Dr. 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 ...
Concerning sleep ...
Concerning adrenaline ...
- 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!