A Cowboy Called Home – by Rodger Dale Mangold II

February 10th 1949 brought the birth of a new baby boy,
Bud and Dovie called him Rodger Dale, inspired by a cowboy named Roy.

Just six years old when Gunsmoke aired, little Rodger Dale at once was smitten,
He wanted to be like Marshall Dillon, then again, what little boy his age didn’t?

The likes of Paladin and James T. West, blazed the trail for this young buckaroo,
As Roy Rogers and Dale Evans strummed guitar and crooned, “Happy trails to you.”

“Hi-yo Silver away,” atop his fiery horse, the masked Lone Ranger shouts,
His trusty side-kick Tonto just ahead, as each trail for danger he scouts.

Rodger’s boyhood was filled with cowboys and Indians, ranchers, rustlers, and wranglers,
But a good cowboy welcomes anyone to the campfire; partners, drifters, even strangers.

The years were kind to Cowboy Rodger, as he traveled the trails of life,
God blessed him with 3 buckaroos of his own, when sweet Deanna became his wife.

He worked hard each day to earn a living; that was the “Cowboy Way.”
As hard as he worked, sunup to sundown, he always took time to pray.

Everyday would find him singing or whistling; he was sure to make you smile,
He had a great big heart, and list of fine qualities, that went on for country mile.

At times Life would try to get the drop on Rodger, but his draw was fast as lightening,
With a wink and smile, that’s all it would take and your day was sure to brighten.

He lovingly showed us the “ropes,” always “steering” us in the right direction,
At times he’d have to “corral” us, but we knew he had the best of intentions.

He had some rough rides and saddle sores, but loved the Lord first and foremost,
Jesus deputized Rodger one New Year’s Eve night, filling him with the Holy Ghost!

Liberty Vance, Hopalong Cassidy, the “Duke” – John Wayne himself,
The “Singing Cowboy” Gene Autry, now fond memories upon Life’s shelf.

In the distance I hear “Load ’em up, move ’em out, Rawhide!” and “Yippee-ki-yay!”
Just slogans of yesteryear’s cowboys that have all but faded away.

“Give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above…Don’t fence me in.”
God’s prepared a ranch the size of Texas, for our faithful father and friend.

With cowboy boots and Stetson hat, a six-gun strapped to his side,
The cowboy I called “Daddy” has taken his heavenly ride.

Cowboy Rodger has gone to his heavenly home, where the deer and the antelope play,
He’s up there with Papaw, ridin’ the range, where the skies are not cloudy all day.

“Some trails are happy trails and some trails are blue,”
It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,
There’s a happy one for you.

Happy trails to you…until we meet again. We love you Dad!

February 10, 1949 – August 7, 2008

(Written August 28, 2008)

The Gavel of Truth

  • Truth attests; lies detest.
  • Truth binds us; lies bind us up.
  • Truth connects; lies dissect.
  • Truth consists: lies resist.
  • Truth conveys; lies betray.
  • Truth corrects; lies reject.
  • Truth creates victors; lies create victims.
  • Truth cures; lies obscure.
  • Truth defeats; lies retreat.
  • Truth defends; lies depend.
  • Truth does; lies try.
  • Truth exterminates; lies contaminate.
  • Truth hangs on; lies hang up.
  • Truth is selfless; lies are selfish.
  • Truth is strict; lies restrict.
  • Truth is the answer; lies are the cancer.
  • Truth leads us; lies lead us on.
  • Truth overcomes; lies succumb.
  • Truth overrides; lies ride over.
  • Truth promotes; lies demote.
  • Truth protects; lies project.
  • Truth refines; lies confine.
  • Truth reflects; lies deflect.
  • Truth refutes; lies dilute.
  • Truth resolves; lies dissolve.
  • Truth reveals; lies conceal.
  • Truth stands with; lies withstand.
  • Truth steps up; lies step out.
  • Truth travels alone; lies come in packs.
  • Truth will abound; lies keep you bound.
  • Truth will carry you; lies will bury you.
  • Truth will out give; lies will give out.
  • Truth will raise hope; lies erase hope.
  • Truth will refresh; lies will repress.
  • Truth will unite; lies will untie.
  • Truth will uphold you; lies will hold you up.
  • Truth will; lies won’t.

