If only I lost those extra pounds, If only so-and-so wasn't in my life, If only I got a raise, If only I was younger, If only I hadn't said that...
These refrains can seem as solid as a concrete wall. They have a way of putting off happiness and health in the present, making them seem like only a remote possibility in the future.
I've found that if I can detect these sneaky thoughts quickly, and do something about them, they lose their foothold. Take grudges, for example. There are plenty of studies that show how holding onto past wrongs is a negative influence on health.
“Spirituality should be considered one of the vital signs in the care and treatment of patients,” said Christina M. Puchalski, MD, FACP, Founder and Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish). She was speaking to over 400 chaplains, physicians, nurses, and researchers from all around the world who were attending the second annual HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) Caring for the Human Spirit Conference held in Orlando in late April. The attendees participated in various workshops and several of them focused on integrating spirituality into care for those suffering from mental illness.
I often talk about 'love' in my writing, and find that this word 'love' is the word that is most often misunderstood in the human language.
We seem to want to categorise it by psychological terms, such as emotional, platonic, parental or romantic. Some just want to question its existence at all, by replacing it with its opposites - dependency, manipulation or lust. But the very essence of us is pure, unconditional love; love for ourselves and love for each other.
Fasting has long been considered a religious practice that focuses on abstaining from food and drinks for periods. The purpose is to free oneself from materialism through cultivating a closer connection to the divine.
However, as religious life fades and food becomes increasingly abundant and accessible in Western culture, fasting as a religious practice is on the decline in our more secular society. At the same time, there has been a dramatic increase in the so-called ‘lifestyle’ diseases-diabetes, some cancers and heart disease-which studies indicate have their origin largely in the quantity and type of food we eat.
Sitting at my desk, I look at a painting which depicts a young Lakota daughter leading her horse out of the trees into a clearing. It speaks to me of the spiritually innate nature of love, which we each possess, that can help lead the lost out of darkness.
This article was published on Arizona Silver Belt (subscription only paper - link above is to Arizona Committee blog) on April 22, 2015
LOOK IN A NEW DIRECTION FOR HEALTH/HAPPINESS?
By Donald Ingwerson
As a former public school educator, I’ve often wondered why parents consistently rated their children’s schools better than schools that other children attended. It turns out that first-hand experience matters in how we perceive things.
I still recall the moment decades ago that my faith made a U-turn. It wasn’t so much a carefully thought-through turnaround as it was a desperate one. And it marked the end of weeks of periodic migraine headaches.
Almost daily I would experience those headaches and they’d bring to a halt whatever I was doing. When they happened during the workday I shut the office door and put my head down on the desk. I wasn’t inclined to use medication, and a friend of mine who struggled with the same problem, but who had tried several medications, said they brought him no relief.
Fixer Upper has taken HGTV by storm. It's the popular home design show featuring Chip and Joanna Gaines, a dynamic and totally endearing couple from Waco, Texas who are known for taking the worst house on the best street and turning it into the house everyone wants.
A video recently circulated on my Facebook news feed featuring Joanna's story of her inspiring trust in God's direction for her life purpose. Judging from the number of repeat shares, I suspect my husband and I weren't the only ones who got a bit misty-eyed after watching it.
Everyone has the right to know that they have something to contribute.
By Anna Bowness-Park
The recent movie, “The Second Best Marigold Hotel,” stars a cast of my favourite older British actors playing the roles of seniors living in India. To me, like the first movie about the Marigold Hotel, this one is not so much about age as it is about life. Whether it is the cranky but wise Muriel (played by Maggie Smith), hilariously dressing down an American waiter on the proper way to serve tea, or Sonny, the young hotel manager (Dev Patel), whose insecurity about his upcoming nuptials threatens to derail the wedding, it’s life in all its tender, poignant and funny moments that is examined, against a backdrop of the color and vibrancy of India.
MANY Christians and Bible scholars appreciate the soaring beauty, simplicity and spiritual insight of the Biblical parable, ‘The Good Samaritan’, related by Christ Jesus to a certain lawyer in Luke 10:25-37. Jesus related this parable to the lawyer, who had asked him what he needed to do in order to have eternal life. Jesus aptly told him to do what his profession, the law, said he should do. Being versed in the law, the lawyer was quick to point out the requirement of the law, which he said was loving God and loving neighbours as the prerequisite for gaining eternal life.
Until recently, any recovery from serious disease not involving medical intervention was usually dismissed as little more than “spontaneous remission,” generally defined as the unexpected disappearance of a particular ailment by inexplicable means.
