Stress and The Human Body

I wonder if you've ever had an experience like the one I went through a few years ago?

I'd gone to bed early one night and I was lying there waiting for my wife to finish doing some work in the kitchen.  As she loaded the dishwasher, I could hear its gentle swish, swishing from the other end of the house.  Then suddenly, I realized that it wasn't the dishwasher at all.  It was the squishy, rhythmic sound of my own heart beating in my ear, instead of my chest, where it belonged.  This pounding went on for a week, and it began to drive me crazy.  I finally made an appointment with a specialist who told me that the muscles in my face were squeezing the vessels near my ear and I was actually hearing the blood trying to get past those constricted channels.  "It's not dangerous," he told me.  "It's caused by stress.  You're running too fast."  I said, "I suppose you're going to try tell me to slow down."  "Nope," he replied with a smile.  "I can't control my own life.  Why would I try to help you how to manage yours?"  The doctor had it right.  Stress is a fact of life in this high-speed culture.  It can make your head hurt, your intestines wretch, and your blood pressure soar.  It can even make your ears pound and squish in the night.  Stress is the price we pay for being racehorses, instead of cows. 

But why do we live such hectic lives?  I don't know, but I'm convinced that this kind of breathless living not only threatens our physical bodies, but it can be devastating to family life, as well.

With Focus on the Family, this is Dr. James Dobson.

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