“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise” – Proverbs 11:30

I have listened to those formally trained in the medical profession, both traditional and alternative medicine, and as a result I try to maintain a healthy existence using the preventive formula “nutrition, exercise and peace of mind”.   It requires discipline, it is not easy!

My lifestyle exposes me to so much culinary temptation, so much salt, flour, sugar and preservatives wrapped in the most tempting packages, that it is very difficult to stay in line.  My lifestyle puts me under so much mental pressure, meeting one deadline after another, that it is very easy to spend another hour in bed instead of adhering to the early morning walking and/or swimming routine.  My lifestyle is riddled with situations which induce stress (anger, fear, worry and guilt) that one must be armed with a protective vest of preventive strategies not to be totally consumed by the temptation to succumb or retaliate and hence accelerate the loss of peace of mind.

We can test blood pressure; do urinalyses; blood, saliva, stool tests; and undergo other more sophisticated procedures to determine the departure from the norm. If there is a departure from the norm, then we must determine why. It could be due to a combination of deficiencies in nutritional balance, exercise and management of stress.  My hypothesis is that “stress is a silent killer” as is eloquently elucidated in a July 2010 article by the same name authored by Lilian Linda (www.divinecaroline.com):

“I have been down now for two months. I never knew stress could actually stretch a person into bits. I always thought it was like a tale people talked about and magazines popularized.

I forgot to live and nailed myself firmly behind my work and whatever I could call work. Soon there was no more chatting with people or extra time at work, no meals, and plenty of thoughts. Then suddenly the body started warning. Lots of body aches, headaches, low appetite for food, and then anaemia.

You could read about it in books and it sounds strange to call it a disease of sorts, but when stress gets a hold of your system the body immunity goes real low and the joyful strength the body requires to keep moving fades away.

Stress can age one’s body, bring wrinkles or gray hair and the worst is when it takes the colour of health off your body as well as destroys one’s health. The challenge lies in the fact that sometimes we do not take it seriously until we are being hospitalized or collapsing”.

Wikipedia helps with a few definitions. “Fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger.” This can be overcome by a good dose of positive spiritual awareness. The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends.

“Anger is a feeling related to one’s perception of having been offended or wronged and a tendency to undo that wrongdoing by retaliation.”  If we think of anger as having the same physiological effect on your body as injecting poison directly into your veins, then this will surely help you from retaliating when the negative emotion of anger surfaces.

“Worry is about thoughts and images of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made to avoid anticipated potential threats. As an emotion it is experienced as anxiety or concern about a real or imagined issue, usually personal issues such as health or finances or broader ones such as environmental pollution and social or technological change… a moderate amount of worrying may even have positive effects, if it prompts people to take precautions (e.g., fastening their seat belt) or avoid risky behaviours (e.g. cliff diving).” Generally, worry is a totally unproductive emotion.

Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realises or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that violation.  It is closely related to the concept of remorse.”  When experiencing guilt regard it as a wake up call, examine the cause and manage the process.

A useful antidote for the stress, induced by anger, fear, worry and guilt, is to treat yourself to a healthy dose of positive belief systems as exemplified by ambition, good relationships, self-confidence and security.  As a colleague of mine is wont to say, “practice makes improvement”; perfection is in the bailiwick of the Divine.

We will conclude with a quote from the J.C. Maxell’s Leadership Bible: “I believe people tend to think of leadership only in terms of action. But leadership is not only something you do; it is something you are. And that’s why leaders have such strong magnetism.  People are attracted to who they are. All leaders desire results, but being must precede doing. To achieve higher goals you must be a more effective leader.  To attract better people, you must be a better person yourself.  To achieve greater results, you must be a person of great character…If you are willing to do that, then you can leave the results to God”.  This is the ultimate formula for managing stress.