Adrenaline Management

by James Rudy Gray

Every church, business, school, or other organization seems to have at least one person who thrives on activity, excitement, challenge, and time pressure. At first glance, this individual seems to be a great asset to the organization, but upon closer examination he or she may actually be a liability to the organization and to themselves. Why? Stress-driven, adrenaline-fed people are time bombs waiting for a place to explode. They work hard and long. They even play hard. They find it hard to relax. They are tense and uptight. They can be counted on to get the job done-but at what cost? Stress related issues are estimated to cost us over $150 billion a year. Stressed-out people number about 95 million. There is a definite connection between adrenaline and stress. A growing number of people in our society are adrenaline junkies. The flow of adrenaline and cortisol and other hormones into the body creates a high or a surge that may at first feel tremendous. However, our bodies were not designed to live in this kind of state consistently. The over-production of adrenaline affects the body in several important and destructive ways: heart problems, headaches, gastric problems, ulcers, high blood pressure, and more. Anger, irritation, competition, frustration, excitement, and challenge are all triggers that produce adrenaline. The stress created by the over-production of adrenaline is destructive over time, to a person, to their relationships, and to their work. Some physical changes that point to adrenaline arousal are: an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, a decrease in the size of the arteries and capillaries in the hands and feet (cold feet and cold hands can be a sign of this), and an increase in muscle tension. Stress and adrenaline go together like soup and sandwiches. They are connected. But can persons control or manage the adrenaline in their bodies? Yes! We can lower the production of adrenaline by thinking differently. A person can learn to live by faith in Christ, which is evidenced by obeying His Word. A principle that God has given His people-the Sabbath rest-can be life-saving in the management of stress and the control of adrenaline. God Himself rested from His creative work on the seventh day-not because He was tired but because He was establishing a principle for life. When we take time to balance our lives with relaxation and rest, we will be healthier. Taking one day out of seven is important, but that principle can also be applied to each day. We need the balance of rest and work. There are times when the over-production of adrenaline is needed but when it is chronic, it is harmful. Jesus Himself would often get away from the crowds and rest. There may have been several reasons why our Lord did this, but He did it. It certainly is a lesson for us to follow. The late Vance Havner used to say, "If we don't come apart (to rest) we'll just come apart (break down)." Beyond the Sabbath principle, a person needs to heed the warning signals present in the adrenaline emotions of anger, frustration, irritation, resentment, and hostility. In order to better manage the over-production of adrenaline and too much stress, a person should practice three simple steps: don't dwell on the pain, try to avoid becoming anxious, and learn to relax between times of business, challenge, etc. Jesus faced incredible opposition and evil in His life on earth and yet we see a stress-free life. Why? He knew The Father cared for Him and that never left His mind. Our clients can be helped by knowing that God really does care for them. They can be encouraged by knowing that others care about them as well. When individuals feel like somebody cares for them, they are more motivated to take better care of themselves.
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