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No Stress
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

The rising level of stress in modern western society is exacting a heavy toll, both in psychological disturbances such as depression and anxiety, and physiological illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis and others.

Both types of illnesses are now considered a global pandemic, with the number of affected individuals rising by the day. The connection between stress and unhealthy lifestyle choices is familiar to anyone who has found themselves scarfing down a chocolate bar before an important test. However, the exact biological processes underlying these urges have only recently been revealed. Dr. Alon Chen of the Department of Neurology at the Weitzmann Institute recently discovered a gene that  is activated specifically when one is undergoing stress.  The activation of this gene leads to the metabolic changes that cause the above-mentioned morbidities.

Of all the desired emotional characteristics, the most important one is confidence. Self-confidence leads to a sense of inner peace and security that cannot be shaken, regardless of external circumstances. This state of mind derives from the absolute faith that everything that comes from Above is good. Therefore, everything that happens is good, because "It is the nature of good to do good."

Such people never feel stressed or pressured. They are not affected by environmental factors because they are connected to the source of all reality – to the Divine purpose underlying everything that happens. They know for certain that all is going exactly according to plan.

Even if the situation doesn't seem good now, they feel confident that it will soon be revealed how it was all for the best. In the end, the true goodness does become apparent. This is the award awaiting the believer – it  leads to the actual fulfillment of the desired event. This phenomenon underlies many medical miracles, which science can hardly explain.

There are people to whom this level of faith and confidence comes naturally. Others must work hard on themselves to internalize it, to reach an optimal state of mind and mental health.

In the future, says Maimonides, "There will be no hunger and no war, no jealousy or competition... for all good things will be freely available." Nothing will disturb our inner calm. After thousands of years of anxiety and heartache, we will finally come to the ultimate peace. Stress and pressure will no longer be felt.

The gene that Dr. Chen implicated in stress-related reactions in the body will have to find a new job. Maybe it will be useful in releasing our inner joy, which is also a state of high arousal, but in a positive way.

Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.



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