Wednesday, February 06, 2008

When it rains, I let it!

Yesterday, our entire church staff spent the morning in a Crisis Intervention Training. One of the areas that representatives of the Family Resource and Counseling Center went over with us dealt with issues of stress and anxiety. We all face these, don’t we? So what is it that causes the most stress and anxiety in your life? Is it your marriage, your health, your finances, your kids, your work, etc.?

Some aspects of worry are natural and deal with how we are born. Others areas, however, come through life experiences. Those areas of anxiety that come from nature may give the range of our stress, but it is usually our habits that determine where in that range someone usually functions. Studies of fetus’ and infant’s heart rates and responses to stimuli suggest that the underpinnings for excessive worry are probably more natural. The responsibility, therefore, lies in managing that worry more effectively.

A 113 year old man, when asked to give the secret of his longevity, gave this response, “When it rains, I let it!” What a great quote! So often we worry about the very things we can do nothing to change. Jesus put it this way, “Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will take care of itself” (Matthew 6:34).

Stress is caused by one’s interpretation and reaction to a situation or thought that result in feelings of frustration, anger and anxiousness. Anxiety is a physiological state characterized by cognitive, physical, emotional and behavioral components that when combined, can create feelings of fear, apprehension and worry. Anxiety can result in physical reactions both internal and external, such as:

Increased blood pressure
Increase in heart rate
Inhibited immune and digestive system functions
Pale skin
Trembling and/or chills
Enlarged pupils

Anxiety also brings about some emotional and behavioral reactions such as a sense of dread or panic as well as voluntary and involuntary reactions directed at escape or avoidance of the source. Anxiety can actually be good if it is used as a natural protective mechanism to prevent one from engaging in potentially harmful behaviors or situations. However, it can also be very harmful when excessive anxiety results in a disorder affecting one’s daily functioning. These disorders can include phobias, social anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, panic disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorders.

OUCH! I think I may just have one of those obsessive compulsive disorders. In tomorrow’s blog I might just admit what it is!

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