By: Rodger Mangold

The Dry Season

The sun is scorching you with what feels like laser beams of radiating heat. There’s an annoying ringing in your ears and a pounding sensation in your head. As the sand hits your face it feels tiny needles piercing your skin. The wind, it doesn’t stop here; it’s a force that continuously shifts sand and stone altering the landscape beyond all recognition. At times the gusts, hot and unpredictable, toss you around like the occasional “tumbleweed” that aimlessly races by you as if it were late for an appointment on the other side of the desert. You turn your back to the wind only to find that no matter which way you face, the wind swirls around you and soon you’re in a state of delirium. You don’t know north from south and east from west. Each step you take unknowingly forces you into a diabolical pattern of sorts. You remember hearing somewhere that if you’re right-handed, you likely favor your right leg as well and you will instinctively walk in a large circle, without the guidance of a fixed object or landscape to guide you, you’re lost.

“Just a drop of water,” you say to yourself, “would satisfy me for hours.” Your throat is parched; your tongue feels like an old piece of shoe leather and the grit from the blowing sand has found its way between your teeth as the persistent grains of sand siphon their way through your nose into your mouth. Your eyes are dry and the sand has clogged your tear ducts and each blink brings irritation and pain as your own unforgiving eyelids scrap across the surface of your eye ball like sandpaper.

The thought of dying this way never in a million years occurred to you but now it’s an increasing reality with each labored step you’re feeling closer to your doom. You just knew that you’d grow old wiling away the years in the comfort of your rocking chair.

“Do you hate me God?” You blurt out irreverent and belligerent, letting out a sarcastic chuckle, not expecting an answer anytime soon. “You’ve always been there for me before,” you yell “why are you ignoring me now?” You’d cry if there was an ounce of moisture left in you.

“How did I get here, somewhere I must have taken a wrong turn?” you mumble. “Somehow I must have mad God angry with me!”

Beneath your bare feet you feel something sharp crumble and your eyes become wide with horror as you realize it’s the dry bones of a previous traveler’s fateful demise. What shred of hope you had of survival is now gone. If you make it through this dry barren desert it won’t be by your own cunning and survival instincts. Only God can deliver you now and you become apologetic.

“Of course I know I’m not alone in all this God, I know you’re there. You said you’d always be there but I don’t feel you. I can’t see your hand at work in this. What’s worse is I don’t feel your love in this. Surely I must have done something to deserve this,” as you analyze the events of your life.

It’s easy to allow a sense of foreboding and condemnation to overwhelm you. The hopelessness is too much to bear you can easily see that giving up would be the logical thing to do here. You shrug those feelings off as you trudge on knowing full-well God wouldn’t purposely thrust you into a trial that would destroy you.

There’s a sudden silence and everything stops. Granules of sand pause in mid-air and the pounding of the sand against your wind-beaten skin stops. The throbbing in your head is gone, the sun’s torturing heat subsides and all is quiet.

There’s a whisper in the distance. As quiet as it is around you, your thoughts are still charged and your mind is still racing. You can’t make out what it is. It sounds like a still small voice, strangely familiar yet indiscernible.  You shake your head as if to loosen the incessant thoughts in your brain. “Is this one of those optical illusions or a mirage?” You question.

There it is again, yes, it is a voice, but not just any voice; the voice of a man. You’re quickly humbled as you realize just whose voice it is. There’s comfort in His tone, yet strength. There’s power yet compassion. You are suddenly and wonderfully aware of the presence of your Heavenly Father. The dangers you were surrounded with have been whisked away. The impending doom has turned to peaceful serenity. The moisture has returned to your eyes evidenced by the warm tears that run down your face. They’re not tears of sorrow but of joy unspeakable and full of glory. You feel the brush of a gentle finger wipe the tears from your eyes.

As abruptly as the winds ceased you were carried away to a place that was lush and green. The breezes were gentle and calm. There were sloping valleys and majestic mountain ranges. You found yourself beside a pool of cool clear water but strangely enough the desire for water had been satisfied not by this pool but by the exchange between you and your Savior. Moments ago you would have killed for a DROP of this water but somehow your appetite for things fleshly has changed. You realize man shall not live by bread alone but by every word the proceeds out of the mouth of God. As thirsty as your body had been for the cool clear water, you see now that the desert was only a type and shadow of what your soul has been enduring for many years.

