Friday, November 27, 2009

Lean Toward the Bright Side

If you’re like me, you probably don’t like the idea of taking medicine. And as an ardent believer in natural health, my choice would definitely be natural remedies over drugs, if it’s at all possible to avoid them. But here’s a medicine I can recommend wholeheartedly and without reservation. You don’t need a prescription for it and, best of all, it’s free! What am talking about? A merry heart. In Proverbs 17:22 we find this bit of ancient wisdom: “A merry heart does good, like medicine. But a broken spirit dries the bones.” In the same way that happiness can lead to better health, a negative attitude can literally make us sick.

Dr. Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin has discovered through research that people with a positive attitude “have more electrical and metabolic activity on the left side of the brain’s prefrontal lobe” (Creation Health Discovery, p. 92). This is the side of the brain that has more of the killer cells that help to fight viruses. In other words, a positive attitude can help us to resist disease. Now, that’s powerful medicine.

On the other hand, Neil Nedley, M.D., who is well-known for his work with depressed patients and author of the book Depression, The Way Out, cites a number of studies indicating higher risk factors for certain diseases in people who are depressed. These conditions include cancer, pneumonia, elevated stress hormone levels, osteoporosis, hypertension, elevated blood sugar, asthma, seizures, and infertility, among others. In his book, which I highly recommend, he suggests a number of lifestyle measures you can take to help deal with and/or prevent depression.

The reality is that there is an intricate mind-body connection (we are fearfully and wonderfully made!), and I firmly believe that in order to achieve optimal health, we must take care of our physical bodies (exercise, follow a good diet, get proper rest, etc.) as well as our minds, by cultivating a sense of optimism and a positive attitude. (Keep in mind that if you are dealing with clinical depression, it’s important that you seek the care of a competent physician who recognizes the role of lifestyle in the healing process.)

I could share with you many tips to help you cultivate a positive outlook on life, but you can read them for yourself in Dr. Nedley’s book, and I hope you will (even if you don’t suffer with depression). Let me just leave you with this thought: God’s Word, the Bible, is filled with promises that give us hope and joy. If you want to have a brighter outlook on life, then read the Bible, follow its principles, and grasp hold of the promises you discover there. Here’s one of my favorite promises that I hope you’ll take to heart: I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).


The Wellness Lady

Friday, November 13, 2009

Interpersonal Relationships

Over the past few weeks, we've been taking a look at the steps to health found in the acronym C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. Health. Do you remember what they are? Let's review: C is for choice, R is for rest, E is for environment, T is for Trust in God. We're down now to the I in Creation, which stands for Interpersonal Relationships. As with all the other factors, relationships also have a profound impact on our health.

According to Dr. Shelton Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University, the more friends you have, the less likely you are to get a cold. Also, if you have lots of social contacts, the duration and severity of a cold will be lessened, according to the authors of C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. Health Discovery. The authors also cite other studies that show the relationship of social contact to health and longevity. A researcher at Stanford University, Dr. David Spiegel, "found that women with breast cancer who participate in psychosocial support groups live longer than breast cancer patients who do not." Another researcher, Dr. James House, who reviewed an extensive body of literature, concluded that social isolation increases your risk of dying from all causes.

When we're faced with illness or crisis, having a good system of social support can help us through the bleakest of situations. Whether it's with friends, family, neighbors or members of our community or church, seeking healthy relationships can be healing, for us, and for those around us. Here are some simple ideas to get started: Why not offer to run an errand for a house-bound neighbor? Or surprise a sick friend with a basket of herbal tea and a mug. Get involved with community services at your church or donate time and/or goods to a local food bank. The opportunities for reaching out to others are limited only by your imagination. Make a decided effort today to strengthen your relationship with those around you and to be a blessing in others' lives. You (and those whose lives you touch) will be glad you did!

The Wellness Lady

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Trust in God

Did you know that people who have faith in God are happier than those who don't? It's true. The authors of Creation Health Discovery cite a study conducted in 560 households, which found that people who pray to God are "happier, more satisfied, and enjoy a deeper sense of well-being about the direction their lives are headed."

Here are some other findings they report:

• "A study of high school seniors revealed that students who go to church are less likely to become delinquents, drink alcohol, or use marijuana than other teens."

And from a May 2001 Readers Digest article cited by the same authors, here are a few findings by researchers at Duke University and Dartmouth Medical School:

• " Those who enjoyed religious services more than once a week enjoyed a seven-years-longer life expectancy than those who never attended."

• "Older adults who considered themselves religious functioned better and had fewer problems than those without faith."

• "Adults who attend a house of worship have lower rates of depression and anxiety."

The list could go on and on. By now, I'm sure you get the idea. Faith, belief in God, prayer, and spirituality are important factors, not only for longevity, but also for the quality of life and health that we experience every day.

There's a wonderful little book on prayer that I've had on my shelf for quite some time. Every now and then when I want to be uplifted, I pull it down and read it again. A classic, it's called The Incredible Power of Prayer by Roger Morneau, a man of amazing faith. Whether or not you're a person of faith, this book will amaze, energize, and inspire you. It's available on, or if all else fails, e-mail me at, and I'll mail you a copy.

One last thing. Faith and prayer are good things in and of themselves, but remember, their power is limited unless they are based on a foundation--the foundation of God's Word. Prayer works, not because there is some kind of magic in the words we say, but because of the power of the One who answers prayer. And we can discover that power by studying the Word of God. If you haven't already, I hope you'll begin to dig into the treasures of the Bible to find the power that can heal you, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually, as well. And if you are already a student of the Bible, I hope you'll be inspired to dig even deeper!

Before I go, I want to share a Bible text that expresses my wish for you: "I pray that you may enjoy good health, and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well" (3 John 2).

The Wellness Lady