Ken Burns’ new documentary series, "Cancer, the Emperor of All Maladies", highlights “the longest running war in human history”. But stories like that of Anita Moorjani suggest there could be other ways to find freedom from such a devastating diagnosis.
Could the seed of what a writer recently called “arguably our most feared disease” lie in something as simple as a thought?
Where would we be today without the examples of women whose stories have been weaved into the fabric of our nation’s history? It’s a question The National Women’s History Project is asking us to consider in celebration of Women’s History Month.
Because it seemed the newspapers and food labels were using a much smaller font, I saw an optometrist for an eye exam for reading glasses. Unfortunately, I received an unwelcome diagnosis….my dimming vision was being caused by cataracts.
You know things are bad when "phobophobia" (fear of fear itself) becomes one of 530 documented phobias now on record.
Many medical doctors agree that a large percentage of disease is rooted in fear and anxiety. These are also the biggest drivers of overdiagnosis and overtreatment, two chief causes of the upward spiraling cost of health care. Gilbert Welch chronicles and analyzes this phenomenon in his 2012 book Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health.
We often focus on gratitude during a holiday or special occasion, and doing so can fill that time with a special sense of purpose by stimulating feelings of joy and good will. But if gratitude is so good at those times, why shouldn’t every other day also be an opportunity to take a step back and become more aware of what we are grateful for?
In a recent column, I wrote about my escape from shoulder pain by the use of prayerful treatments. What I didn’t detail was the mental course correction that took place because of the treatment.
The day before the pain began, my wife and I were playing with Kirby, a small kitten we’d rescued off the street. During our playtime, the kitten bit my finger. I yelled, “Ouch!” And while I was staring at a spot on my finger, my wife looked at me, shook her head, and said, “For someone who heals others’ problems by affirming they are safe in God’s care, you’re sure making a big deal out of a little pain.”
Or is it? Perhaps things are not as black and white (or gold and white in this case) as we sometimes think.
The echoes of #dressgate continue to reverberate throughout social media. My son and I were sitting on the couch when he showed me the picture, on his phone, of the now infamous dress. He asked what colors I saw. I suspected a trick question, but answered truthfully, black and blue. It was obvious.
According to Alzheimer's expert Naomi Feil, if you're feeling alone and someone enters into your world and you look at them and you communicate with them, there’s a wholeness that comes about, there’s a feeling of, ‘I am wanted, I am needed, I am complete.’
Naomi Feil begins by caressing the face of her patient as a mother would her child – wiping away a tear, letting her know she’s not alone. Then she begins to sing quietly:
“Jesus loves me, this I know / For the Bible tells me so.”
Spiritual healing is often stereotyped as a belief in miracle cures. Sometimes healingcan come quickly. At other times it takes persistence and gaining a deeper spiritual understanding. Here’s one young woman’s story of her journey to full freedom from manic depression.
'Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.' Despite the fact that nearly every critic on the planet gave it an emphatic thumbs-down (current Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 26%), “Fifty Shades of Grey” still managed to rake in more money over the Presidents Day weekend than any other movie in history. Go figure.
That’s a message that must be heard more widely because suicide is a growing healthcare concern. In a first-of-its-kind report, the World Health Organization recently reported that 800,000 suicides are estimated to occur worldwide each year.
Weekly snowfall has become the norm in my Boston suburb. Even the hearty Canadian transplants are starting to weary of our endless winter.
The historic snowfall has spawned jokes (free snow!), prompted neighborliness, and made school closings the norm rather than the exception. Some cabin-fever Bostonians looking for an escape have even taken to posting videos as they fling themselves from their second story decks into huge piles of fluffy snow. (This resulted in a stern safety warning from the mayor.)
Qualities of thought such as sincerity, gratitude and honesty are essential to stimulating the mind and revitalizing the body. There was a time during the late Middle Ages when anyone with enough cash on hand could appeal to the local church “pardoner” for the remission of their sins, in effect buying their way to heaven. The bigger the pardon (for instance, salvation from eternal damnation), the larger the donation, ensuring, if not a rosy afterlife, a well-funded Crusade and a first-rate cathedral.
It’s a question that keeps crossing my mind as I scan the news. Do I believe the politicians I’m reading about, or the news anchor, or the sports figures, or the celebrity, or the health claims? Am I getting an honest view? How long until someone sifts through the allegations and evidence and comes to a conclusion? When will we get to the bottom of this?