There’s been leanness in your soul; a famine for the hearing of the Word of the Lord. The dearth in your soul can only be satisfied by seeking the face of the Master. He’s tenderly pleading for you to spend time in His presence. What you thirst for now are not the pleasures of this life. What you hunger for is not the fresh warm bread of the baker. Your soul is longing for communion with the King of kings and Lord of lords.

The desperation you felt in your body was painfully paralleled spiritually in your soul. The peril your body was experiencing has been a way of life with your soul for ages. You go day after day forcing your soul to get by on the dryness never affording it the joy and release it has so desperately longed for. Your soul delights in the presence of Jesus Christ yet you let days without number go by without so much as a whispered prayer. Your wilderness experience has given you valuable insight into things eternal…things that really matter. This wasn’t some arbitrary test meant to debase and demoralize you. Remarkably, your walk through the wilderness, that dry barren land, was a painful process but had a powerful purpose. You questioned God’s presence and motive in your trial when in reality He engineered it for the benefit of your soul. Now all you can do is praise Him for revealing this life-changing truth to you before it was too late.

Psalm 63:1-5 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:

By Pastor RDM

The Anointing

anointingoilclothssmall1.jpg

From the earliest days of man’s history, anointing has played an important role in the transference of God’s presence, power, and favor to His servants. As man grew more reliant on God’s power and sufficiency, and less on his own cunning craftiness, they learned there was much more that could be accomplished.

Jacob anointed the pillow on which he slept the night God revealed Himself from the top of the ladder of Heaven. Jacob anointed his pillow and it became a pillar.

The anointing, as it was applied to Aaron and his sons, took a man and his family, and established the Levitical priesthood. God took a man who had allowed Israel to fashion a golden calf in Moses’ absence, and a man who had challenged Moses’ authority, to be the foreshadowing of Christ, our Eternal High Priest because of the anointing.

It was the God of David that anointed his head with oil and his cup over ran. Yes, the same man, who as child had been anointed the future King of Israel, the same man who in his lust committed adultery and murder. The same man, who in his arrogance, numbered the children of Israel, was well acquainted with the Oil of Gladness. He repented and found forgiveness, and said, “I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”

Oil was a constant in the worship and sacrifice of Israel, and it is clear to see that the oil of the Old Testament was without doubt the precursor to the anointing of the Holy Ghost in the New Testament.

The five wise and five foolish virgins’ level of oil was indicative of their readiness for the bridegroom.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus told his disciples when they fast, not to be like the hypocrites, but to anoint their heads and wash their face, “That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”

The Samaritan tended to the wounds of the traveler with both oil and wine

In James, he commands the sick to call upon the elders of the church, to anoint and pray for them, and God shall heal them, and if there be any sin it shall be forgiven.

The anointing is not a static event in someone’s life. It is intended to activate the power, plan, and favor of God in all that it is applied to. The oil is the outward agent of the inward transference of God’s divine intervention in your life.

  • Use the Anointing Oil in every area of life…
  • Use it on the forehead of a sick child in the middle of the night.
  • Use it on the pillow of an unsaved loved one who refuses to answer the call of God on their life.
  • Use it on the vehicle of your teenager before they travel.
  • Use it on the job application or scholarship that you desperately want God’s favor in.
  • Use it to anoint a bill you cannot afford to pay and watch God unlock your finances.
  • Use it on yourself before you fast, and then wash your face.
  • Use it to anoint the doorposts of a new home or a home that is battling evil spirits.
  • Use it on a napkin or handkerchief like Apostle Paul to allow the transference of healing.

God’s Anointing, coupled with your prayer is unstoppable!

…and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.

Pastor RDM

Photo compliments of  Bro. Carlos Hernandez.

Please visit his blog at http://carloshernandezphoto.wordpress.com/ to view some of his artistry in documenting Apostolics in the 21st Century. Thanks Bro. Carlos!

