Four Elements That Can Affect Your Life Adversely
By Dan Langerock
There are many things in life that affect us in a bad way, but some seem to be in a recurrent pattern. We need to be aware of their presence so they will not get a foothold and bring about bad consequences for us.
Stress Stress has so many different ways it can affect us. One man I talked to told me about his daughter who let her car be repossessed. He had given it to her, and somehow she had lapsed on the payments. We aren't always aware that stress is the problem when we have an illness, but even though it is not the main cause it can put that little extra pressure on us that makes something bad happen.
Learn to identify stress before it can hurt you. Try to keep from internalizing your problems. Deal with them as they come up instead of waiting for a later date. Your subconscious is going to try to figure it out 'behind the scenes' if you don't.
Unforgiveness Keep short accounts in this regard. Don't drag hurts around all your life. Get them out in the open and deal with them, then you won't have to deal with the consequences later on. A book on this subject, None of These Diseases, discusses the effect on the human body when we don't forgive in a timely manner. That person you are not forgiving is controlling your thoughts and emotions by your not forgiving them. Is this what you want for your life?
Changes Changes are a hard thing to conquer especially when we get older. One couple I know, has had to move twice in the last three years and this has been hard on them since he is 100 and she is 97. It has led to a breakdown in their family relations and bitterness on their part which is not good for them.
Change is an unwelcome specter to many in old age: stopping driving, moving to a rest home or assisted living, loss of a loved one or spouse, and illness. These are all onerous changes that are hard to adjust to. You want things to remain as they always have, but life has a different opinion in store for you. Then, when these changes happen over a short period of time, the mind and body start to rebel. People who have never been sick before to any degree start having to go to the hospital. Someone else may be calling the shots of your life now, and you just can't take any more.
Worry When people come in with heart and blood pressure problems to the hospital, one of the first things I ask them as a chaplain is whether they are worrying about something in their lives. Sometimes they start out saying "No", and then change it to "Yes". Often, we don't even realize we are worrying because we are just thinking about something and haven't named it yet as worry. This exercise in futility will only make you worse off than you already are if you persist in it.
We know that worry is wrong for us, but we choose to indulge in it anyway. We cannot change the past, and the future is just around the corner, so the present is the only thing we should be thinking about. How am I as a person going to approach what is happening today? Am I going to think of all the things that could happen in this situation and make myself sick in the process?
If you are honest with yourself you will realize worry will not help you in the least. It is a hard habit to break. We can choose to worry or we can choose not to---it is up to us.
These four items play a big role in our lives, and help determine if we are going to be happy or not. Each situation demands we make that choice, how we will accept or respond to what happens to us. If you think about it, good and bad things happen to everyone. What makes the difference is the response of the person involved. Some collapse under the pressure of change while others grab the opportunity and do the best they can with the circumstance. Please think about your responses to these four categories. You cannot always help what happens to you, but you have the ability to change the way you respond. How do you respond in these circumstances?