Tag Archives: pressure

I Don’t Know Whether to Laugh or Cry

Feeling a little stressed lately?  Time for a science lesson.

According to Dr. William Frey of the Dry Eye and Tear Research Center in Minneapolis, 85% of women and 73% of men reported feeling better after crying while under emotional stress.  The lacrimal gland in the eyes regulates tear secretion.  It also concentrates manganese, a necessary mineral related to moods, and tears remove this concentrated mineral from the body.

Dr. Frey’s research shows that the concentration of manganese is 30 times greater in tears than what is found in the blood.  The reason that is interesting is that autopsies of chronic depressives have revealed heavy concentrations of manganese in the brain that don’t appear in the brains of non-depressives.  As a result, manganese is believed to have a direct link to depression.  Tears clean the mineral out of the body, so tears are thought to be an effective, natural way of preventing depression from occurring.

Other studies have found that healthy people are more likely to cry and have a positive attitude toward tears than those with ulcers or colitis, two conditions thought to be stress-related.  And children who suffer from an inherited disease called familial dysautonomia have two things in common: they can’t produce tears, and they have an extremely low tolerance for emotional stress.

But if you don’t feel much like crying, try a good laugh.

Laughter helps to lower the potent stress hormone cortisol, which can cause bone loss and suppress the immune system.  Laughter also increases the production of endorphins, which combat fatigue and depression. Laughter can in the long-term reduce blood pressure and slow heart rate, as well, leaving you feeling calm and peaceful.

Adults tend to take things (and themselves) too seriously.  How often do you hear of a child with stress-related disorders?  Hopefully not too often.  Laughter may be the reason.  Studies show that children laugh on the average 400 times per day. Adults, by contrast, only laugh an average of fifteen times per day!  We’ve got some catching up to do!

So, if you want to reduce your stress level, run to the video store tonight and check out a movie that will make you laugh until you cry.

(S – Center for Traditional Medicine, 560 First Street, Suite 204, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034, 503-636-2734, http://www.myctm.org/NP08.html)


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Filed under Attitude, brain, discomfort, emotions, fatigue, funny, health, humor, pressure, Sharpening the Saw, Suffering

You Can’t Hide What’s Inside

After World War II, Germany was divided into East and West.  The eastern side was under the communist control of the USSR.  The western side was occupied by British, French and American forces.  The capitol city of Berlin was divided in a similar fashion.

Between the years of 1949 and 1961, at least 2.7 million people fled East Germany, more half of them through West Berlin.  In an attempt to stop the depletion of its labor force, East German officials ordered the building of a barrier that would one day become known as the infamous “Berlin Wall.”

As the initial barricades were going up, East Berliners were feeling powerless and resentful of West Berlin’s freedom.  In an act of antagonism, they filled a garbage truck and drove it into West Berlin late one night.  They dumped the trash all over the streets and then retreated back to East Berlin on foot.  A few days later, the truck returned under cover of darkness.  But instead of the filthy garbage that the East Berliners expected to see in it, it was full of canned goods and non-perishable food items.  On the food was a sign that read “Each gives what he has to give.”

Times of great pressure and stress tend to have a polarizing effect on people.  They bring out both the very best and the very worst of human nature.  In the same difficult circumstance, some will focus on helping others and some will focus only on themselves.  Both are responding to what is hidden deep in their character.  The trial simply brings what is hidden to the surface, to where it can be seen in our words and our actions.

Jesus once said, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”  (Luke 6:34-45)

The Apostle Paul later tells us that Christians have a war going on in their hearts and minds.  The Holy Spirit fights on our behalf against our sinful nature.  If we submit to the Spirit and deny our sinful nature, our “tree” (our life) will bear good fruit, fruit that will last – the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5)

It was this fruit that enabled the West Berliners to send love instead of hate back across that border.  It was this fruit that kept them from retaliating or escalating the conflict.  It was this fruit that made them understand the hurt and the fear behind what the East Berliners did.

If you get an opportunity to swap fruit this week, remember the good fruit of the West Berliners, and do you best to bless even when you are cursed.

(S – original story from Ron Hutchcraft Ministries)


Filed under Abundance, agape love, character, christianity, forgiveness, heart, Scarcity, unconditional love

The Pressure of Perfect

Have you ever seen an unbeaten sports team go out and lose to the worst team in the league? Sometimes this happens because of the pressure of perfect. It’s hard to be good all the time. The pressure builds as we expect to mess up at any time. The odds are against us, right? “No one can be perfect. Who am I to think I can be?” When we finally do mess up, it relieves an enormous amount of pressure. “Now, I’m just like everyone else.” Or… “Now, that’s the me I’m used to!”

Our self-image is so difficult to escape. It’s like a rubber band that can be stretched but snaps back time after time. If you have a self-image that views yourself as a sinful person, getting away from habitual sin is going to be difficult. You will find yourself walking in the center of God’s will for a period of time and getting more and more uncomfortable. “How long can I keep this up?” your subconscious mind may wonder. “It’s so unlike me.”

If the disparity between our self-image and our behaviors becomes too great, we have ways of snapping the rubber band back into place. We sabotage ourselves by sinning – sometimes purposefully but often under some strange and unidentifiable compulsion. Afterward, we wonder why we did it. It wasn’t enjoyable; it made us feel terribly guilty; we knew we shouldn’t do it before we did it…But this sin releases the pressure on the rubber band. It snaps back to its original shape, the shape that is most comfortable to us, because it’s where we’ve been living for years.

There are several lies of the Enemy behind the pressure of perfect.

  1. “You are approaching perfection.” – No matter how good you get, you’ll never be perfect, so relax. There’s still plenty of sin in your life to keep you from being too good.
  2. “You can’t keep this up forever.” – Sure you can! You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. It’s possible (though not very imaginable) to never sin another day in your life.
  3. “The costs outweigh the benefits.” – Yes, you might lose some friends, feel uncomfortable, enjoy less titillation, have to bite your tongue once in awhile…but God will give you back more than you lose (every time).

Instead of thinking of ourselves as trying to be perfect, we should just settle for trying to be better than we were yesterday. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch. Yard by yard, it’s hard. Mile by mile, it’s a trial. A little bit of progress each day makes us more and more like Jesus, and our small successes will stretch that rubber band so that it holds its shape.

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Filed under Challenges, Change, christianity, Religion, self-image, Spiritual Growth, Spirituality