Over the Memorial Day holiday, I watched a T.V. program narrated by Robert Redford about the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. The visual images were stunning, so much so that they got me thinking about stress (which is not hard to get me to do).
Now most people don’t think about stress and the Grand Canyon in the same breath…but I do! That’s because they both remind me of slow, gradual, relentless erosion.
Think about all the millions of years of slow, gradual erosion that caused the Grand Canyon to form. Each year might not have produced much in the way of noticeable change. But over time, the wear and tear took its toll.
Stress And The Human Body
In much the same way, chronic stress can have a slow, gradual, detrimental effect upon our bodies. Day after day, week after week, month after month and so on, the effects of stress don’t seem all that impressive, but when summed over the course of a lifetime, they too can produce sizable erosion and loss of body integrity (and health).
What if we “pictured” stress in our minds as having similar destructive effects as the Colorado River had on the Grand Canyon? Do you think we would have any more urgency for doing something about it?
Have you noticed how complacent and accepting we are of having lots of stress in our lives—on a daily and yearly basis?
That’s why watching a television show about the Grand Canyon made me think about stress. We just keep carrying on, putting up with chronic daily stress like it was some kind of badge of courage, and then 20 or 40 years down the line, we wake up and there’s this giant hole inside us.
Maybe it’s a giant hole in our heart or in our stomach? Maybe it’s a giant hole in our brain caused by a stroke. Or maybe it’s a giant hole in our lungs or in our liver caused by cancer that has spread.
At some point down the road, the river of stress is going to eat away at our vigor and vitality. But unlike the Grand Canyon, we can look back and have the awareness that we could have done things to prevent all this erosion.
If we just weren’t so complacent. After all, it’s just a tiny river. How much damage can it actually do?
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