Bipolar Disorder – May Prove to Have Advantages if Harnessed

Born March 30, 1853, Vincent Van Gogh, became a well-known artist during the impressionistic period of art. After suffering multiple mental problems, in 1888 Van Gogh commited himself into the Saint Remy Asylum. It was during this period that he completed one of his most famous creations, “Starry Night[1].” Anna Marie Duke was born to a household filled with turmoil. Her father was an alcoholic and her mother was an undiagnosed manic depressant. It was not until she was 8 years old that she was discovered by John and Ethel Ross, talent scouts were looking for young actresses. Pulling Anna from her troubled home, they whisked her away to stardom. After unofficially adopting her, the Ross’ changed her name to Patty, telling the young girl that Anna Marie was dead. “You’re Patty now.” By age 16 Patty became the first child recipient of an Oscar Award for her role in Helen Keller. After several years of a successful acting career the signs of depression began to exhibit themselves and in 1982 Patty Duke was formally diagnosed as “manic depressive” and tells of her account in her autobiography, “Call me Anna[2].” What do these two very famous people from completely different eras have in common? They both were bipolar. Vincent Van Gogh’s life ended in tragedy while Patty Duke to received lithium as treatment for her condition.

Bipolar disorder or manic depression can best be described as a serious mental illness that can affect a person’s ability to feel a normal range of emotions or moods. People that are diagnosed with bipolar disorder find themselves with moods that range from very high (manic) to very low (depression). Originally, the term manic depression was used to describe this mental illness but now bipolar disorder is used as it better described the extreme polarity of highs and lows that the patient experiences.

Symptoms that a patient with bipolar disorder may exhibit cover a wide range as one might imagine with an illness that spans such extremes. A patient during bouts with mania will exhibit behavior such as increased energy levels, less need for sleep, racing thoughts, are easily distracted, more talkative, stronger sense of self confidence, focused on getting things done but with little results, and indulgence in risky or unusual activities to an extreme. On the opposite “pole” these same patients, during a depression state, will exhibit such behavior as feeling sad or blue, loss of interest in things the person used to enjoy, feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness, variation in sleep patterns (too little or not enough), fluctuation in weight or appetite, feeling tired or lack of energy, and thoughts of suicide or preoccupation with thoughts of death. As researchers become more familiar with bipolar disorder they have come to the conclusion this illness is typically lifelong but with a variety of medicines and therapies the patients can go on to live relatively normal lives.

Vincent Van Gogh and Patty Duke are famous individuals but everyday common ordinary people battle bipolar disorder in a variety of ways. Patients, even after they are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, are able to hold jobs, raise families and go on to live productive lives. Medicines like mood stabilizers are effective in treating the “highs and lows” of the disorder. In addition, anti-depressants and anti-psychotics are often used in conjunction with mood stabilizers to stave off or help control the bouts of depression and mania. Another medical treatment that is not considered a drug is Electroconvulsive Therapy or ECT. This treatment has been found effective for patients that do not respond well to drug therapy.

Some goals of a professional that is treating a patient with bipolar disorder might include some of the following: control of acute manic and depressive symptoms, reduction in the amount and frequency of mood cycling and mood instability occur, to aid patients in the achievement of functioning at their highest level possible, minimization of side effects of treatments and to aid in the implementation of a rigid treatment management plan.

The professional that treats a patient that is bipolar will inevitably encounter the patients that feel as though they are “cured” and will not require the use of medication or therapy to live out a normal life. This in fact can be quite disastrous. Patients that begin to feel bipolar disorder is in “check” will stop taking their prescribed medication or therapy and at the behest of their treating professional, will experience further instability with regard to their management of the disorder. Some common excuses given by patients include:

  • I don’t want to take medication for the rest of my life
  • I feel better, there’s nothing wrong with me
  • I’m experiencing the side effects of the drugs; I sleepy all the time, I’m gaining weight, etc.
  • I disagree with my treatment

Patients taking medication for bipolar disorder must be frequently reminded and encouraged that this disorder is not to be considered a character flaw or weakness and treatment must be continuous or relapses or worsening effects of the illness will occur. Like a patient that has high blood pressure or cholesterol, a patient with bipolar disorder must continue their drug therapy, as prescribed, or bouts of the disorder will increase in frequency and intensity.

