Life is not perfect.
Just as there will be times when we will experience incredible joy and happiness, there will be times when we will experience high, extreme levels of stress because of unexpected tragedies, adversities, and losses that severely impact every aspect of our lives.
At such times, we will feel anxiety, worry and fear. The more overwhelmed we are in such circumstances the more helpless, hopeless and depressed we can become.
Our bodies were made to deal with stress
So, if we were made to handle all kinds of stress, should be concerned?
Perhaps we could liken ourselves to that of a well maintained car engine. As long as it is taken care of, it will run effectively and smoothly for a long, long time. But when neglected or not taken care of, that engine will begin to break down.
In a recent website article by According to a Psychology Today, Norman B. Anderson, PhD was quoted as saying, “Seventy-five percent of health-care costs are associated with chronic illnesses. What’s a key driver of chronic illnesses? Stress.”
Stress is a “proven precursor of many chronic conditions, such as depression and cardiovascular disease, and often makes existing illnesses worse.”
If 75% of doctor’s visits can be attributed to high and prolonged levels of stress, it would make sense that we look carefully at where we fit in that paradigm.
Consider the following:
- Tranquilizers, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications account for one fourth of all prescriptions written in the United States each year
- Stress contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and other illnesses
- Stress contributes to the development of alcoholism, obesity, suicide, drug addiction, cigarette addiction and other harmful behaviors
- Prolonged stress exhausts the adrenal glands, depletes the nervous system and can cause symptoms such as ulcers, chest pains, headaches, depression and finally exhaustion. It also lowers the immune system which protects us from many serious diseases
- Recurring health problems of any type can be a signal that we are under high levels of stress that we need to pay attention to. When the body is highly stressed for too long, it gets out of balance and that imbalance is expressed with disease.
We were designed to deal with whatever life throws at us. Our internal “engines” were made to function in many different situations.
However, when overloaded and fatigued for longer and longer periods of time, we begin to show signs of distress, both internally and externally. Normal stress gradually becomes “dis-stress” where we are constantly geared up for action without an opportunity to act.