STRESS: A Modern Plague
by Mary Louise;Town Jaqua, Health Minister

Stress may well be the most harmful factor known
to man, a veritable weapon of mass destruction
that most often operates in secret, undetected by the
human eye. Though heart disease, cancer, and
diabetes are considered silent killers, studies show
that the underlying cause of these top ranking health
conditions is, more appropriately, stress.

What is stress?
Noah Webster (1828 Dictionary of the English Language)
defines stress as force; urgency; pressure; importance;
As a verb, stress means to press; to urge; to
distress; to put to difficulties. Of these definitions, the
most outstanding and perhaps most relative to today's
application include pressure, distress, put to difficulties,
and strain.
Allowing for the increasing challenges of
day-to-day living, be they economic, political, financial,
social, or physical, these terms appear to aptly describe
the present American dilemma. Without a doubt the daily
pressures being brought to bear upon the average
American today are causing stress levels that are
difficult, if not almost impossible, for some to bear.

What causes stress?
Being able to cope with the demands of life varies with
the individual, nevertheless most people experience some
form of stress in their daily lives. While stress originates
from many sources, the most common origins include:

  • Death of a spouse
  • Death of a close family member
  • Death of a pet
  • Divorce
  • Loss of job
  • Loss of home, possessions
  • Financial difficulties
  • Major personal illness or injury
  • Marital separation
  • Marriage
  • Pregnancy
  • Retirement
  • Incarceration
  • Poor diet

Science as well as medicine prove that living under
pressure, strain, and distress takes a toll on the
body physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Thus a stress-full life is an unhealthy life.

How stress affects the body
The body has a natural response mechanism that
protects it in times of crisis. Call it an instinct for
survival or what you will, the body fights to survive,
especially under the severest of conditions. When
faced with trauma/crisis, the body responds by

  1. pumping out stress hormones
  2. speeding up the heart rate
  3. increasing blood flow to the brain
    to upwards of 400%
  4. increases muscle tension
  5. breathes faster to bring more oxygen
    to the muscles
  6. increases blood sugar levels

While it is natural and good for the body to
defend and protect itself in times of crisis, it
is not healthy for the body to live in a frequent
or constant state of crisis/stress. To demand the
body to do something that it was not designed
to do can cause it harm, if not irreparable damage.
Long-term stress can initiate a variety of health
problems, including:

  • Mental health disorders (depression
    and anxiety)
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal heart beats
  • Menstrual problems
  • Acne and other skin problems
  • Adrenal fatigue

How stress destroys life
It is estimated that over two-thirds of doctor visits
are for stress-related problems. This fact gives
rise to the increasingly obvious connection between
stress and the leading causes of death, i.e. heart
disease and cancer. Nevertheless, the affects of
stress include but are not limited to the following:

  • chronic fatigue, digestive upsets, headaches,
    and back pain.
  • adverse affects on the blood cells that help
    infection, causing frequent colds. flu, and other
  • increase of blood pressure which, in turn,
    increases the risk for stroke.
  • increase of the danger of heart attacks,
    particularly for those who are often angry
    and mistrustful.
  • worsening of asthma attacks
  • triggering behaviors that contribute to death
    and disability, such as smoking, alcoholism,
    drug abuse, overeating, and violence.
  • diminished sexual desire and activity
  • makes it harder to take other steps to improve
    health, such as giving up smoking or making
    changes in diet.

Common warning signs of stress
While everyone has a different way of responding to
stress, and therefore symptoms may vary, common
warning signs of stress include:

  • Not eating or eating too much
  • Feeling like you have no control
  • Needing to have too much control
  • Forgetfulness
  • Headaches
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of focus
  • Trouble getting things done
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Short temper
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Upset stomach
  • Back pain
  • General aches and pains

Resolving stress
How stress is resolved on a daily basis will
determine one's quality of life. Taking positive
steps to avoid and/or eliminate stress can prevent
physical, emotional, and mental problems. Here
are some tips for successfully resolving stress:

  1. Develop a new attitude- Learn to solve
    personal problems by making a list of the
    stress elements in your life to determine
    which one(s) need to be solved first. Start
    with the small/immediate elements and
    work up. Be objective and calm in solving
    them. Be flexible in order to avoid conflict
    or arguing. Learn to give in when necessary.
    Entertain a positive outlook and build genuine,
    healthy relationships. Learn your limits by
    saying, No, to requests for your time, money,
    and/or effort.
  2. Learn to relax- Take deep breaths when you
    feel stressed in order to flood your body with
    life- giving oxygen. Breathing deeper and slower
    helps the body relax. Stretching relaxes muscles,
    thus decreases tension. Massaging the muscles
    of the neck and back can reduce tension. Take
    time to do something that you enjoy doing. Taking
    a 'breather' from stressful situations is a good
    prescription for better health.
  3. Care for your body- Improve your diet by eating
    more living foods: fresh, raw fruit, vegetables,
    seeds, nuts, and whole grains. An improved diet
    builds a strong body physically, emotionally, and
    mentally which aids in eliminating stress factors.
    Get adequate sleep. Proper rest refuels and
    re-energizes body, mind, and spirit. Exercise to
    relax and improve your mood. Physical activity
    helps relieve tension, depression and anxiety.
    Avoid prescription drugs, alcohol, smoking,
    overeating, and/or engaging in immoral behavior
    to remedy stress. Doing so only exascerbates
    the problem.
  4. Interact with others- Share your stress points
    with someone who genuinely cares. A friend or
    family member can sometimes help you see your
    problem in new light and suggest solutions.
    Consider doing volunteer work. Helping others
    often makes you feel better about yourself.
    Find new friends that will add and not subtract
    from your life.