Alternatives to drug therapy may include talk therapy or psychotherapy. This therapy has been found to be quite effective in aiding the patient in isolating triggers of bipolar disorder. During talk therapy, the patient would discuss with a mental health professional their unique circumstances and relationships. This therapy aids the patient in assessing and evaluating their condition. With bipolar disorder, the patient can experience a wide array of feelings and emotions. A mental health professional can aid in helping the patient understand the source of these feelings and offer adjustment techniques to the gamut of emotions they are experiencing. It must be understood that talk therapy is not about getting advice or answers. Talk therapy should revolve around assisting the patient in understanding themselves, getting support and feedback in a open, honest and private setting. Different types of talk therapy are available and will depend on the severity of the bipolar patient as to which therapy is best suited to their needs. One-on-one therapy and group therapy are both effective but must be administered correctly and safely. Some therapies center on information and support while others encourage the patient to learn about themselves and their relationships. Overall, therapy of any sort should aid the patient in establishing confidence and to reduce the strain bipolar disorder places on an individual and their relationships.

According to the National Mental Health Information Center, 1 in every 100 people develops bipolar disorder[3]. No one has the same symptoms of this disorder nor will they experience it to the same degree. While the jury is still out on the exact cause of bipolar disorder, scientists now believe that it can be traced to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. If a patient has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder they should not be disheartened. There are numerous examples of people that go on to live out normal and productive lives. Some things a patient can do to increase the effectiveness of their therapy (drug, psycho therapy or ECT) is to take a vested interest in your disorder. Research is vital in the education and understanding of this disorder. Every day new hallmarks are being made in the treatment of bipolar disorder. It would behoove the patient to track their moods and emotions on a chart, to avoid triggers of mood episodes, and keep a list of questions for your mental health care provider. Staying informed and maintaining a discipline of taking your medication are 2 of most important things a patient can do to achieve a sense of normalcy in coping with bipolar disorder.

In conclusion, bipolar disorder does not mean a death sentence on your ability to live a mentally, socially and physically normal life. Some patients have even learned to harness their illness to achieve great success in life. It is believed by some that Van Gogh’s ability to paint was heightened by his emotional energy while coping with bipolar disorder. Patty Duke’s ability to act was attributed by some, to her ability to exhibit such extreme emotions. Sadly, this is still a disease and must be treated as such.

NOTE: The information contained in this article is not intended to in anyway advise or instruct the reader. It contains opinions and research as gathered by the author. Please consult your healthcare professional for expert medical and psychological opinions.

Bipolar Disorder – References and Sources

  • As noted in footnotes
  • Bipolar.com

[1] Reference: www.vangoghgallery.com

[2] Reference: www.bipolar/about.com/cs/celebs/a/pattyduke.htm

[3] www.mentalheatlh.samhsa.gov

The Strength of the Mighty Redwoods

The northern California coast plays host to the world’s tallest and most majestic tree, the Redwood. Known for its enormous height and beauty, the secret to the strength of this giant can be traced to its extensive root system. Towering up to 350 feet, the Redwood’s root system is surprisingly shallow. Buried no deeper than 6 to 10 feet below these skyscrapers, you will find a convoluted network that travels for miles beyond each individual tree to intertwine into a sophisticated root system. Seldom if ever, will you find a Redwood by itself and if you do it won’t be standing for long. Each tree weighing in at nearly 500 tons, their intertwined roots provide the stamina and stability that enable these ancient landmarks to stand for millennia. With a lifespan of nearly 2000 years, the success and longevity of this kingly tree is a direct result of the tapestry of interwoven roots that connect with other Redwoods.

It’s interesting to point out that despite the shallow nature of these roots, in the sandy soil of California; these trees have survived for centuries not independently but collectively. Jesus often referred to nature to illustrate points in his teaching and the example of the Redwood is no different. Were we to pattern the network of Bible-believing Apostolics in the Michigan District of the A.L.J.C. after these hearty pines, we would soon realize that our strength doesn’t come with standing individually but as a unified body. The Apostle Paul stated that we are members of one body. Yes, we are miles away but even a shallow yet strong network of roots could provide us with the stability and stamina we hold in such high regard when we view the Redwoods of California.

