The wise old Solomon once said, “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.”
The word heaviness is a Hebrew feminine noun meaning anxiety, care, and worry.
To paraphrase what King Solomon said, “A person’s anxiety will weigh him down, but an encouraging word makes him joyful.”
Other words for anxiety according to the Oxford Dictionary are worry and STRESS.
Stress and your body.
According to medical research, stress arises from when you view change, pressure, and circumstances as burdens and perceive the demands as threats. You feel a sense of frustration and helplessness.
Repeated or prolonged stress can trigger physiological reactions that may involve more than 1500 different chemical changes in the brain and body! This may lead to an exhaustion of mental and physical energies and increased susceptibility to disease.
In a Harvard study, people who coped poorly with stress became ill four times more often than those with good coping skills. Stress affects our immune system, heart function, hormone levels, nervous system, memory and thinking, and metabolic rate. It raises cholesterol, blood pressure, and uric acid levels. Furthermore, stress kills brain cells and appears to prematurely age the adult brain.
In a paper entitled Spirituality and Immunity, Stephen Marini, Phd, lists studies that shows the following results of stress at the cellular level:
- Wound healing takes nine days longer.
- Intercellular communication is decreased.
- The immune system is suppressed.
- Increased bacterial infections.
- Decreased ability to handle invading toxins.
“We don’t have pills for this”, says Moshe Frenkel, MD, medical doctor of the Place of Wellness at the M.D. Anderson cancer clinic in Houston, Texas.
Science is confirming what King Solomon knew more than two thousand five hundred years ago, a person’s anxiety will weigh him down!
There are many ways to cope with and learn to manage stress. A list of practical things we can do to nudge ourselves toward joy and happiness are,
Positive beliefs, spirituality, prayers, positive images and visualizations, optimism, intention, energy psychology, positive attitude, gratitude, happy social networks, acts of kindness and meditation.
The wise Solomon said a good word maketh it (the heart) glad. The word good also means well-pleasing, fruitful, proper, kind, and that which is appealing and pleasant to the senses according to the Hebrew Dictionary.
Therefore, a pleasant, well-pleasing, and kind word, will make the heart joyful.
Many times when a person is under stressful circumstances, he or she withdraws from positive influences, happy social networks and forgets to be grateful for the many blessings they still have. They are only focused on what they don’t have or the worst thing that can happen under these circumstances.
Fear is really the ability to imagine the worst. Fear is the underlying root of all stress.
When our prayers are filled with positive words that come from our hearts and we can still say thank you, our perception of the world changes and many times our situations as well.
I am reminded of where Jesus had to feed five thousand people with only two fishes and five loaves of bread. He looked up to heaven with the two small fishes and five loaves of bread in his hands and thanked his Father. A situation, which would cause enough stress for you and I to have an anxiety attack. In today’s terms, we could say that there are suddenly some unexpected bills, for which there is no provision made. Stress, anxiety, worry, and fear.
With a sincere heart of gratitude for the little we have, we not only open heaven’s doors but also cause our heart and mind to experience joy and happiness.
Our attitude of gratitude, positive beliefs and prayers, precede the changes we so desperately need!
The ability to experience joy and happiness is not dependent on other people or favorable circumstances but really within our own hands, or rather, within our own hearts, minds and mouths.
Analysis of thirty studies by Dutch professor Ruud Veenhoven found that happiness adds between seven and ten years to your lifespan.
Not only is happiness healthy, it’s contagious. In a large scale study researchers found that having a friend who’s happy increases your chances of happiness by 15%.
Now, since our social networks are largely under our control, it is again up to you and I to socialize with those who add joy and peace and inspiration and love to our lives!