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....
¿Te has dado cuenta que actualmente entre más gente hay en las grandes ciudades, más solos estamos? Muchas veces, aún rodeados de gente nos sentimos solos.
Hay estudios que asocian la soledad a la demencia y a otros problemas mentales. Pero en un mundo en donde cada vez más el contacto humano parece estar fuera de nuestro alcance, y donde parece difícil relacionarse, ¿cómo es posible no senti soledad y ser saludable?
There I was, a guest at a local meet-up group, expecting to hear a speaker share ideas about how they approach health, healing and spirituality. Instead, the topic that evening was the “M” word – Meditation...not a talk, as I had anticipated, but an actual meditation exercise. Now as someone who is used to praying deeply - and alone - I did not have a warm fuzzy about having such a personal experience with strangers!
Meditation can mean different things to different people....
Canadians are already bracing themselves for the season of office parties, family dinners and turkey overload. It’s okay to indulge over the holidays, but is weight gain and the ensuing feelings of guilt, frustration and falling self-esteem inevitable?
We can promise ourselves not to over-indulge in Christmas goodies, to regularly go for walks to see the Christmas lights, or to join the gym in January, but changes in what we eat and how we live our lives are not easy. How can we make our New Year’s health resolution now?
It would seem that over the years the widely accepted definition of compassion – that is, a feeling of deep sympathy coupled with the desire to alleviate the suffering of others – has been watered down somewhat.
Take the word “alleviate.” While alleviating someone’s pain might include the actual removal of it, it really just means to help that individual cope with or endure their pain.
Carly Simon's hit, 'Anticipation” opens with a truism that has proved to be at times comforting; at times, calamitous. And when it comes to the near distant future, anticipation about our health can be a good or a bad thing, It depends on how you think about it,
My Facebook feed this summer included a steady stream of lists from friends who accepted one of the numerous gratitude challenges circulating social media spheres. I read their posts with curious interest, but I secretly hoped I wouldn't be asked to take on the challenge, too!...
Still, gratitude carries benefits that far outweigh the trivial, or gratitude for the sake of gain, which defeats the purpose. I've written blogs about its benefits and I've read plenty of them, too. I've also experienced the great healing benefit of expressing gratitude.
Cuando nos encontramos en la cima de una montaña, la visión cambia con respecto al mundo, por lo menos, desde dónde uno se encuentra. De la misma manera, la percepción en cuanto al significado de la salud puede cambiar cuando la perspectiva está fuera del cuerpo.(When we are at the top of a mountain, the view changes with respect to the world, at least from where you're at. Similarly, the perception on the meaning of health may change when the prospect is outside the body....As the largest city is smaller height, the disease can be achieved see small and helpless when facing a superior source with clear, crisp skies, where everything is harmonious and beautiful.)
The Ariel Atom is one of the quickest cars on earth, reaching a speed of 100 km/h in just under 2.5 seconds. Even faster is the time between when some people say “I’m spiritual” and “but not religious,” as if within those few milliseconds they might be mistaken for someone misguided, deluded or just plain uncool.
Is there a daily diet that curbs perfectionism, eating disorders?
Four ‘trick or treaters’ knocked on our door on Halloween evening. Somewhat unprepared and surprised to experience this novelty in Australia I managed to locate a few sweet treats for each of them, and they left happily bubbling with excitement.
The current long-held theory of the unbridgeable rift between science and spirituality, promoted by such theorists as Descartes, is beginning to crumble. So said physicistDr. William A. Tiller in his keynote address at a recent public forum in Vancouver.
During his address, “Shedding some light on key issues regarding Spirituality and Health,” Tiller explained that the connection between spirituality and science is becoming better understood and that this holds great possibilities for humanity’s future.
I’ve noticed an increasing trend among young men the last few years – it’s suddenly OK to hug each other. Whether it’s college athletes celebrating a win; alumni seeing each other years after graduation, or just guys catching up after work, hugs are more prevalent than ever. This even has a slang name – “bro-mance!
Regardless of your feelings about Brittany Maynard’s decision to die on her own terms, the story is a tragic one.
After being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, the former Bay Area resident and her husband moved from California to Oregon – one of only five states where it’s legal to terminate your own life under certain conditions – after deciding, in her words, that “death with dignity” was the best option for her and her family. Although the public debate surrounding Maynard’s decision has focused largely on the right to die, perhaps now is as good a time as any to examine the much less talked about desire to die.