With the advent of computers, email, pagers, and cell phones, we’re left with little excuse for not keeping in contact with one another. If we bind together, we too can stand as pillars of truth in this life and the life to come. Let us take to heart the lesson the Redwoods teach us; united we stand and divided we fall. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Yes, saint of God, let us build a strong network of love, prayer and support one for another and while distance may seem like an obstacle to you and me, God is everywhere present and nowhere absent. God bless you all.

Onward — RDM

Stress – Causes, Effects, and Coping by Rodger Mangold

Time Magazine in its June 6, 1983 issue calls stress “America’s No. 1 Health Problem.”[1] Fast forward 26 years and the problem of stress is still plaguing the United States and doesn’t show signs of giving way anytime soon. With the scarcity of funds and negative economic indicators it is no wonder the American Psychology Association states that 73% of Americans name money as the number one factor that affects their stress level according to a 2004 APA survey[2]. Couple that fact with the leading source of stress being “job stress[3]” and with one directly affecting the other we can draw the conclusion that anxiety and stress are quickly becoming the psychological staple of the American family. It will be the intent of this paper to ascertain the causes, effects and strategies for coping with contemporary stress in our lives. The primary reason for specifying “contemporary” stress is that stress has become more pervasive and insidious as decades unfold and each generation is presented with unique challenges from a psychological perspective that can drastically differ from their predecessors. We will be defining stress, discussing the types and various sources of stress. A large portion of this article will be devoted to the importance of coping with stress as well some modern strategies for dealing with stress. Lastly, the author will share the results of a personal stress assessment and his intentions on implementing some coping skills learned from the research for this article.

Stress Defined
Defining stress brings with it a myriad of views. Simply put stress can be defined as an organism’s total response to environmental demands or pressures. Stress in humans results from interactions between persons and their environment that are perceived as straining or exceeding their adaptive capacities and threatening their well-being. The element of perception indicates that human stress responses reflect differences in personality, as well as differences in physical strength or general health.[4] One online source points out that in the field of stress research there is the difference in defining stress as “an external response that can be measured by changes in glandular secretions, skin reactions, and other physical functions, or is it an internal interpretation of, or reaction to, a stressor; or is it both?”[5] 

Top 10 Causes of Stress
From an externally identifiable source there have been attempts to identify the top ten stressful events in an individual’s life as follows: Death of a spouse, Divorce, Marital separation, Jail term or death of a close family member, Personal injury or illness, Marriage, Loss of a job due to termination, Marital reconciliation or retirement, Pregnancy and Changes in financial state.

The causes of stress largely depend on the individual and their ability to adapt and or their genetic pre-disposition to dealing with or coping with stressful situations. These stressful situations can range from births, deaths, reunions, to weddings. Personal relationships are a constant source of contention and stress as well, as an individual is called upon to balance the responsibilities of work and project deadlines and quality time with the family. More time at work could mean less time with one’s family while more time with one’s family and less time at work could add economic stress.

Medical View of Stress
From a medical perspective stress has deadly consequences. As our bodies attempt to maintain the state of homeostasis, the ability or tendency of an organism or cell to maintain internal equilibrium by adjusting its physiological processes (American Heritage Dictionary), stress sets in motion a series of chemical and hormonal changes that make homeostasis difficult. The survival instinct that is purported to be genetically implanted in our DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) is called “fight or flight.” This condition causes the following biological responses to take place, A) Heart rate and blood pressure increases the flow of blood to the brain to improve decision making B) Blood sugar rises to produce more fuel for energy. As a result there is a breakdown of glycogen, fat and protein stores C) Blood is diverted from the digestive tract where it is not needed for digestion and sent to the large muscles of the arms and legs to provide more strength in combat (fight), greater speed in retreating (flight) from the scene of danger D) Clotting takes place more rapidly to prevent excessive blood loss from cuts, scrapes or internal hemorrhaging. The endocrine system plays a vital role in “fight or flight” by setting in motion a cocktail of hormones including adrenaline, cortisol and other stress-related hormones. These internal mechanisms are intended as life saving measures to facilitate our ability to deal with physical dangers. With our sedentary lifestyles and lack of perilous situations on an ongoing basis our bodies are still prone to this “fight or flight” response in stressful situations. Repeatedly activated without the outlet of escaping the perils of the “fight or flight” we are at greater risk for a host of medical conditions that include hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, ulcers, neck or lower back pain, to name a few. For a pictoral of the medical effects of stress from the Washington Post click HERE.

