (not a morning person). You could start your day off with some exercise. Get your daily dose of nature, by going on a run through a local park (You have fun. I will be drinking coffee). Whatever you do, nature is never more peaceful than it is in the morning. You only have so many days here, you might as well get out of bed and enjoy a few sunrises with God. Maybe you are more of a night owl and will never willingly witness a sunrise, there’s good news: sunsets are pretty cool too.
A Bird in Hand is Worth Two in the Bush
I think we should all stop and consider these words of wisdom and apply them to our lives…(Honestly, I have no idea what it means). However, for your viewing pleasure, please take a moment and listen to the song that inspired the title of this article… you won’t regret it.
About the author
D.J Hinkle is an introverted extrovert at Urshan College studying Christian Ministries. He is from Doniphan, MO and he thrives on outdoor adventures, laughs, and snack cakes. His writing stems from the ambition to inspire, encourage, and revive the world around him with the good news of Jesus Christ.