S cience has proven that 70%-90% of human illnesses originate in the mind. On a daily basis the stress, perplexities and pressure we go through have a negative effect on our physical and emotional well-being.
Our present life-style exposes us to constant changes and pressures. The responsibility to find solutions to our problems and excessive competition can jeopardize our health by putting us in a state of tension.
This is the starting point to psychosomatic illnesses; psykhe being the Greek word for mind and somatikos, the body.
Unfortunately, the discovery of these illnesses is usually not timely, resulting in countless chronic, degenerative illnesses that can have fatal consequences, such as ulcers, cardiovascular problems, and even cancer.
¿What can we do about this? Prevention is the best remedy.
Understanding our own body and identifying certain key factors in our mind can allow us to see, in a timely fashion, the necessary changes we must make. Learning to say “no” to certain demands or commitments can help give us the time and strength needed to overcome stress.
What is Stress?
Stress is a defense mechanism that the body uses to “fight against, or to flee” from a dangerous and tense situation. Dr. Selye, the father of stress, wrote in his book “The Stress of Life” the following: “stress is the outcome of all the wearing out caused by all types of vital reactions throughout the organism, at every moment; it is a kind of speedometer of life”.
It is the physical, mental and emotional reaction to any situation that disturbs an individual’s normal balance. Dr. Lerner defined it as “our portable prison”.
Causes of Stress
The causes of stress can be internal, produced by our negative thoughts of doubt, hate, resentment, or frustration; or external, by social, financial and emotional circumstances. There are things we cannot change, however, we can change our attitudes towards them.
Sometimes we are unable to continue with the rhythm of life because we have committed ourselves to more than we can manage.
Any situation, in fact, just about any unstable agent can be considered an aggressor to disrupt the unity of our mind and body and unchain harmful biological reactions.
Circumstances with unexpected or painful outcomes, like a loved one passing away, family separation, or loss of job, can provoke great emotional and physical unbalances that results in negative consequences to our health.
Often, we wrongly submerge ourselves into stress for the purpose of self- improvement. We fight counter clockwise with our environment trying to compete at any cost with the demands of a society that is saturated with materialism and ambition.
Sometimes we compare ourselves with those who have more experience, physical strength or means, and we allow jealousy or envy to take over. Because of this, we minimize the importance of caring for our health and, as a result, we suffer the consequences.
Tension more frequently arises in the work force, when there is a desire to better the productivity and quality. We find ourselves with new branches of labor or greater responsibilities in our current job.
Other stress factors can be in the field of education and training; in relation to our health; within the family circle; social relations; at a moral and religious level; at a personal level (for example, insecurity, fear and sexual emphasis).
Many feel tremendous internal insecurity such as feelings of guilt and general dissatisfaction because of a lack of spiritual support. The systematic study of the Bible, a book full of wonderful promises and a powerful message of hope, has changed the lives of millions who have gone through the shadows of life without a purpose.
One of the greatest generators of stress is noise, especially a constant unpleasant, harsh noise and those with exaggerated sound waves.
Consequences of Stress
There some various different consequences of stress. They can be some of the following:
Physical: stress can have an effect on your skin. It can dry the mouth. It can also produce diarrhea.
Mental: an example can be that of a student who has to write an exam and suddenly cannot remember anything. Other consequences can manifest themselves through depression, phobias or withdrawal.
Spiritual: feelings of guilt, doubt, etc.
Social: a tense person can leave others around them also stressed. Sixty-seven percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce because of stress.
Positive or Negative Influence of our Thoughts
Our thoughts can heal us or make us ill. They have a tremendous influence on our health. When we allow negative thoughts such as hatred, unhappy, resentful, jealous etc. take control, we experience high blood pressure, rapid cardiac rhythm and vasoconstriction. If this situation prolongs, it may produce a variety of different illnesses.
Positive thoughts (love, faith and hope) produces an entirely different biochemical reaction: Vasodilation, better digestion, elimination and assimilation, cardiac rhythm normalizes, and so does blood pressure. Inflammation disappears and health is restored.
Science demonstrates that the words of the Bible are true when it says: “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones” Proverbs 14:30.
How can we have positive thoughts in a hostile world?
God´s desire is that we live happily. Jesus Christ said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” John 14:27. He desires that our soul may live, and that we allow Him to guide our lives through a path of peace and security. The sacred Scriptures are the best source for positive thoughts. In God we find the help we need to overcome hate and resentment, and also He will mold our character.
There is nothing better than prevention. Avoid, if at all possible, situations that produce anxiety or that stimulate the nervous system.
Three things to try:
1. Improve your family relationship, as well as your relationship with others around you. The selfish person is one who only thinks about receiving (as opposed to giving) love, understanding and support. That, in itself, is a source of stress. Remember: “it is better to give than to receive”.