Coping with Stress
Now that factors leading to stress have been identified a very important element in the discussion of stress that will be covered is coping. As there are a variety of sources and causes of stress so too are the strategies for coping. There were some intriguing findings in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology[6]. This article assesses how people cope with stress based on five scales with four items each that measure distinct aspects of problem-focused coping (active coping, planning, suppression of competing activities, restraint coping, seeking of instrumental social support). Within the scale there are two general ways in which people cope with stress. First is problem-focused coping which can be described as problem solving or doing something to alter the source of the stress. This method is often exercised when it is believed that something constructive can be done to eliminate or reduce the stress. Problem-focused coping has unique properties in that is centers on planning, taking direct action, seeking assistance, screening out other activities, and forcing oneself to wait before acting. 

Secondly, is emotion-focused coping that centers around reducing or managing the emotional distress that is associated with the situation. This method is predominately used when people feel that the stressor is something that must be endured. Emotion-focused coping typically revolves around denial, others embrace a positive reinterpretation of stressful events and still others involve seeking out social support.

 As we delve deeper into the coping aspect of a sub-element of problem-focused coping we find Active Coping. Active coping is a process in which steps are taken to remove or circumvent the stressor or to at least minimize its effects. Just as the name implies this style of coping tends to involve direct action on the part of the individual coping with the stress by increasing one’s efforts or involvement in an attempt to reduce or eliminate the source of stress. Also under the umbrella of problem-focused coping is Planning. Planning is thinking or dwelling on how to cope with a stressor. An additional element of problem-focused coping is Suppression of competing activities. This enables the individual who is attempting to cope to avoid dealing with competing and conflicting events that will enable them to better focus on dealing with the stressor.

Restraint coping involves the individual waiting until the appropriate opportunity. This requires that an individual would be holding back and deferring any action until either they are better equipped to handle the stress or if acting prematurely would simply aggravate the situation further. The last element, Seeking social support, is the process of seeking out advice or assistance in coping with stress. Essentially, this is seeking “moral support” or seeking knowledge and understanding about the source of the stress. Other more traditional methods for coping with stress include the following; medication, stress management programs, behavioral approaches, massage, cognitive therapy and mediation.

My Stress Assessment
As promised the author of this article will now reveal the results of an online stress assessment[7]. Personal Results of Test as follows: HIGH

A high level of stress puts you at increased risk of serious health consequences, including obesity, heart disease and depression. Take steps to lower your level now.

Stress is what you experience when the level of your stressors exceeds your ability to cope. To lower your stress level, you have two options.

You can start by identifying sources of stress that you can eliminate. Consider internal stressors, such as fears or unrealistic expectations, as well as external stressors, such as family or work demands. Next, seek out effective strategies for coping with stress, including exercise, painting, humor or simply saying no. If you need help identifying stress management strategies, talk to your health care provider.

In Closing
Upon review of the results of this research, which only scratches the surface, the author hereby intends on making lifestyle changes that are better suited to not only coping better with stress but preventing it. Another stress assessment put the author at risk for hypertension, stroke and even genetic predisposition for a heart attack unless measures to improve coping with stress are immediately taken. Taking this all into consideration from a generational standpoint we are training out children on how to identify and cope with stress now. It is our hope that they are better equipped to handle the stress of their day. As stated in the opening paragraph 26 years ago stress was the number 1 health problem – let’s hope 26 more years from now the problem that generation has is how to handle all their “stress-free time!”  – By Rodger Mangold 


[1] Time Magazine: June 6, 1983 “Stress! Seeking Cures for Modern Anxieties

[2] www.apahelpcenter.org/articles/topic.php?id=6 – American Psychology Association Website

[3] www.stress.org – Article from the American Institute on Stress

[4] Encyclopedia of Medicine

[5] Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine – Article by Paula Ford-Martin: Rebecca J. Frey, PhD

[6] Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1989, Vol. 56, No. 2, 267-283

[7] Mayo Clinic Stress Assessment – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-aassessment/SR00029