Resolving stress: the living way
The nature of stress is unique in that it targets the
body's emotional threshhold. The ability to cope with
life's challenges depends upon stability of emotions,
i.e. what we think and most of all, how we feel.
Feelings originate in the soul and if they are not
elevated into the realm of the Spirit, great harm can

Research proves that unresolved emotions such
as bitterness, anger, frustration, procrastination,
revenge, jealousy, etc. can and do trigger numerous
health problems. Studies show that the root cause
of cancer is bitterness, candida stems from feelings
of rejection, back pain is traced to a variety of
emotional tensions, and heart disease is often
associated with anger. Thus unresolved emotions,
whether short or long term, can be harmful. Some
call this phenomenon 'toxic thinking' or 'toxic emotions',
a condition that can only be solved/healed by the
Spirit of YHVH.

As a veteran health minister and a follower of
Messiah for many years, I believe that most of
life's problems are spiritual in origin and therefore
require spiritual answers.

In the case of stress, I believe that the ultimate
solution is two-fold:

  1. Change your diet. Stop eating the world's
    diet of processed/cooked, animal-based
    (dead) foods and start eating living foods:
    fresh, raw fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and
    whole grains as per Genesis 1:29. A living
    body cannot be sustained with dead food.
    When the body is properly fed, it is physically,
    emotionally, and mentally strong, and will
    have the ability to cope with life challenges.
    Given proper nutrition, emotions are known
    to improve. Emotional deficits such as anger,
    bitterness, hyperactivity, and violence have
    been known to disappear with the help of
    proper nutrition.
  2. Cultivate a personal relationship with
    Yahshua Messiah.
    The solution for man's ills
    is not with man but with YHVH. This is why the
    I AM sent His Son into this world: to save the
    lost. All of us are lost in some degree. Without
    Messiah we have no direction and walk in the
    darkness of the world, being ruled by the feelings
    (emotions) that are generated from our own
    fallen souls. This is a dangerous, unhealthy way
    to live. The only way out of this wilderness is
    to accept Yahshua Messiah as personal Savior
    so that we can walk in His light and know His
    will in our lives. In His love and mercy, He will
    teach us the higher law of the Spirit which
    delivers us from our troubles. This is how we
    learn the truth that sets us free.

In addition to the above, our experience at The
Living Way proves that sometimes, in addition to
proper diet and exercise, the body needs extra
help in coping with stressful situations. In this case,
herbal teas such as camomille, lemon balm, and
peppermint are good choices. The herbs Valerian
and Scullcap are also affective for alleviating the
harmful affects of stress. They are mild nervines
that help calm the nervous sytem. We have also
learned the importance of making sure that the
body has adequate levels of vitamin B-12, calcium,
and magnesium, all of which support the nervous
system. For an extra special touch, rub a couple
of drops of Lavendar essential oil on the feet to
soothe and relax the entire body.

In conclusion
Stress is a fact of life that does not easily go away,
and how we deal with it determines our quality of life.
It is easy to become consumed in our stresses,
troubles, and feelings, often blaming others for
our problems. On the other hand, it takes courage
to live above and beyond personal life challenges
and deal with them accordingly. There is healing
power in acts of love, forgiveness, and mercy.
There is freedom in leaving the past behind and
starting anew.

YHVH Almighty did not design man to be 'stressed
out,' troubled, sick or dis-eased, but to live in a
state of peace and harmony with Him. Learning to
live in this blissful state takes time and effort; for
overcoming the pressures, pitfalls, and challenges
of life means developing an active spiritual life,
i.e. seeking YHVH through prayer, fasting, and
His word. In seeking Him we find the healing needed
for our minds, bodies, spirits, and souls (emotions).
There is no other way to successfully solve life's
stresses than by the Spirit of YHVH. To know His
will for our lives and walk in His peace and rest is
to have health in the highest degree.

That stress and its related symptoms are not of
YHVH and can cause irreparable harm to the body
is a fact that should arrest our attention. Likewise
it should inspire us to better care for ourselves and
those whom we love that together we might experience
the quality of life that our Heavenly Father desires for

Whereas stress enjoys a certain, almost contagious,
status in today's society, it need not be entertained
much less be allowed to destroy. The choice is up
to us. How we handle life's challenges proves our
worth. We can succumb to the troubles that easily
beset us in this world or we can surmount them
on wings like an eagle (Spirit) to prove the
excellency of YHVH Who alone can set us free.

Casting all your care upon him;
for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Let not your heart be troubled: believe
in YHVH, believe also in me. John 14:1

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give
unto you: not as the world giveth, give I
unto you. Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be fearful. John 14:27

These things have I spoken unto you,
that in me ye may have peace. In the
world ye have tribulation: but be of good
cheer; I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

So then, my beloved, even as ye have
always obeyed, not as in my presence
only, but now much more in my absence,
work out your own salvation with fear
and trembling; Philippians 2:12

In thee, O YHVH, do I put my trust:
let me never be put to confusion.
Psalms 71:1

Let us therefore, receiving a kingdom
that is firm and stable and cannot be
shaken, offer to YHVH pleaseing service
and acceptable worship, with modesty
and pious care and godly fear and awe.
Hebrews 12:28 (Amplified)


Recommended reading:
Five Weeks to Healing Stress- Valerie O'Hara, Ph.D.
Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection-
John E. Sarno, MD

Back to Living Letter #49/index