You have this horrible headache that started last month. Advil, a daily glass of wine, and massages won’t keep it away. Should you go to the doctor? Is something seriously wrong? Maybe you just need to eat healthier foods and drink more water. Maybe more exercise? Any number of remedies can and further investigation is probably warranted.
While headaches and other ailments can be brought on by a serious problem, a plausible explanation is stress. More than ninety percent of our trips to the doctor are in some way linked to—not always caused by—stress, whether it is a cold or nagging back pain. Stress can also increase our risk for cancer, stroke, and heart disease. This is why many experts call it “the silent killer”: Stress can actually kill us if untreated.
To keep these major diseases at bay, a quality stress management program should be a key part of a daily routine. Regular exercise, well-balanced meals, plenty of water, and a good night’s sleep are great stress busters. Just maybe though something often overlooked is missing: other people. Most of don’t have enough time in our busy schedules for exercise and adequate meals, let alone spending quality time with other people. But research shows that social support, the help we receive from others in dealing with life’s struggles, can give us a solid health boost!
We are social beings by nature—the desire to be around others is programmed into our DNA. In order to get food, water, and shelter—the basic life necessities—we have to get outside of ourselves and interact with people. It makes sense that reaching out to others can help us fight diseases like cancer. Maybe this seems odd when society tells us that asking for help is a sign of weakness. A major cause of stress, however, is taking on more burdens than we can handle by ourselves. What do we do? Listen to mainstream society and take on all of our problems by ourselves, thereby risking our health? Or do we risk being labeled as “weak” and ask others for help, admitting we can’t handle a struggle by ourselves?
Allowing others into our lives is painful because it requires taking on some vulnerability and admitting we can’t do it all ourselves. Doing so, however, reminds us that we have a place, a purpose, and a connection to so many people in God’s family. Our lives have meaning and value. All of these ideas are vital to our well-being because they help us to develop the skills we need to fight life’s inevitable battles. We need to then use these skills to help others in their battles, so that we all might have a better place to live!
Author Bio: Paul Reynolds is a writer with over ten years of experience in writing and editing a variety of marketing materials, informational health documents, and research reports. He holds a BS in Biology and an MS in Health Promotion Management. His interests are in health and wellness (particularly social support and stress management) and faith. He is also interested in the connections between faith and health has a passion for writing about this. You can find out more about him here.