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Stress is Needed
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"Do we need stress in our lives?" That was a question I got from one of my high school female students back in the mid 90s. The question was posted after we'd been studying Human Behavior for almost a week and how humans react to different situations.

“Yes”, I said; “you need stress in your life.” Does my answer surprise you? Perhaps, but it is quite true. Without stress, life would be dull and unexciting. Stress adds flavor, challenge, and opportunity to life. Too much stress, however, can seriously affect your physical and mental well-being. A major challenge in this stress filled world of today is to make the stress in your life work for you instead of against you.

To use stress in a positive way and prevent it from becoming distress, you should become aware of your own reactions to stressful events. The body responds to stress by going through three stages: (1) alarm, (2) resistance, and (3) exhaustion.

As an example, assume that a car pulls out abruptly into traffic in front of you. Your initial reaction would be an alarm reaction, which may include fear of a collision or anger at the driver who pulled out in front of you. Your body physically reacts by releasing hormones (adrenaline) into your blood stream, your face gets flushed, you perspire, your arms and legs tighten up preparing you to fight or flee from the situation. The resistance stage is where your body repairs the damage caused by the alarm stage. The exhaustion stage comes about when the alarm resistance cycle is repeated too often and the body does not have sufficient time to repair any damage. Exhaustion may be manifested in such things as migraine headaches, high blood pressure, backaches or insomnia.


There are as many ways to deal with stress as there are individuals. We all respond differently to different situations. However, here are some guidelines to use.

Try physical activity. When you are nervous, angry, or upset, release the pressure through exercise or physical activity.

Must you always be right? Do other people upset you, particularly when they don't do things your way? Try cooperation instead of confrontation; it's better than fighting and always being "right".

Know your limits. If a problem is beyond your control and cannot be changed at the moment, don't fight the situation. Lastly, share your stress. It helps to talk to someone about your concerns and worries. Chances are that talking to someone is not going to solve your stressful situation, but it will definitely change you in your situation.

Jesus invites us to share all of our concerns and problems with Him and He will give us rest. You don’t have to turn bitter just because your situation is bitter. Anybody can be miserable in the mist of misery. It takes somebody who knows Jesus to be different than their surroundings. Although Jesus has the power to solve your problem, this verse does not say that He will do it.  This verse is saying that even if Jesus doesn’t change your situation, He will change you so much that you will react to your situation differently, therefore you will be rested. You will experience peace.

Then Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

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By Irving Santiago. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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