Even to those of us without any medical experience, it would seem obvious that you just won’t add any time to your life by worrying. Jesus asked a lot of questions like this to show the futility of this kind of thinking. In fact the opposite is true. You are much more likely to reduce your life expectancy through worrying.
Worrying can affect the body in many ways. It can cause amongst other things; high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, acid reflux, dizziness, fainting, hyperventilation, disturbed sleep, and bowel disorders. Another side effect is damage caused to our bodies by the way we try coping with worry. Too much alcohol and an over dependence on anti-depressants or other medication will damage our bodies as well.
Actually, anxiety and worry are a normal reaction to stress. If we had no worry at all in our lives, we would probably have a bit of a problem. We sometimes need a little bit of stress in our lives to help us perform well and achieve more. For example the pressure of an interview or upcoming exams can motivate us to study more and focus our attention. Psychologists call it the ‘fight or flight’ response. This is our body’s instinctive reaction to stress, where adrenaline and cortisol are pumped into our bodies causing our reactions to heighten and our performance to improve. This is natural. The problem occurs when this reaction is triggered daily by excessive worrying and anxiety. This leads to the illnesses I listed above.
If you have a tendency to worry, I just want to give you a few possible practical solutions, followed by some spiritual ones;
· Talk to your doctor or a medical professional. They are trained to notice certain signs you may be exhibiting. They also have knowledge of the best medication to prescribe. Don’t just assume that because someone else had the same symptoms as you, it should be dealt with in the same way. This can be the first step to admitting that we have a problem and that we need help.
· Exercise – exercising produces different chemicals which are beneficial to the immune system. It also helps you feel better in yourself.
· Eat a healthy diet – Stress can cause you to eat too much or too little. Again, the right kinds of food are beneficial to the balance of your body.
· Learn to relax – We need to know when it is time to slow down or just switch off.
· Accountability – There are many reasons why God gave us His church to be a part of, but one of the most important is so that we can be in community and share one another’s burdens. Worry is heightened when we are isolated and it is reduced when we share. Other people can help us put our problems into perspective.
· Submission – Anxiety and worry is often rooted in proud, self-sufficient or controlling people. Anxiety comes when they can no longer control the things or situations around them. Those that trust God are submitted to Him and find it much easier to let go and rely on Him.
· Focus on God – It is far better to look at the solution than worry about the problem. By gazing on Him everything gets into the right perspective.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord for ever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. (Isaiah 26:3-4)