Stress Accounts for 90% of Our Health Problems
You have heard that stress is the normal part of life, but recent statistics show that about 90% of doctors’ visits are for stress-related problems. That’s not normal, but it has become an epidemic.
In addition to harming the physical health, stress is also the leading cause of mental health problems, including cognitive problems, depression, obesity, anxiety, Alzheimer, and dementia.
It also causes relational problems including dispute, discontent, and even divorce.
Do you know that even positive stress can affect your health in the long run?
That means if you can figure out a way to eliminate your stress, you would have removed 90% of your physical, mental, and relational problems and you will be among the top 10% of the healthiest people on earth.
In this article, I am giving you the most effective stress management secret I have learned. I grew up in an extremely dysfunctional environment where stress was my staple food. So, if I can conquer stress, you can too.
Fighting stress is not a modern problem. It has been around since Genesis. The ancient Chinese medicine described the source of stress as The Eight Winds of Life. Let’s look at the following picture:
If you look at the winds blowing from the left-hand side—Scorn, Slander, Setback, Suffering—I am sure you agree that they are stressors. However, you might not have expected that the winds blowing from the right-hand side—Praise, Prestige, Profit, and Pleasure—can be equally damaging to your body mind and spirit, according to the famous ancient Chinese sages.
The winds from the left will blow you toward fear and instill self-doubt in you, so you become hesitant in handling the matters of life and ineffective in seeking success.
Those from the right will blow you toward vanity and arrogance, setting you up for a bigger fall in the long run. In fact, the winds from the right are much sneakier in destroying a person’s life, particularly those who are wealthy, or in leadership roles.
The problem is, you have no way to escape them. From the moment you wake up to the last waking minute of your day, you are constantly being touched by the winds of life. For some people, even in their dreams, they are constantly stressed out.
If you watch the news regularly, you are constantly blown by the whirlwinds of stressful storms. If you use social media, you are at the center of the winds.
A Micro-Stress is more Damaging than a Major Stress
The worse winds are the constant gentle breezes—the micro stresses. Long-term micro stresses are more harmful than short-term major stresses. You don’ feel the harm until one day you show up at the doctor’s office or see it on your lab report. By that time, it could be too late to reverse the damage.
It’s like the experiment of the Fog in the Pot. If you drop a fog in a pot of hot water, it will immediately jump out and run away. However, if you put it in a pot of water at normal temperature and slowly increase the heat, the fog ends up dead before it realizes that it’s being cooked.
That’s why micro-stresses could be more damaging because it’s a silent killer.
Leaders are Even More Venerable
If you are in a leadership role, you get even harsher attacks because you are like a tall tree standing above the forest and
According to the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, excessive workplace stress causes a staggering 120,000 deaths and results in nearly $190 billion in health care costs each year.
The harmful health effects from excessive stress are:
- Damage to key brain structures and circuitry,
- Reduced ability to cope with future stress and increased anxiety and chronic depression;
- The onset of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
- Reduced immune system functioning; and
- Increased inflammation and depression.
Modern Medicine Has Failed on Stress
Years ago, I was stressed out by a situation at work and decided to see a psychologist. After an initial session, he took me next door to his partner psychiatrist who talked with me for a moment and prescribed a course of Zoloft (a medicine for depression).
Even though it was initially helpful, I was a little surprised to be put on a drug so soon. Later, I learned that that’s how they make money—by writing prescriptions. Without questioning their professional decision, I decided to seek alternative solutions because I wanted to avoid drug dependency.
This took me to study my ancestors’ ancient Chinese health philosophy which focuses on strengthening the immune systems for both preventive and reparative care, as opposed to merely curing the symptoms.
I also learned a more integrated approach to health by treating the body, mind, and spirit as one holistic system.
The Inadequate New Age Medicine
Some postmodern medical professionals nowadays are advocating eastern mystical practices, such as meditation and mindfulness for health and healing. There’s a measurable positive outcome of these practices, but they don’t go beyond the “mind” level.
We know that we are triune beings of Body, Mind, and Spirit. How about our spirit? Even though the medical community is comfortable talking about meditation as a “mind” exercise, they are still uncomfortable talking about the “spirit.” Maybe it’s too nebulous a field to observe and research.
Maybe it’s poorly funded because it doesn’t profit the pharmaceutical companies. This turned out to be true. Several research attempts on health and spirituality that I know disappeared due to lack of funding.
To be fully holistic, the role of our spirit must not be ignored.
Your Belief and Your Stress
Fortunately, there have been some scientific researches done on the spiritual aspect of human health, particularly on how our belief system affect our health and wellbeing.
Let’s look at what we have discovered. The following picture shows the constricted state of our blood vessel under stress (top circle) and without stress (bottom circle).
Surprisingly, researches have shown that people with the same level of stress have different levels of constriction on their blood vessels depending on their belief system. A research done on 30,000 people with the same level of stress over eight years shows that their belief system determines how their stress affects their health and longevity.
When we talk about the belief system, we are talking about spiritual matters, such as faith, hope, and love.
What is your belief system and how would it affect your health?
