The decrease of health of people in America today is staggering. With all of the discoveries of science and the increased investment in time and money spent on trying to curing disease you would think it would be just the opposite. The simple fact is no pill or potion is going to “fix” us. Think about it most of those things are just that, cures. They are reactive. The best way to health is to prevent or at least minimize problems in the first place. So what is our problem? Well, scientists are beginning to realize that the fast pace of today’s world is really taking a toll on our mind and body. The number one instigator of problems is stress and/or anxiety. I just finished a class that told us that Panic Anxiety Disorder is the number one problem for women in America today.
Our push to be all things to all people just doesn’t work on any level. Trying to be a great wife/husband, super mom/dad, star worker, along with baseball coach and taxi for the music lessons will eventually catch up with you. This is especially true if you believe this is where your personal value comes from. Some stress is good. If you feel anxiety before a big speech that is good. It releases hormones which ultimately will give you the courage to give that speech. Anxiety is like a dash board light in your car. It is signaling that something unusual is happening or about to happen. We need to pay attention to it. The problem is living with the dash board lights on all the time. Those hormones release constantly until we have other kinds of problems. Chronic stress harms the brain. It constrict blood flow, which lowers overall brain function and prematurely ages your brain. This can decrease your memory, your activity, cognitive function and emotional balance. Because of the brain-body connection whenever you feel stressed, your body tries to tell you that something isn’t right. The result? Your blood pressure could go up, or you may experience acid reflux, stomach ulcers may develop. Over a longer period of time your immune system is weakened and you become more likely to catch more of the bugs that go around your neighborhood. One of my elderly aunts told me after the death of my mother to watch out for my Dad 2-3 months after she died. Why? She said he’ll get sick. When the immediate stress of the death is over and things have “relaxed” a bit those closest to the deceased often get sick. I’ve watched since then (even at the medical office where I work) it seems to be true.
So the question is how can you lessen the stress in your life? What is causing you the most stress in your life right now? For most of us we are simply trying to do too much. My husband and I have done much better with this over the past few years. We live simply. It doesn’t require bucket loads of money so we work hard but not incessantly. What about your schedule is there too much packed in?
In my life I have been worrying off and on for almost a year about one of my kids. His divorce has effected multiple lives, ours included. Can I do anything about his decision? No. Can I continue to love him and walk with him through this new season? Yes. Can I pray for him and trust God? Yes. Does my thinking through scenarios that have not happened help? No. Does my wondering what other people think about this or that help? No. Does it really even matter? No So again, I can take to God in prayer and work to leave it there. They say it takes about 6 weeks to develop a habit. I guess I’m a bit slow but I’m gaining on it. Medical science has proven that exercising your faith increases positive outcomes. People heal faster and more frequently than those that profess no faith, don’t pray or go to church.
Another thing that really helps is laughter. “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22 Watch a funny movie, play with the kids, tell a joke, or pull a prank on your spouse. Have a good time! I was talking with a friend yesterday and we decided we both need to take life a little less seriously. Mark and I went to see a musical last night. It was great just to get caught up in the story. For a couple of hours I didn’t think of one thing outside of that theatre.
How do you relieve stress in your life?