The world we live in is a very stressful place. It is not uncommon for people to have nerv-ous breakdowns, heart attacks, strokes, indigestion, night sweats, etc., as a result of the stresses placed on us by the demands of society around us. Even if we try to stay aloof from it, and "come out of Babylon," as we are commanded to do, oftentimes that is not enough. Incidentally, coming out of Babylon does not entail refusing to take a job for fear of contami-nating oneself. Yahshua prayed that His disciples would be kept from the evil, not that they would be taken out of the world (John 17:15). Paul told the Corinthians (1Cor. 5:9-10) that they would have to go out of this world if they tried to avoid evil people, but that wasn't nec-essary. Just don't let them contaminate you.
Much of our everyday stress is created by strife on the job - competition. Everyone trying to get an advantage over everyone else. Another factor is getting our minds cluttered up with too many things. Trying to do too much. We often think certain things simply MUST be done, and done quickly! We can't rest until they are finished. Or else they hang over us there in the backs of our minds, nagging at us. We often take on too much. Most of the time, we bring this kind of trouble on ourselves. I know I do.
Stress is bad for us. It can cause fatal diseases. Major stress factors that can be illness-inducers include divorce, losing a job, losing a mate or a child to death, bitter family disputes that cause division, etc., etc.
I recently heard of a method for stress management that I think is worth passing along:
1) Live each day as if you knew you had only six months to live. Make three lists. Write down
a. things you simply, positively MUST do.
b. things you WANT to do.
c. things you DON'T want to do.
Then get busy doing the things on lists a and b.
2) Think positive; talk positive; act positive. Be cheerful. Proverbs 17:22 tells us that a merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. Our attitude has much to do with our mental health.
3) Learn how to relax. Take a long, warm bath. Find a quiet place and meditate on Yah-weh's law, His creation, His plan for our salvation, etc. Pray a lot. Can't get off to sleep at night? When you lie down, try consciously to relax your mind and body. Begin with the top of your head and work down (mentally). Relax each part as you come to it; neck, shoulders, arms, and so on down to the feet and toes.
4) Exercise regularly. If you are physically able, some of it should be strenuous. If not, then do something less energetic. Exercise produces a substance in the brain that reduces stress, and actually gives you a better outlook. It improves the disposition.
5) Get leisure and social support. Take time to interact with others, especially in leisure settings. Of course, most of us interact with business associates such as bosses and fellow-workers, but often this very thing is the source of stress. So seek out social outlets that take your mind off the stressful situations that are all too often unavoidable during the work-week. The very best support comes from a family of fellow-believers. If at all possible, attend wor-ship services with others of like faith. If not, then spend more time alone with Yahweh in prayer, study and meditation.
6) Avoid chemicals. Substances such as nicotine, and certainly illegal drugs should be avoided like the plague. Even prescription or over-the-counter drugs can be harmful to the body, as can such everyday items as "soft" drinks. They aren't so soft. Did you know that the acids in things like Coke and Pepsi are so harsh that they will dissolve the skin from fat-back pork? (Don't go out and buy pig meat just to try this). Think what it will do to your stomach, and especially small children! Even alcohol, which the Bible allows, should be used very carefully, and in small amounts. It has been shown to be beneficial in reducing stress and helping prevent heart attacks, stroke, etc. In 1 Tim. 5:23, Paul told Timothy to use a LITTLE wine for the sake of his stomach and his other infirmities. But remember, anything you take into your body, either a wrong substance, or too much of a good substance, that will bring harm to or defile the body, is wrong. Paul was inspired to write that our bodies are the temple of Yahweh's Holy Spirit. Thus, we are defiling the Temple of Yahweh by so doing. That is a very serious thing.
7) Adopt dietary goals. We are what we eat. If you aren't acutely aware of the part good food plays in our lives and well-being, then educate yourself. Until just recently, even medi-cal doctors were unaware that food plays such a big role in the state of our health. Nutrition was not even taught in medical school. It still gets short shrift, and doctors seldom mention to a patient that he/she
ought to eat right for health's sake. And even if they do, most don't know what a healthy diet consists of. Do you?
Sometime in the future, I plan to write a full-length article on the importance of diet, and go into detail about just what a healthy diet consists of, but here I'll just hit the highlights. First, we eat far too much fat. This comes primarily through meat consumption, but other foods such as salad dressings, French fries, cooking oils, and even butter, are all high in fat. Some think that because olive oil, butter, and other "clean" sources of fat are "Biblical." then they are OK in any quantity. But the same admonition applies here as stated above about wine. Too much of even a "good" thing can be bad. Moderation is the key.
Your method of preparation is another key factor. Why do we cook food? There are only three reasons: 1) to make it more digestible; 2) to make it more palatable (taste better); 3) to remove or kill any harmful bacteria, germs or viruses it might contain.
The nutrients in food are very fragile. Vitamins are living things, and are easily destroyed by high heat Minerals leach out into cooking water, and are often poured down the drain. Too, nutrients are often just under the skin of fruits and vegetables, and if you peel too deeply, you lose the best part. For instance, a potato's mineral ring can be seen about 1/4 to 1/2 inch under the skin if you slice a cross-section thinly and hold it up to the light.
So, what to do? Here are some guidelines. Eat more raw vegetables and fruit, including salads (go easy on the salad dressing). When you prepare food for cooking, peel as thinly as possible. Cook with less water in the pan, and at lower temperature. Always use covered pans. Use a high temperature for about 5 minutes, then turn the burner as low as it will go without going out. Don't dump the broth down the sink drain. It may contain more nutrients than what's left in the pan.
We use utensils that will allow cooking "waterless." If you don't have a good set of cook-ing utensils, invest in a set. They should be heavy-gauge stainless steel with aluminum outer jacket for heat conductivity, and with lids. This type will allow you to cook "from the bottom up, from the sides in, and from the top down."
Drink more water and juices and leave the colas in the store. It's cheaper, and oh! so much better for your body.
If you do all the above and still feel stressed out, look within yourself for the answer. A lot of stress is self-induced by needless worrying and fretting about things over which we have no control. This is counter-productive and should be avoided. Even worry about things we can control is bad. Just weigh the evidence, make a decision, and then get on with your life. Don't keep agonizing endlessly. FB

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