Nerves Can Suffer From Stress in Variety of Ways

Nerves of one kind or another control literally every part of your body. Every function of your entire body is under control of the nervous system. Every organ, tissue, cell is controlled by nerve impulses traveling from the brain to every part of the body.

Nerves make possible all sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Nerves maintain your balance and keep your body temperature at 98.6 degrees. Nerves make it possible to swallow. Nerves make your bowels move.

Nerves control your liver, lungs, spleen, pancreas, gall bladder, and kidneys. In fact, the nervous system is the master system which controls all other systems of the entire body, including the glandular, reproductive, digestive, eliminative, respiratory and circulatory systems.

From the standpoint of pure anatomy, your body has two general nervous systems. The somatic or the voluntary is the one over which you have conscious control. To say it another way, with this system you move various parts of your body. You can make a part of your body do certain things.

The autonomic or involuntary system, over which you exercise no direct control controls digestion, heart beat, etc. The autonomic is further divided into a sympathetic and a parasympathetic system. One tends to keep the other in balance. One is the motor and the other, the brakes. We could liken the parasympathetic to the brakes and the sympathetic to the motor.

So if an individual is constantly “keyed” up (over-active sympathetic) and the parasympathetic is trying to counter (the brakes) it is quite similar to one driving along with one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brakes. If this is continued long enough, the brakes burn out and the control is lost.

When you get nervous or have a case of “nerves,” it simply boils down to an overactive or overdominant sympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system prepares your body for “fight” or “flight” in case an emergency arises. But you can also get the same reaction from thought. If the sympathetic becomes dominant, there are several things that you will readily recognize that happen immediately: Your heart beats faster, your mouth gets dry, you get “butterflies in your stomach,” etc., to mention only a few of these.

You have noticed these when you become frightened or when you worry over something which might have ill consequences. Hate, envy, jealousy, greed, cynicism, worry, wrong-doing, gossip, “failure to live up to the Joneses” and the like create situations of “fight or flight.” These then put the sympathetic into action; it soon dominates; the “motor” picks up tempo; the “brakes” or the parasympathetic come into play to counteract as much as possible and you have a case of “nerves.”

I had a dear pastor friend, who went on to his reward a few days ago. They’re not sure of all that happened to him or in his body. All I know is I talked with him less than a month before he died, and he was totally fine.

In 30 days, he lost his eyesight; it went from seeing dark shadows to not seeing at all. His hearing got worse daily to almost totally gone. Last he lost his ability to walk. He was only 33 years old, young, dynamic and powerful. All they said they could find was a tumor on the back of his brain stem that they say grew quickly and affected his nervous system. Please keep the family of Pastor Tim Starkey in your thoughts. I will miss him.

One of the most stressful jobs on the planet is the job of the policeman or policewoman. Although the police officer’s job is viewed by the community as one fraught with danger, there are more stressful pressures in the job than fighting crime, according to F.A. Shenkman, who at one time was a criminologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

The part of police work that the public sees as most hazardous — apprehending criminals — is actually the least stressful to the police, he says. “It’s not only the obvious pressures like being killed in the line of duty, but the less obvious pressures such as boredom and lack of pay, upward mobility and administrative and public support,” said Dr. Shenkman.

Although their first objective is fighting crime, police instead find themselves fighting:

Economic pressures. Shenkman says that although starting salaries for the police are fairly good, average salary is below what it should be dealing with the stress of the job, and some times the police have very little chance of substantial monetary gains.

Shift change. Contributing to the stress that comes with the job are the changes that an officer’s sleep patterns must undergo. Although police can get used to working late at night to early in the morning on the graveyard shift, they are often switched monthly from one shift to another.

Boredom. A familiar saying in the policing profession is “police work is hours of monotony broken by moments of stark terror.” Although the media portray the policeman’s job as being one of continuous action and intrigue, actually most policing time is spent riding in the squad car by yourself.

My uncle, who was a policeman in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and one of the many reasons we pray for and support the police, would talk about the system. While there exist a number of ways an officer can be penalized for poor performance, there are few rewards for a job well done, Shenkman said. These must follow constitutional, statutory, case law and departmental guidelines as embodied in the exclusionary rule, which prohibits use in a trial of evidence which was illegally obtained.

Gen. Ulyssess S. Grant, in his memoirs, tells how one night he was dizzy and could not see well because of violent headaches. His entire body ached. The next morning a horseman galloped up to him with a note of surrender from Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Grant said, “I was instantly cured when I saw the contents of the note. Every pain left me; even my headache.” He was sick from worry!

In reality, worrying too much can become or lead to sickness. Rather we realize it or not it is harmful to the human body, which in my belief is God’s temple. If allowed next month I would like to talk about some keys to living a stress-free life.

I am not saying it is easy, or that I am good at it. I am just saying it is possible, and may be it is easier than you think.

The Rev. Darrell W. Cummings is pastor of Bethlehem Apostolic Temple in Wheeling and Shiloh Apostolic Temple in Weirton.

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