7 Habits of Highly Effective People [Book Review]
Half Time [Book Review]

Adrenaline and Stress [Book Review]

Arch_hartDr. Arch Hart, co-founder of the Hart Institute, has written a very good book on Adrenaline and Stress that is worth reading. Dr. Hart is well known for his ministry to churches through psychological training, education, and consultation. A former dean of the School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary, he is now retired from full time teaching. Dr. Hart has published 24 books.

A few years back, I had the privilege of taking a two-week intensive course on The Minister's Personal Health (as part of my Doctor of Ministry program through Fuller Theological Seminary) with Dr. Hart and I learned so much from this wise man, especially in the area of healthy life and ministry habits.

Here are a few insights from this book:

Concerning life in general ...

  • We must conquer 'time urgency' and 'hurry sickness'. A sense of time urgency produces hurry sickness, which involves an internal state of emergency.
  • Constant 'stretching' damages us (like a rubber band).
  • We need time for rest and relaxation, contemplation and meditation.
  • Life should be hills and valleys, highs and lows, pressure and relaxation. Balance is the key.
  • Learn to slow down. Plan ahead and avoid rushing.  Learn to laugh more.
  • Learn to live with 'unfinished business' and be content.
  • Jesus’ life was a model of unhurriedness and balanced priorities.

Concerning stress ...

  • Even positive things can cause stress.
  • Stress can come from real or imagined events or activities.
  • Stress can be from within or without.
  • The stress that kills is not the stress of crisis. It is the stress of challenge, high-energy output, and over-commitment.
  • Exciting stress takes its toll as much as fears and threats.
  • Prolonged stress wears down our system.
  • Stress begins in the mind but ends up in the body.
  • Learn to read your own stress symptoms.
  • Our body has alarm, activation, and recovery systems. Co-operate with them.
  • Our 'need' for people can create stress, especially if we are a 'people-pleaser'.
  • Be yourself. Be assertive. Good people skills minimise stress.
  • Genuine love and forgiveness helps reduce our people-related stress. Love is not a 'feeling' or the same as 'liking'. It is a set of behaviours.
  • A relaxed body leads to a relaxed mind.
  • Stress reduces creativity.
  • Relaxation reduces stress. Relax hourly, daily and weekly. Force yourself into inactivity. Be quiet, get comfortable, relax your muscles, and focus your attention.

Concerning adrenaline ...

  • Heart disease is the #1 killer today. The pace of life and stress contribute to heart disease. A constant state of emergency creates much wear and tear on our heart.
  • Excessive adrenaline arousal is like living in high gear or constant emergency. It is like revving an engine in high speed continually.
  • Adrenaline can be addictive.
  • Be aware of things you may be addicted to that give you pleasure and a sense of escape.
  • Ensure that you have adequate 'recovery time' after times of high excitement.
  • Learn to function with less adrenaline.
  • Relax before high demand activities. Don’t psyche yourself up. Don’t try so hard.
  • After periods of high demand, move back to a non-emergency mode as quickly as possible. Force yourself to slow down.
Concerning sleep ...

  • We need all the sleep we can get. Too much is not a problem.
  • Keep your 'sleep bank' account balance high. Make extra deposits if necessary.
  • There’s a price to pay for the 'efficiency' of less sleep.
  • Take time to 'turn down' before going to sleep at night.

There's lots of food for thought there!


Different people carry different levels of stress and adrenaline in their system. And for some people, a shot of "organised" adrenaline is good for the mind.

It seems to me that the only reason there is even a debate about the underlying thesis here is that if anybody ever tried to advance it in a substantial forum their voice would be drowned by the chorus of boomer going "La la la, can't hear you..."

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