I grew up among three major religions—Taoism, Buddhism, and Christianity. As I explore these religions from the aspect of stress and health management, I see that Buddhism is more like a self-help system, Taoism a philosophical God-help system, and Christianity a complete God-help system.
Based on my decades of research and experiment, I have determined that the God-help system is the best for health and stress handling.
Here’s why …
Stress is only felt by the ego. When we don’t have an ego, we are not affected by stress. Therefore, stress cannot affect the health of an egoless person.
An egoless person cannot be knocked down by the eight winds of life.
The secret to handling stress is by learning to tame our ego, or better yet, kill it.
How to tame your ego? There are primarily two ways.
The first way is the self-help way. Self-h
The second way is the Christian way. It doesn’t tell you to empty your mind, but to replace it with God’s mind. (1 Co 2:16). To use the cup analogy, it’s like filling the cup with the living water of God without having to empty it. Your cup will be overflowing with God’s blessings.
King David used this method, and so did many great leaders past and present. “My cup overflows,” as King David wrote in Psalm 23:5. Gradually, the content of your cup will be completely replaced by God’s living water. It means our ego will eventually be flushed out, or die—crucified on the cross with Christ.
Which would you think is a better choice?
I have seen people who used the first way having trouble emptying their minds. I have also heard that, in the process of emptying their mind, some things went awry. They fall into the so-called kundalini psychosis (走火入魔), which has been proven to be very dangerous to one’s mental health, and some of them ended up in the mental hospital. I also have a friend who lost his life to such practices.
From Self-help to God-help
As stated, stress is part of this world, which Christianity calls “the fallen world,” and Buddhism calls this world, “the sea of suffering.”
Buddhism teaches you how to swim and stay afloat in this stormy sea of suffering (a self-help system), but Christianity invites you to jump on the Love Boat of Jesus Christ (the God-help system).
Human beings naturally prefer a self-help system because we don’t want to let go of our desire to control. It takes some courage to surrender our ego to God.
You might have heard that the reason we are in this fallen world of stressful storms is due to human sin. Here’s how I would explain it.
The word SIN has “I” at the center of it (Egocentricity) with “S” (Sweet Winds) on one side and “N” (Negative Winds) on the other. So, SIN is the Ego being tossed about by the Sweet Winds and the Negative Winds. That’s life, and we are dead stuck in these winds!
Even if you are a swimming champion in this sea of suffering, you would rather enjoy life by jumping on to God’s stable and secure cruise ship because life is too short to be wasted on swimming in the stormy sea.
Join the Happiness Cruise Ship that Sails above the Stormy Sea
HBO is releasing a new documentary titled “One Nation Under Stress!” revealing the epidemic of stress-related problems in the U.S. It will be released on April 15, 2019, and I’m writing this on April 11, so I have only seen the previews.
I’m glad that HBO is doing this documentary because I have witnessed this problem personally as a pastor who has served the community over two decades.
Based on the two decades of research and experiment, I have formulated a spiritual process for people to minimize stress and maximize happiness. As far as I know, no church is doing this at this time because they mostly focus on faith than fruit–the old 16th century way. Based on my study, faith is futile without fruit.
By fruit, I mean personal results, and Jesus himself desire fruit over faith. He said, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” (Jn 15:8).
Meditate on this verse and read the context, and you will find out Jesus doesn’t treat those with barren faith as his disciples. In fact, he wanted to cut them off like barren branches, yet, many churches today keep pounding on faith alone.
A Divine Calling
My friend, many statistics have revealed that stress is the health epidemic of the 21st century. Jesus will be weeping to see this situation because he came to set people free, yet we are more enslaved today than ever before. You have a calling to solve this problem by cultivating HAPPINESS in yourself and sow the seed of HAPPINESS in the hurting world.
I will personally teach you the step-by-step process to maximize your happiness and minimize your stress. Once you learn it, you will pay it forward to make this world a better place to live.
With that said, I’d like to invite you to our special Trinity Easter Service on Sunday, April 21, 2019, at 9:00 am, at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 722 E Ridgewood Ave, Ridgewood, NJ 07652.
Please click here to reserve a seat because our venue is small with limited seats. We are just starting out, and we covet your participation, and we believe you will be greatly blessed for that.
You will not be coming with a consumer mindset, but that of a leader to fulfill the divine calling to improve your life and the lives around you. One of the secrets of overcoming stress is by having a divine calling. That alone will take a large load of stress from your shoulder because you will not be focusing on yourself but a life-transforming mission.
Another thing you can do immediately as a leader is to bring a friend, or friends, who are hurting because of the stress of life at home, or workplace. Let’s touch lives together and make this hurting world a happier place to live. Amen!
Looking forward to seeing you at the service!
Grace and peace!
Rev. Dr. Sam Stone is the pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Ridgewood, NJ. Happiness is his main interest because he lost his happiness since he was three when he was taken away from his parents. He discovered that most problems in the world, including violence, terrorism, and all self-destructive behavior are caused by unhappiness. he believes it’s important to restore one’s happiness by all means and he has an effective process to help people attain and maintain happiness. He can be reached at [email protected]