Stress—A Serious Health Threat
“I work long, unregulated hours day and night. I am often involved in an operation at one hospital and then have only a few minutes to get through heavy traffic to the next one.”—Dr. Peter Stuart, South Africa.
YOU probably have some idea of how Dr. Stuart feels, even if completely different situations are responsible for the stress you face. Whatever causes you stress—whether driving in heavy traffic, strained relationships at home or at work, or something else—stress is not new to humans.
More than 30 centuries ago, a battle-hardened soldier frankly admitted: “Trembling itself enters into me, and shuddering covers me.” (Psalm 55:5) This man knew stress. As a shepherd boy, he had faced up to a lion, a bear, and an intimidating warrior intent on killing him.—1 Samuel 17:4-10, 23, 24, 34-36, 41-51.
True, in itself stress is not bad. It can gear us up to meet a challenge. In life-threatening situations, stress has enabled people to perform feats they would never have believed they were capable of. When you had an important assignment, stress may have generated a surge of adrenaline that enabled you to carry out the task on time.a
Problems result, however, when stress becomes unrelenting and our bodies fail to relax. “Stress,” states one researcher, “is the number one threat to our health and well-being.” If you feel you are at a snapping point or if you want to avoid getting to that state, you might ask, “Is there anything I can do to relieve stress?”
Happily, there is! The relief that has helped many to cope is available to all. It comes from a source that you might not have expected—God’s Word, the Bible. Although not a medical self-help book, the Bible provides practical wisdom that can help us. It explains why there is so much stress now and identifies factors that cause or contribute to stress. It also contains practical suggestions that can help us reduce and manage stress.
a Adrenaline is a hormone released by your adrenal glands that helps you cope with emergencies.