A recent Time magazine article estimated that 75-90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related issues. Doctors say that stress is America's number one health problem. For many of us, this information comes as no surprise. Our lives are surrounded by issues and events that are sure to elicit a stress response. Some of the physical symptoms of stress include: low energy, headaches, upset stomach, digestive issues, chest pain and rapid heart rate, insomnia and frequent colds and infections.
It's hard to imagine, as you read through the gospels, that anyone on earth has dealt with greater stress in their lifetime, than Jesus. Crowds followed him wherever he went, the Pharisees were constantly harassing him, he was trying to mentor a bunch of fishermen who often seemed to be slow learners and to top it all off, he was well aware of how his part of the story was going to end. In fact, the Bible says in Luke 22 that his stress level reached a point while praying on the Mount of Olives that he sweat drops of blood. Hematohidrosis is a condition in which capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture, causing them to exude blood, occurring under conditions of extreme physical or emotional stress.
While we recognize that Jesus faced a great deal of stress in His life, we can also find some great examples from Jesus for how to manage stress. For example, earlier in Luke 22 it says that He "went out as usual to the Mount of Olives". Apparently he made a habit of this approximately a 3 mile hike. In Luke 6:12 "Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray". Mark 1:35 says that "very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."
So, Jesus managed stress by getting away from the hustle and bustle, by exercise - because hiking up mountains isn't a walk in the park, and by praying. Interestingly, two of those practices are among the top four suggestions from modern day physicians for managing stress. They say we should: unplug from electronics - find a quiet place, exercise, eat healthy and get more sleep.
At His point of greatest stress, Jesus also sought the support of His closest friends. Matthew 26:37-38 "He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
There isn't much we can do to avoid stress, eventually it finds us all. What we can do is follow the example of Jesus and get away from the noise, get some exercise, seek the support of close friends and pray.
This is a great description of what happens when the CRT gets together to run/walk. We are developing relationships to better support and encourage one another, we find peaceful locations away from the traffic and noise, we get a bit of exercise along the way and we usually end our time by praying for one another.
So, if you would like to better manage the stress in your life I invite you to come join us. This week we will meet on Wednesday at noon at the Springfield entrance to Pre's Trail (the parking lot at the corner of Aspen and D streets). On Saturday we will change things up a bit and meet at 8 am at Clearwater trail. On Sunday we will meet again at 3 pm, at Clearwater trail.
There is still time to register for these upcoming events:
We are encouraging ALL members of the Calvary Running Team to join us on Thanksgiving morning at 8:30 am, at Lively Pool on Thurston Road, to run the Turkey Stuffer 5k. You can sign up at eclecticedgeracing.com. All team members are encouraged to wear their CRT shirts and represent our team. I have a new order of shirts so check with me and I'll see if I have your size. Shirts cost $10.
The Pacific Northwest Marathon is sponsoring a contest from October 29th through December 9th. It's pretty simple. Run or Walk with a Friend and Win a Prize! Here's how it works:
1. Help your friends reach their fitness goals by inviting them to run or walk with you in the month of November.
2. Post about your run/walk on the Pacific Northwest Marathon Facebook page.
3. Earn a point each day you run/walk with a friend.
4. Top 5 scores win prizes!
Check out the Pacific Northwest Marathon page for more information.
Have a great week!