The effects of stress on your health journey
Stress has always been and will always be with us. Life happens, and with life comes fear, anxiety, anger, resentment — and stress! Our body has a natural hormonal response to stress. These hormones get our body ready for a physical response known as fight-or-flight reaction. We don’t have to fight tigers or wild bears most days, but, nevertheless, when things go bump in the night, the same hormones are released.
Over time, chronic stress, such as work or school pressures, family conflicts, or money worries, can lead to psychological distress or physical damage or both. Acute stress, such as sudden trauma, can also be dangerous in certain situations.
A growing body of scientific research links stress to emotional and physical problems, such as depression, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, impaired immune function, infertility, insulin resistance, memory loss, gastrointestinal difficulties, and other chronic diseases. Our hurried lives, including inadequate sleep, tip the scales on stress.
But wait — there’s hope
On the bright side, other researchers show that mental/spiritual meditation, relaxation, and sleep lower stress and the physical reactions to it. Our bodies are literally set to an internal clock regulated by the sunshine of day and the darkness of night that helps regulate body systems. We will see how sunshine and dark themselves are necessary for our body.
And guess what: Research links healthy eating, physical activity, and rest to health! It makes sense that God, who created us for wholeness, would give us the essentials for healthy living from the beginning.
In my book, Made for Paradise, I talk about rediscovering how to slow down and smell the roses — or the soup simmering. We look at the aspects of mental/spiritual meditation, relaxation, and sleep that can help us manage daily stress and hopefully reduce those factors that put us at further risk for chronic disease.
For rest (prayer, meditation, relaxation, and sleep), choose the following:
- Prayer, meditation, and quiet time daily
- Reconnection with nature
- Quiet hobbies like games, reading, or knitting
- Time daily with your significant other and family
- Adequate sleep
Most importantly, take the time … to take time … for God, for yourself, for your family.
If you’d like to dig deeper into my journey of discovering God’s plan for health and wellness, check out my book, Made For Paradise: God’s Original Plan for Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Rest.