WELL-BEING By Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit (The Philippine Star) Updated April 13, 2010 12:00 AM
tress or tension is the absence of faith and so, to remove it, all you have to do is increase your faith,” says Rhonda Byrne of The Secret franchise. Those words created much impact on me as I felt mounting stress a week before our family vacation.
If you really think about it, Rhonda is perfectly correct in saying that. We feel mostly stressed when we do not seem to be in control. And yes, while we do feel swamped with a lot of things that are not under our control, there is a God who is in fact the Master of everything.
Daily exposure to little stresses that pile up and take consistent soft jabs at our health leads to a lot of illnesses, decreases our immunity, and even makes our waistline bigger. According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic stress is a result of long-term exposure to acute stress brought about by nagging day-to-day situations that seem unrelenting, such as relationship problems, work difficulties, and financial woes.
They further said that while mild stress can actually be beneficial in motivating and energizing us into action, the buildup of little things is really what stresses us out. Persistent stress, they warned, can lead to health problems such as headache and fatigue, poor concentration, depression, irritability, resentment, and isolation.
Understand Your Stressor
Like a nagging allergy, medicine may be able to tame the symptoms but not manage the disease altogether if you do not know what you are allergic to. The same goes for stress, you have to identify what really exasperates you.
Mayo classified stressors into external and internal. The external ones include major life changes, which can be either negative such as the death of a spouse or divorce or positive such as marriage or a promotion. They also took note of environmental stressors such as excessive noise or extreme brightness, unpredictable events such as calamities or a pay cut or those related to family (a nagging mother-in-law or a stubborn teenager), workplace (an impossible boss) or social (a blind date).
There are also internal triggers such as feelings and thoughts that cause us unrest. These include fears and apprehensions, uncertainties, negative attitudes, and unrealistic expectations stemming from a perfectionist or controlling personality.
If you have read or seen Byrne’s The Secret, you understand that any negative thought or attitude blocks the manifestation of the good that you want or are hoping for. Having said that, a negative disposition will continue to be negative as disappointments, rather than pleasant surprises, will keep on appearing in your life due to your attitude.
Where Faith Matters
Stress like tax is here to stay, we cannot escape it, but we can learn to manage it and cope with it.
According to Mayo, spirituality helps in managing stress because it makes you focus on what is most meaningful in your life (eliminating the non-essentials which most of the time cause stress). Faith also leads to valuable inner peace during difficult times as it elevates you to a purpose in life. Faith also allows you to surrender and release control as well as expect great things to happen.
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CHICAGO – A panel of scientists examined the mystery of what happens when hearts throb and lips lock. Kissing, it turns out, unleashes chemicals that ease stress hormones in both sexes and encourage bonding in men, though not so much in women.
Chemicals in the saliva may be a way to assess a
mate, Wendy Hill, dean of the faculty and a professor of neuroscience at Lafayette College, told a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on Friday.
In an experiment, Hill said, pairs of heterosexual college students who kissed for 15 minutes while listening to music experienced significant changes in their levels of the chemicals oxytocin, which affects pair bonding, and cortisol, which is associated with stress. Their blood and saliva levels of the chemicals were compared before and after the kiss.
Both men and women had a decline in cortisol after smooching, an indication their stress levels declined.
For men, oxytocin levels increased, indicating more interest in bonding, while oxytocin levels went down in women.
“This was a surprise,” Hill said.
In a test group that merely held hands, chemical changes were similar, but much less pronounced, she said.
The experiment was conducted in a student health center, Hill said. She plans a repeat “in a more romantic setting.”
Hill spoke at the session on the Science of Kissing, along with Helen Fisher of Rutgers University and Donald Lateiner of Ohio
Fisher said more than 90 percent of human societies practice kissing, which she believes has three components – the sex drive, romantic love and attachment.
The sex drive pushes individuals to assess a variety of partners, then romantic love causes them to focus on an individual, she said.
Attachment then allows them to tolerate this person long enough to raise a child.
Men tend to think of kissing as a prelude to copulation, Fisher said. She said that men prefer “sloppy” kisses, in which chemicals including testosterone can be passed on to the women in saliva. Testosterone increases the sex drive in both males and females.
“When you kiss, an enormous part of your brain becomes active,” she added. Romantic love can last a long time, “if you kiss the right person.”
Lateiner, a classical scholar, observed that kissing appears infrequently in Greek and Roman art, but was widely practiced, despite the spread of skin disease at that time by facial kissing.
And there was a potential for social faux pas by kissing the wrong person at the wrong time.
Overall, the science of kissing – philematology – is under-researched, Hill concluded. – AP
Column: New Feature
Source: Philippine Star
Updated February 15, 2009 12:00 AM