Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"Body and Spirit" -> Friends Can Decrease Stress

The picture in this post shows my kids and my wife's parents enjoying fireworks in Seattle from my Dad's property. As you can tell, they are having the time of their lives. One funny thing that I've noticed with my kids: they often end up in similar emotional states. I won't say that certain kids don't have problems worse than the rest, but, generally, they all work toward the same emotional state. I think my wife and I can see more of this because we homeschool them, and a good attitude can be caught and passed around. On the other hand, a bad attitude can also be caught.

Yesterday we talked a bit about stress hormone call glucocorticoids. If you listened to radio lab, you will have a much better idea of what these stress hormones do to your body.

In Radiolabs program, they discussed some things that you can do to control stress, and these include:

1. Go beat on somebody else
2. Go chew on a piece of wood
3. Pretend you have control over the situation

Now, the program was highly slanted toward trying to look at animals and their behavior then extrapolating this to humans, which is many times a very bad idea. I will suggest that the first step in lowering stress is the following:

Prob 22:24,25

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man,
do not associate with one easily angered,
or you may learn his ways
and get yourself ensnared.

Who we hang out with influences our character and our worldview. The influence of our friends cannot be stated too strongly. If you want to be positive, hang out with positive people. If you want to be angry, hang out with angry people.

In the same way that my kids influence each other, your friends, your school mates and your work environment will rub off on you.

For my wife and I, this is why we are living outside of the system with our kids. We have a happy marriage that saturated with our faith. We want this environment to rub off on our kids. It seems to be working. I cannot tell you the number of times that we have been told that our kids are "special" and "some of the best kids I've seen." One babysitter said, "I have never had a job as easy as taking care of your kids." How many families with kids ranging from 5 to 12 have each one giving each other hugs and telling the others how much they love them. To many families, this seems like science fiction.

Now I won't say that there aren't days when life is on the verge of utter collapse because having four kids in one house will challenge anybody. However, I think we are passing around more good attitudes than bad.

The choice to lower your stress is yours. You make it every time you go out to lunch with your friends. The right friends will lower your stress. The wrong will give you a lousy attitude.

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