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Calm Down!

We are all familiar with symptoms of stress—muscles tightening, heart racing, face flushing, rapid breathing. Stress is the bodys natural response to a situation it perceives as threatening, a way of gearing up for fight or flight. Under stress, the body releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that stimulate the heart, increase blood flow to the muscles and raise the bodys blood sugar levels in preparation for the demands placed on it.

The problem is when the stress response, meant to be short-term, becomes chronic, such as when we interpret even mild irritations and setbacks as calamities, and the body gets revved up as a result. Bathing the body constantly in stress hormones leads to a host of health problems, from diabetes to heart disease and stroke, and mental illnesses such as depression. A maladaptive stress response affects not only the individual but also their family members and contacts. We all know how uncomfortable it is to be around a person who is constantly irritable and nervous, or who overreacts to the slightest provocation.

Researchers have pinpointed several common factors that lead to chronic stress: coping with changing circumstances, uncertainty, ego threats and loss of control. These situations cause anxiety, which bring in their wake all the damaging effects of stress. We tell people to let go and calm down, but for those who are already under stress, such advice serves only to exacerbate their tension.

At the root of stress and anxiety is the erroneous belief that we are in control of whatever happens to us. The truth is that whatever happens to us is in G-ds hands. He wants us to put forth maximal effort, but the end result is up to Him.

This rock-solid faith is what we fall back on in the face of all threats and worries. It is clear that G-d desires only good for us, and knows what is to our benefit better than we do. The problem is that every time we are faced with a challenge, we tend to forget this lesson and once again we fall prey to anxiety.

With the revelation of Moshiach, the world will be inundated with a wave of pure trust in G-d, such that even the lamb will no longer fear the wolf. We can begin to live now in the spirit of Redemption. By studying and internalizing the Torahs teachings on Redemption, we can sense how G-ds wisdom calms the turbulence of the animal soul and frees us from everyday pressures and concerns. We will be enveloped with a sense of serenity, and in this way we will greet Moshiach with joy.
 

 


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