The story of St. Valentine serves to encourage us to look beneath the superficial meaning of cards, flowers and chocolates to a deeper, healing love.
The legend that inspires our annual celebration of love on Valentine’s Day focuses on only one aspect of an interesting man – as if romantic love is the only thing for which we should remember this patron saint.
Nearly three feet of snow fell in the suburbs of Boston where we live during the epic Blizzard of 2015. It's on record here as the biggest storm in a century. Despite early predictions, there were not widespread power outages and the snow remained light and fluffy for easier removal.
Currently a buzzword in India, good governance appears to have different meanings for different people. Governance is the way a city, company, country is controlled by those who run it. Most people consider governance to be the sole responsibility of those in power, but does an ordinary person have any role in good governance?
I recently watched a video circulating on my Facebook feed that featured a veteran Gulf War paratrooper’s inspiring transformation. He’d jumped from a plane too many times and his repeated landings had taken a toll on his back and knees. After several operations, he walked on crutches and gained a lot of weight. He couldn’t exercise anymore. For 15 years his doctors told him he would never walk unassisted again. He accepted this as fact.
Even if we can’t all agree on how it’s achieved, it’s still something we all want. You’d be hard-pressed these days, at least here in the U.S., to come up with a more divisive subject than universal health care, but probably just as hard-pressed to find a more universal desire than good health. Even if we can’t all agree on how it’s achieved, it’s still something we all want.
Prayer, the act of humbling one’s self before a higher power to find wisdom and healing, can offer solutions to even our most challenging local and national health dilemmas. And there’s never any lack of unhealthy situations that are begging for such solutions!
'As if actual diseases weren't frightening enough, we now have what seems like a whole encyclopedia of pre-diseases to fear.' According to Ivan Oransky, a medical doctor and former editor of Reuters Health, everyone reading this column is suffering from the universally terminal condition called pre-death. This assumes, of course, that everyone reading this article is actually alive.
MUCH has been said on this topic by psychologists, psychiatrists and religious thinkers, and because it is such an important issue, it bears another look. If there is a relationship between thought and health, as research and academic studies show, it becomes imperative to identify what type of thought is beneficial or predisposes to good health.
After enduring a near-fatal plane crash, 47 days adrift at sea on a life raft, shark attacks, starvation, enemy fire, and finally being rescued by the Japanese Navy only to be taken as a prisoner of war, you might think nothing worse could happen. But the punches kept coming. Literally.
So goes the true story of WWII veteran Louis Zamperini, played out in the recent blockbuster film adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's New York Times bestseller "Unbroken." But make no mistake. Behind this unimaginable hardship is a lesson of forgiveness and the transformative power it represents for us all.
'Instead of blind and calm submission to the incipient or advanced stages of disease, rise in rebellion against them.'
In the midst of all the horror, outrage and despair surrounding last week’s brutal attack at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, one image stands out above them all: A crowd gathered at the Place de la République holding up an illuminated sign declaring, “NOT AFRAID.”
Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas Message this year on reconciliation set the tone for what could be a world changing, yet individual, action that brings not only peace but also better health to everyone.
Her Majesty’s message opened with a touching image of a man and woman embracing. Sculpted and cast by the renowned English sculptor Josefina de Vasconcellos, it shows that moment of reconnection for which everyone yearns.
While some of us are still dealing with the influx of visitors, festivities and sun-soaked holidays, in the back of our minds is the niggling thought that 2015 has already begun and now is the time to make our New Year’s resolutions, before it’s too late. Some are choosing to eat healthier and exercise more. That certainly can make us feel better.
Well-known bioethicist, author and former Obama administration advisor Ezekiel Emanuel rocked the Twittersphere recently, saying he’d rather not stick around until he reaches what most consider to be a ripe old age. “Seventy-five years is all I want to live,” he wrote in a widely discussed essay in The Atlantic. “I want to celebrate my life while I am still in my prime.”
Angelina Jolie has turned Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling biography Unbroken into an inspirational hit movie. But could it have been even more inspiring?
Angelina Jolie’s third outing as a director has been a stirring success.
As an “inspirational film” Unbroken’s Christmas day launch turned into box office gold, taking in almost $50 million dollars in its first few days, according toVariety. It is expected to be right up there in the top three again during the “post-holiday weekend”.
For many, the holiday season is a joyous time, but for some folks it can be a rough season to get through. If you Google “holiday depression”or better still “beating holiday depression” you’ll find lots of top 10 lists. Below is my own top 5 list....