Winning The War On Ebola Scourge – Can Prayer Help?
By Moji Solanke
WHEN the WHO representative, Rui Gama Vaz, declared Nigeria free of the Ebola virus in Abuja on October 20, 2014, there was a spontaneous round of applause by the officials present, according to a Reuters report. This is a message of hope, and certainly calls for thanksgiving, considering that the first case of the disease was in Lagos, a city of over 21 million, people with sanitation challenges. Moreover, Nigeria is a country of over 160 million very mobile individuals. Yet, as Vaz rightly stated, this development signifies only winning the battle. Winning the war would depend on halting the scourge and eradicating the virus in West Africa and other parts of the world.
On Remembrance Day - How do we remember those who we barely knew? Learning about my father, and celebrating his bravery set me free from feelings of rejection.
My father is a war hero. While still a teenager, he was a freedom fighter in the French Resistance. He was caught by the Nazis and sent to Buchenwald Concentration camp for two years. When he emerged at the end of the war he was a broken and sick young man unable to talk. Yet he did not give up. Though he got better physically, emotionally he remained deeply injured. Being unable to talk properly as a result, he took mime and acting classes in the hope that the arts would help him heal. And they did. He became a fine actor.
Last month it was breast cancer, this month it's prostate cancer - the calls keep coming to screen our bodies. But might there be a potential for healing if we look away from our bodies into our thinking?
What thought-model is best to have? Are we paying attention to it?
Advertising and marketing companies are trying to figure out how to deal with me, or should I say with my demographic. I’m one of the 76-million baby boomers populating the U.S. which, for some, translates to the “older” generation. Retailers politely ask if I qualify for their senior discount. Now I’ve had another label fastened on me for the sake of marketing conformity -- I’m part of the “silver economy.”(I guess that beats a gray economy). Anyway, that’s their impression of me.
Aging, and all that goes with it, is frequently on people’s minds. There are many components to aging that people are concerned about: mental decline, physical decline, and insufficient funds to live during retirement are just a few. One news report even indicated that some individuals would rather die than live with insufficient funds. Despite the many perceived negatives with living longer, research continues on longevity. But there is a new focus – extending quality of life by reducing or eliminating many of the present physical limitations connected with aging.
“None of us in science and medicine have the answers we tell you we have,” said Betsy Nabel, president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School at last month’s TEDMED conference, “because the universe of what we don’t know dwarfs that of what we do know.”
Congratulations to Nik Wallenda on his high wire feat in Chicago. I can't imagine being in his shoes, but it got me thinking about the nagging fear that consistent, reliable health is on shaky footing.
Could you ever imagine walking a tightrope high off the ground blindfolded with no net to catch you? One false step and...
I’m not an authority on dealing physically with contagious diseases but I do know about handling fear. I’ve learned that stopping fear of disease can go a long way toward stopping disease itself.
The Christian Science Monitor quoted Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group: “There are two kinds of contagion, one is related to the virus itself and the other is related to the spread of fear about the virus. Both contagions must be defeated.”
Hundreds of silver haired concertgoers walked briskly - laughing and jostling like teenagers. Why? Because we had all just come from a concert where we clapped, sang and danced along - transported back to the rock and roll of our youth. No signs of aches or pains or any physical inhibition in the exuberance of our rejoicing.
Thinking of our health solely from a physical standpoint, is like a bird trying to fly with only one wing.
Every day the media reports new claims of breakthroughs for cures of everything from some cancers to the common cold. As I read all of these announcements, I wonder whether focusing so exclusively on tests and remedies for illness, actually produces breakthroughs in our understanding of what health really is, and how we care for it.
My dad dabbled in paint, mostly wall and house paint, but occasionally he tried his hand at a paint-by-numbers kit. Remember those? Craft Master kits were the rage. Just follow the numbers and a beautiful picture appeared after some trial and error.
Ebola, ISIS, midterm elections, climate change, drought, unemployment. The headlines of the day provide plenty of fodder for fearful reactions.
"We Have Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself" was the topic of Tom Ashbrook's recent On Point NPR program, echoing FDR's famous words, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Given the news of the day, I was intrigued by the topic and listened to the replay online.
