Herbs and Attitude: Stress, coughs, bronchitis, and flu
This is a series about your health starting with STRESS! We will start off by saying that stress is normal in day-to-day activities and keeps your immune system active. However the perception of stress when accentuated beyond the puppy peeing on the carpet as with today’s stimulus of economic collapse bombardment, employment loss, mounting debt and the ad nauseam dirge of news media often pushes you over the edge.
Proverbs 25:28 are applicable today as it was 4,000 years ago: that it is your personal decision and responsibility to “rule over his own spirit”. Philippians 4:8 relate you “must take responsibility for your thoughts”.
Stress is a ladder of effect on the human psyche. The breadwinner learns that he is going to lose his day job; the night job also is in doubt. Trudging home with this unresolved problem he becomes more and more anxious about his inability to solve the problem. Entering the home his wife has had a bad day with the children who are cranky, colicky, and uncooperative.
The husbands mounting stress, the inability to solve the problem of financial dithering, forces him to make one of two decisions. Psychological decisions that are inherent in all people: Fight, or Flight. He can grab the beer in the refrigerator and sedate himself (Flight from responsibility), or displace his growing anger (Fight), rub the refrigerator and displace his anger to his wife in this scenario: “Look at the dust on this refrigerator, why my mother would never, never have a dirty refrigerator …”
With this ball of anger passed, the wife goes into a Flight mode, runs from the kitchen to the bedroom and slams the door, signifying finality to sex.
There are of course variances to this scenario, but the root cause is the same: perceived stress about a problem he is unable to resolve, anxiety, guilts, and then primal responses. Therapists and counselors will offer understanding and techniques how to deal with these issues; there are texts and popular books also on dealing with issues. Fundamentally we must all habituate ourselves into a state of calmness, for the brain does produce endorphins that reward positive decision-making. Also the wife will unlock the door.
What feeds stress other than the initial shock is worry: Mathew 6:25-34 states: “Worry is a waste of time and energy”. Some women are by nature broody, resolving stress with rationalizations consistent with unfulfilled childhood fantasies. As a case in point Migraine headaches are often found in young women of intellectual capacity, physically tall and assertive. As stress mounts the compass of problems, solving may take a different path, towards a dysfunctional physiological state, and as the years pass it manifests it self in deeper roots of depression and disease.
What is interesting is that the Unconscious drives (ID) in the brain do not know the difference between inflicting self-pain or self-reward. The ID only wishes, and it is for the balanced and adaptive EGO to differentiate perceptions of reality to cope with life’s stresses.
At this point we are reminded of the non-denominational Serenity Prayer:
“God, give me the strength to deal with the stresses I can deal with and the wisdom to know what stresses I cannot deal with.”
There are variances to this prayer, but the message is the same. Do not overburden your self. Just take it one day at a time.
In this stressful time of economic fear, it is fear that is an underlying lynchpin of stress. It is your fear of unresolved conflicts and if you cannot solve them, well let them go. There are always other avenues to pursue when you seek wise counsel. Joshua 1:9
Some people have learned from childhood to save stresses, compartmentalizing them and release them in a burst of hateful feelings and behaviors, cherishing them subconsciously for the big released blow up of anger. Eventually this pattern leads us into personality dysfunctions.
In the beginning children model from their parents and if the parents are not adaptive and dysfunctional the child will grow up and have similar patterns of problem solving. This can be salvaged in the young, but be more difficult as the child grows into adulthood. Medications from the Medical Profession may be helpful and certainly warranted in severe cases. Always seek medical advice first.
For the beginning herbalist in seeking health through God’s Pharmacy you must first examine your own lifestyle. You may have to give up completely what you think is acceptable food and drink, illegal substances, over the counter drugs, alcohol excesses, negative social activities and reckless behaviors.
Recently I told a fellow who had hypertension he had to give up Mc Donald’s Fast Food. “ I can’t!” He cried.
“Did you ever think of making your own lunch?” I told him about the video DVD: “Super Size Me.” His hypertension index came down, and with the addition of garlic in his diet and Hawthorn Tea, he has made marvelous progress.
Children can enjoy Lemon Balm tea, very calming and healthful. We eliminated soft drinks which all leach the bones of calcium-the building block of our life form. Our children drank, on the farm, goat’s milk, spring water, and ate their broccoli.
Stress and sleeplessness often requires that you set rules about your patterns. In my case, I gave up Television years ago. If I happen to see the news in the dentist office I note it is no different over the years, just a continued grind of misery and growing violence. I have a rule about my one weakness: Coffee. Two cups in the morning-certainly none after 3PM. No soft drinks. No tobacco. I enjoy a nice mild cup of Valerian tea before early bed and brush my dogs as a ritual of caring.
I do want to mention Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that haunts me from the years of combat in Viet Nam. I am aware that my fellow service members from the past and present are experiencing this disorder and I stand ready to state I have been at the extreme edge as many are now, and through years of resolving this issue I have come to peace.
However PTSD is not the bailiwick of war only, it is common in battered women and children, victims of rape, incest, and a host of other terrible atrocities. In time many may find peace, but you are never cured.
I would like to recommend: “The Family Herbal” by Barbara and Peter Theiss, originally published at Healing Arts Press, One Park Street, Rochester, Vermont 05657.
Learning to control your perceptions of stress is paramount to your health. Unremitting stress will kill you.
Next week we will look at the 100-day cough.
Email me at: Back2theland@sw.va.net
COPYRIGHT: 2008, Back2theLand, Mark Steel