2. Try to work at something you enjoy, cultivating the best labor environment possible. Be friendly, understanding, tolerant and responsible in all your tasks. If you are an employee, do everything you can to strive for the success of the company as if you were the owner. Remember, selfishness brings illness.
3. Use your free time wisely. Do outdoor activities that will benefit your physical and mental state. Sleep at the very least eight hours, if possible, with your windows open to receive an adequate supply of oxygen.
1. 1. Identify the things that cause you stress.
2. Look for solutions. There are changes we can control in life. Take a deep breath and pause. Then, slowly, carefully plan how you can reduce the impact of those changes.
3. Clear your mind. Look for a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Make yourself comfortable, loosen tight clothes, remove your shoes and think of something pleasant.
Meditate and concentrate on the promises of God found in the Bible.
Close your eyes and speak with God through prayer. Be grateful for everything you have received from Him until now. Unburden your worries to Him and wait with confidence. Sing! Evil beings flee at the sound of spiritual singing! You will then have renewed strength to continue in the battle of life.
4. Relax and slowly take some deep breaths for a couple of minutes three to four times a day, and when things are tense.
5. Exercise; especially stretch the arms, shoulders, back, neck, the upper part of the torso and the legs. Tighten and then loosen. You will notice the difference. Repeat each exercise five times.
It is encouraged to do heavier exercises for a minimum of twenty minutes that will push the body, causing it to perspire and become tired. Those who suffer heart problems must avoid this type of exercise. Always consult your doctor first. Alternatively, walking is recommended and is recognized as an excellent therapy.
6. Eat a natural diet. It is not simply about how much we eat, but about the ability of our metabolism to absorb the nutrients by our digestive system. Chew your food well and do not drink liquids with your foods.
Avoid indigestion by abstaining from caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, mate, and cola drinks. These over-stimulate the nervous system. Avoid spicy foods and sweets in excess. A lacto-ovo vegetarian diet is preferable. There is a close relation between stress and diet.
Take extra time, if necessary, to make sure you eat a large breakfast even if it means waking up a few minutes earlier. Eat an abundance of raw salads for lunch.
Have a light and early supper. This will give you a restful sleep.
There are foods that help the nervous system, especially those that contain vitamin-B complex such as, celery, lettuce and eggplant, and whole grain cereals. Add wheat germ to your diet. Drink two spoons of powdered barm yeast day. Soya milk is a perfect regenerator for nerve cells. It is important to also take a dose of magnesium as a complement to your daily diet.
Most importantly, take care of your intestines. Constipation greatly affects the nervous system for it detoxifies the organism.
7. Use hydrotherapy. Various applications such as friction, partial or complete baths, vaporized baths and saunas, water springs, partial or full covering (Covering of what??) , walking bare foot in the mornings on the grass; when you wake up, fractioning the body with a cold towel.
8. Herbal baths using sedative herbs such as Valerian, Rosemary, Melissa, and Passionflower. Essential oils can also be added to the water.
9. Massages are beneficial.
10. Drink medicinal plants in teas such as Melissa, Orange blossoms, Fennel, Passionflower, Linden, Valerian and White Hawthorn.
The Best Remedy
We cannot conclude without mentioning the best anti-stress remedy of all; genuine, disinterested, unselfish love.
To love and be loved is a balm to the soul and nourishment to the body. Through the love of a mother, the child grows and the anxiety expressed through crying is reduced. Dedicate time to your children and you will find satisfaction. Express your love with words, hugs, thoughtful attentions and patience.
Tell your spouse how much you love them without expecting anything in return.
If you do not have a family of your own, search for someone whom you can offer help to.
Avoid criticism, instead, compliment and acknowledge those around you. There is always something positive in every person.
Find in the Christian family the comforting companionship that helps us not to feel lonely.
Meditate on the life of Jesus and love Him. “We love Him, because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19. How sublime and uplifting is it to contemplate the love of God! Jesus died for us, taking the place we deserve as ungrateful beings, and He saved us. He desires to forgive us and to fill our soul with peace. We must only accept Him as our personal Savior and Lord, believing and accepting the love of Jesus.
Our response to God´s love is seen in our respect towards His commandments for “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalms 119:165).
If you desire to receive the spiritual help that faith gives, we recommend that you request, at no cost, the Research Bible Guide: “At the Feet of Jesus.” This is a series of lessons full of wonderful topics found in the Holy Bible that will guide us on the path towards God. It also presents the subject of how to find inner peace.
These interesting topics will give you valuable knowledge to help you face life, allowing the Almighty to be your guide; God who can transform the trials of life into blessings.
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