The Effects of Stress

A sound mind makes for a robust body,
    but runaway emotions corrode the bones. Proverbs 14:30

I saw this picture on a site when I did a search about the effects of stress on aging. This stunning photo shows President Abraham Lincoln in the short 5-year span of his Presidency during the Civil War. I am not sure that we can attribute all of this dramatic change to stress alone. Many believe that Lincoln suffered from a hormonal imbalance caused by a pituitary problem. I do not know that for sure of course, however, this picture shows a man under tremendous stress.

We have all seen “before and after” pictures of recent American Presidents who appear to have aged disproportionately during their tenures in office. Almost all of our Presidents show rather clear aging changes which might well be attributed to the incredible stress they carried.

Indeed, this is not only for American Presidents. Any world leader, or someone with terribly burdensome stress shows it in their face. The body reacts to the pressure in the mind and soul. The interconnection of mind and body seems to be clearly demonstrated in pictures like this.

The term “stress”, as it is currently used was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. Stress theory came into the popular parlance in the 1960’s and 1970’s as we came to better understand the relationship between stress and general health.

All of us encounter stress in our life, and the critical question is, “What do we do with it?”

More tomorrow…

Prayer: Lord, you know our frame and our frailty, but also the strength that you can give. Help us to understand that better, Amen

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