Diversi sondaggi sulla felicità effettuati sui popoli del mondo danno spesso La Danimarca ai primi posti. Negli studi effettuati, i danesi hanno superato del 20% il livello di soddisfazione delle popolazioni limitrofe, dove comunque la qualità di vita non è molto diversa dalla loro. Alcuni economisti dell'università inglese di Warwick che hanno approfondito la ricerca, imputano il fenomeno alla rarità della variante corta del gene SLC6A4 in grado di determinare tristezza e felicità nelle persone.
Harsh words, perhaps, especially when you consider that the one who said them is a longtime hospital chaplain, and the woman she was speaking to had just learned that a year after going through chemotherapy, she was still cancer free.
The concept of mind we’re all familiar with is fast becoming the mind of the past. The decision-maker, the seat of knowledge, the repository of hunches, innovation, emotions, judgment, memory, opinions, stubborn will, and so on is actually a rather narrow concept we’re finding out. Human mind 1.0.
You see them all the time in the news - statistics on the number of people who were in the hospital last year, the rate at which people will catch the flu this winter and numerous other statistics about some aspect of our health.
Researchers use these biological health statistics to figure out risk factors and develop ways to prevent, control and treat or manage disease.
Have you ever heard the statement, “There are no atheists in a foxhole”? I recently came across this statement, and it really brought to mind the idea that although most of us aren’t actually hunkered down in a war zone foxhole, figuratively many of us feel that we are as we fight for health. It can actually feel like a combat zone for anyone who has a serious health condition, addiction, emotional stress, or other crises. And in these situations, people are more inclined to seek a higher power for help.
It seems to govern so much of our lives. It starts as a child with birthdays, balloons and excitement, before increasing in pace as teenagerhood, careers and the pressure of family life add their demands. Finally there's the senior years which seem to bring to a crescendo the "tick tock" of the body clock.
Have you been hired in a job that the simple requirement is to be joyful?
When I came to the United States and landed a job with an American family, the first question they asked me was, “Can you give joy?”
Well, I got the job, and the joy that is within me was doubled because as I worked with this family, I found out that when we give more, we receive more – not materially but a priceless peace of mind and steady healthy consciousness.
¿Qué es lo que buscas en tu vida? Y ¿cómo encontrarlo?
Muchos en la sociedad no logran encontrar su propósito, sufren de depresión y, en desespero, se vuelven al alcohol. La Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) informa que “cada año mueren en el mundo 3.3 millones de personas a consecuencia del consumo nocivo de alcohol, lo que representa un 5.9 por ciento de todas las defunciones”.
The folks at Stanford School of Medicine are putting doctors in touch with their patients. Literally.
To this end, faculty member Abraham Verghese and his team provide training for 25 hands-on physical exams that, according to Verghese, are given little if any attention beyond the typical med student’s first or second year of training – “old-fashioned” stuff like tapping the knee to check for reflexes, shining a light to test for pupil dilation and how to use the tried and true tongue depressor.
Gratitude allows us to move through life with more grace, affording greater rest and peace.
There’s an old saying that if you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness. Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and inter-faith scholar, would likely agree with this old proverb. In a 2013 TedTalk on gratitude in Edinburgh, Scotland, he suggested that happiness is an outcome of gratitude in our lives. He points out that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but rather gratitude that makes us happy.
“You all know this, but it’s worth stating the obvious,” declared Amy McGuire, a genomic bioethicist from Baylor College of Medicine at the start of this year’s TEDMED conference in San Francisco. “Genomic sequencing is not an infallible prophecy of our future.”
A bold statement to say the least, especially considering her audience – an eclectic collection of doctors, nurses, medical researchers and others intent on improving the world’s health and health care using the most advanced and innovative means possible.
Yes, I do believe that religion can be scientific.
In a recent article on this website, Swami Kriyananda asks the question, "Can We Make Religion Scientific?"
To me, religion is a set of beliefs about God. It could also include certain practices relating to those beliefs. No matter what our religion, I think each of us in his/her own way, is seeking to learn more about God, to build up our understanding of this higher power.
Two items in the news last week never seemed more unrelated. One was a commentary on personal finances and the need to resist instant gratification. The other was one of many stories on Ebola. Not the outbreak of the disease, but the spread of fear surrounding it.
Both pieces – one on passion, the other on panic – had a common thread. They each urged greater self-control.