Do you ever feel stressed out in Ramadan?
Stress doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. Learn how to feel happier by mastering stress!

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Ramadan is a busy and exciting time for Muslims around the world. However, with new responsibilities, daily routines and work and family obligations (not to mention hunger pangs!), Ramadan may also be a time in which Muslims experience something unexpected… stress.

 

Understanding the psychology  of why we feel stress and learning how to better MANAGE our stress so we can always feel our best, no matter what life throws our way, will help you prepare for a spiritually AND mentally healthy Ramadan inshAllah! 

 

A Quranic Approach: Why do we feel stress? 

 

The Quran describes Islam as a straight path (seerat ul mustaqeem) and informs us that life is a journey that we are meant to traverse. You only embark upon a journey and travel on a path to a destination if you are in need or searching for a positive final outcome. Considering that this entire life is a journey that only ends when we meet Allah ﷻ  in the hereafter, this inherently means that we are always in a state of need, deficiency and weakness seeking fulfilment, growth and strength. 

 

Seeking closeness to Allah through your adventure of life on the seerat ul mustaqeem facing hardships, calamities and trials along the way purifies the soul, develops character and forges a meaningful life. 

 

The gap between our current trajectory of life and the idea of a fulfilling, meaningful life on the seerat ul mustaqeem rightfully produces a strong sense of frustration, anxiety and fear. This experience is the feeling of stress.

 

Stress is the response that arises when a person perceives the gap between where they are (in a state of need) and where they need to be (the source of fulfilment). Stress is a strong motivational factor that pushes us to pursue what will fulfil our needs and fix our deficiencies. Allah tells us in the Quran about this reality: 

The truth is that we will always be in a state of need. This need fuels the constant feeling of pressure and stress that many of us feel looming over our shoulders throughout our lives. This “stress” is not necessarily a bad thing when handled appropriately. It is natural, necessary and even healthy to seek personal betterment and growth, as it motivates us to pursue what is beneficial. 

 

However, we often misdirect this motivation to objects in this world, thinking they will relieve us from our stress and fulfil our needs. It is highlighted in the above verse that only Allah can fulfil our needs.

 

Placing our hopes on anything or anyone in this world will not only fail to alleviate stress, but it will actually create more stress! This mental and physical toll starts to affect our soul, causing us to lose hope and failing to see life as worth living. This is where stress can become pathological or destructive if it turns into a chronic state of unrest, frustration and anxiety without any clear solution or exit.

 

As you continue to learn about the psychology and science of stress in these articles from a research-based perspective, always keep this Quranic perspective in mind.

 

The natural opposition to stress is optimism and trust in Allah and reframing your life in the context of a journey towards God. When you understand that you are on a journey to God, the “gap” between what you want and what you have disappears, as you understand your daily challenges are all part of the process of obtaining nearness to Him. 

 

With this foundational approach, let’s dive into how to manage and improve our stress response from a psychology perspective! 

Summarise it! Dealing with Stress During and After Ramadan
  1. Identify the harmful types of stress in your life based on the duration and severity. Moderate to intense chronic stress and acute traumatic stress are harmful to your health and require coping strategies (learn more in the WHAT TYPES OF STRESS IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH? article and the 3 TYPES OF LIFE EVENTS THAT CAUSE YOU STRESS article). 
  1. Identify your personal coping style in the HOW TO MASTER COPING WITH STRESS article. Use cognitive reframing to shift towards problem-based coping for healthier stress management.
  1. Reframe negative thoughts and practice directed optimism to shift your perspective when stressogenic thoughts arise. Read the HOW TO MASTER COPING WITH STRESS article for strategies.
  1. Engage in positive stress-reducing behaviours Read the HOW TO MASTER COPING WITH STRESS article for strategies, including prayer and exercise.
Master your stress to feel happier,
every day of your life inshAllah.

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