Dear Sir: Everywhere I turn
I hear people talking about stress. "Iím stressed out," they say.
Even school children are complaining about stress these days. What is so bad
about stress? What can we do about it?
Answer: Stress is often a frightening
word for some people and a word that is usually misunderstood. Many try in their
own way to cope with severe stress. Late one night, a dear woman called me. She
was lying in bed terribly sick. She said that she had a bad headache at the time
and was unable to sleep. Further, she indicated that she was bed sick for many
years with high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems. She indicated that
the reasons for her long illness was the result of her husband mistreating her
for years. Unfortunately, she was telling the truth. An uncaring, unloving, cold
husband can produce stress that can lead to physically illnesses.
Being under stress is something like bending a plastic comb. As you apply
some force to change its shape, it resists the change and uses its own energy to
return to its normal shape. If you apply the pressure too long, it will probably
leave the comb bent out of shape. If you apply too much pressure too fast, it
breaks. This is a good example of what unmanaged stress can do to a person. What
happens when there is nervous tension, - worry, fear, and pain? Virtually every
organ and every chemical constituent in the human body is involved in the
The first major organs affected during stress are the kidneys because they
play a central part in maintaining the steady equilibrium of the body when the
body is adapting to the stimulus. The kidneys regulate the chemical composition
of the blood by selectively eliminating certain chemicals from the body. The
kidneys can also adjust the blood pressure by secreting a certain hormone
substance in the blood. Thus we know that the adrenal glands are also effected
during stressful events. The thyroid - a special gland just under the Adamís
apple in your neck, is also affected during stress; through special hormones,
this organ influences all the organs in the body. The liver is another gland
that also play a major part during stress. It regulates the concentration of
sugar, proteins, and other important tissue-foods in the blood.
Here are changes which occur throughout the body during stress: 1) The heart
rate increases. 2) Coronary arteries dilates. 3) The abdominal arteries contract
or get bigger. 4) The pupils in the eyes dilate or open. 5) Fine air tubes in
the lungs dilate. 6) There is increased strength of muscles contractions. 7)
Glucose is released from the liver. 8) Mental activity increases. 9) The skin
dilates. 10) Metabolic rate increases. We can begin to see that any form of
stress on the human body that is not properly managed certainly can cause
What about the mind? What changes take place in mental power as a result of
stress. Here are a few: 1) Forgetfulness beyond the usual absentmindedness, 2)
inability to think clearly about a problem, and reduced perception, 3)
difficulty making decision, 4) irritability, frustration when prolong stressful
situations occur, 5) self-esteem lowered, 6) feelings of panic, 7)
discouragement because of mental dysfunction. With the potential of all these
things happening during stress, no wonder we get sick. I firmly believe that it
is the devil strategy to keep us under plenty stress, even when doing lots of
good things. He knows that if we are so overwhelmed in doing things, no matter
if they are good or bad, there is a great chance we will fall into great
trouble. He knows that we cannot think normally under severe stress.
There is another fundamental principle we must remind ourselves. God gave us
an ability to make wise choices. How we think makes a world of difference not
only in how our body functions, but also in how our mind copes and manages the
stressful situation we are confronted with daily. We do have some control over
what happens to us through choices we make about things fed into our minds, and
how we will respond to these on-going stressful situations. All emotions are
very important to the stress reactions. Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse,
guilt, and distrust tend to break down the life forces; while positive emotions
such as courage, hope, faith, sympathy, love and a spirit of gratitude will
promote health. We can change the way we react. We can be cheerful in spite of
the way things are around us. We may not be able to control the conditions, but
we can control the way we react to them.
Many Bahamians find it easy to turn to chemical substances in an effort to
control stress or to cope with the strains of life. Smoking tobacco, marijuana,
cocaine, alcoholic beverages, stimulants or depressants is used as a chemical
solution to stress. These chemicals block out the things or things that are
causing the stress for a while. But when the substances wear off, the person is
deeper in the hole than before.
- The best way to manage stress is to concentrate
on the positive emotions:
- Take time to laugh, it is the music of the soul.
- Take time to think, it is the source of power.
- Take time to play, it is the source of perpetual youth.
- Take time to read, it is the foundation of wisdom.
- Take time to pray, it is the greatest power on earth.
- Take time to love and be loved, it is a God-given privilege
- Take time to be friendly, it is the road to happiness.
- Take time to give, it is soon short a day to be selfish.
- Take time to work, it is the price of success.
- Take time for God, it is the way of life.
Stress Part Three "laugh at wesef."