Do you work under stressful conditions? Have a domineering boss? Do you experiences stress as a nurse, (my #1 patient) when you can’t do anything for that small child dying in the ICU? As an overworked teacher, when that popular teenager calls you a derogatory name behind your back and others laugh? Or a social worker, wishing you had funds to purchase food for every struggling family, but can only stand by and help in what little way you can?
You might even question God and wonder why He allows such things to happen?
Faith is trusting, even when we don’t understand why.
A stressful environment can result not only in irritability, fatigue, headaches, memory loss, high blood pressure, insomnia and other health issues, but it can also add additional weight to your frame.
American Neurobiologist, Dr. Sapolsky, studied a Kenyan baboon community for 30 years. Existing in a class system, the aggressive Alpha males terrorized the gentler males causing stress-related illnesses within the group; elevated blood pressure, heart problems and yes, even weight gain.
Since the Alpha males also dominated the food chain; they would eat first. However they once consumed a deadly substance which caused disease and killed them off. The kinder males took over the community which then thrived due to a stress-less environment. This produced peace . . . and weight loss.
Food can be many a person’s comfort drug when they are feeling stressed. Food’s as addictive as smoking, drugs or alcohol because it changes the body’s chemistry and the neurotransmitters in our brain.
If you’re tired or having a stressful morning, it’s easy to reach for the sugary donuts in the break room. Sugar increases energy and also releases feel-good serotonin to the brain. Angry? Those pretzels and peanuts are therapeutically crunchy, releasing pent up frustration!!! Lonely? Subconsciously you reach for that stress-reliever, comforting chemical, phenylethylamine, found in chocolate.
We need to seek peace in other ways besides reaching for food.
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9: 9,10)
Although we can’t totally eradicate stress from our lives because there is good and bad stress everywhere, every day; we can take steps to control harmful stress.
Create a Strategy and Take Action!
- Exercise. Serotonin is also released through exercise too! Bike, walk, play tennis, swim, go to the gym but discipline yourself!
- Warm relaxing baths or massage therapy. Have your spouse give you a foot or back rub.
- Take action to assist and be a blessing to others. Work at an employment agency, volunteer at a charity, cook a meal, read a story to that suffering child. Be pro-active and make a difference in someone’s life.
- Have a cup of tea, enjoy the sunset and relax with music.
- Meditate. The closer you experience God, the more peace you’ll experience. Have Faith that His Way is Best.
- Laughter relieves stress. Laugh with your family, watch a comedy, play games, have a date night.
- Remember you can’t live in a vacuum. Find someone to talk to, whether it’s a spouse, friend or pastor, we all need a support system.
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” (Psalm 143:10)
Success is within reach but you must want to take action to grasp it!