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Stress, a blessing and a curse - Part 2
By Barrington H. Brennen

PART 1    PART 2    PART 3    PART 4

Question: 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 general stress-reaction.

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 damage.

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.

Go to Stress Part Three  "laugh at wesef."


Send your comments or questions to Barrington H. Brennen, P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas; or call 1-242 327 1980  or email  question@soncouragement.org   


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P.O. Box CB-11045, Nassau, The Bahamas.     
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April 26, 2000, TAGnet/NetAserve / Network Solutions

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