Archive for April 2014

5 Tips to All Round Better Health   Leave a comment

shutterstock_1257488601. Hope

Hope is the stuff of change, recovery and healing, according to Dr Shane Lopez, author of the new book:  Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others. “Hope is half optimism. The other half is the belief in the power that you can make it so”, writes Lopez.

Hopeful people make an investment in the future that pays off in the present: in the way they eat, exercise, conserve energy, take care of themselves and stick to their treatment plan. He suggests that this sort of “change in mind-set has the power to alter neurochemistry”.

It takes work to keep your thinking in tune with what’s good around you. For me, trust that ‘good will win’ lifts me out of the daily grind of thinking that what I see and hear is all there is to us, into a mental realm a bit higher.

2. Show Your Gratitude

Studies show that saying ‘thanks’ reduces stress, and giving back through volunteering is good for your heart, in more ways than one

For example, researchers from the University of British Columbia found that volunteers who felt more empathy and put in more time and effort not only experienced greater mental health but also better cardiovascular health.

Research cited by Dr Stephen Post in his book Why Good Things Happen to Good People also found that giving in high school predicts good physical and mental health in late adulthood; generous behaviour reduces adolescent depression and suicide risk; giving quells anxiety; giving to others helps facilitate self-forgiveness and increases your longevity; giving is so powerful that sometimes even just ‘thinking’ charitable thoughts helps us.

This could be the right moment to volunteer to do Meals on Wheels or tuck shop duty, offer to coach your friend in maths or put up your hand to coach the soccer team …. and give thanks. It could not only help others, but also help you.

3. Love

We need to move past our cultural preconceptions that sometimes equate love only with infatuation, sexual desire or fairytale endings. Love is kindness and compassion.

“Love literally [makes] people healthier”, reported Dr Barbara Fredrickson, Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina.

“People tend to liken their emotions [like loving] to the weather, viewing them as uncontrollable,” said Fredrickson. This research shows not only that our emotions are controllable, but also that we can take the reins of our daily emotions and steer ourselves toward better physical health.

Love – moments of warmth, connection and openness sprinkled throughout your day – holds the key to improving our mental and physical health as well as lengthening our life.

4. Forgive

It’s one of the hardest things to do, but if you do it will make a big difference to your happiness, your relationships and your health.

For example, researchers from the University of California in San Diego found that people who let go of their anger could decrease the physical effects of stress.

Forgiveness is aptly described as ‘a change of heart’. Iowa doctor, Katherine Hurst MD, says, “I had a patient who went through a rough divorce and it took her years to get over it. She was on antidepressants, blood pressure meds and sleeping pills. When she finally forgave him and forgot about the marriage she was able to go off all of them”.

5. Meditate

Take some time to meditate, or contemplate, each morning, even if only for a few minutes. Studies have shown that prayer, meditation and attendance at religious services all benefit health in ways that scientists cannot fully explain.

“… [meditating] even 5 or 10 minutes, say a couple of times a day can start to produce significant benefits”, affirms Dr Craig Hassad, internationally recognised expert in Mindfulness Meditation, now a resident at Monash University Medical School. And it seems that many can now attest to the health benefits of doing just that.

The inclusion of meditation or prayer as part of our health care is increasingly being recommended by doctors to treat both mental and physical illness. In time, could meditation be seen as ‘the new normal’?

I find that using only one of these fabulous 5 tips brightens my day and makes me feel a whole lot better – renewed and revitalised – which points to the proposition that we’re much more than just a body.

It’s clear that these 5 easy tips are mental change agents that empower us, and make us happier and more fulfilled.

Growing numbers of people are seeing how mental approaches like this also lead to surprisingly better physical and mental health.

This article is by Kay Stroud. Kay is a health writer focussing on the leading edge of consciousness, spirituality and health. Her articles can be found on Health4Thinkers.

Why being young at heart works. Is there a science behind it?   1 comment

shutterstock_164195771 - Copy (2)Thank you to Sarah Marinos of body+soul at the Courier-Mail, for writing an article recently on the health benefits of thinking and acting younger – “Why being young at heart works“. Amongst the myriad of ads by the pharmaceutical companies, this article was unexpectedly thought-provoking and brought to my attention the work of Dr Ellen Langer, Harvard University psychologist and scientific investigator who conducted a landmark experiment 30 years ago where she had seniors live in a secluded monastery as though it were 1959. The results were surprising. After a week of living as though they were younger men, the pensioners were more flexible, had better hearing and memory and felt stronger. And they also looked younger.

This experiment was the forerunner of the British ABC’s TV program, the Young Ones that I recommended in a previous blog post, “Could it be that we all have the power to think ourselves young again?”

Langer has studied the way our mind influences our body and appearance and is the person who coined the word ‘mindfulness’. “When people are taught to be mindful in a fashion very different from meditation, they become more creative, healthier, and happier”, she wrote.

In Langer’s book, counterclockwise:  Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility, she reminds readers that many definitive-sounding medical diagnoses are in fact best guesses. In a sense, this is a book about the limits of empirical knowledge. But as Langer sees it, the ambiguity that inevitably accompanies medical research can be profoundly liberating. If we can’t be sure that a diagnosis — or a widely accepted truism such as “memory loss is inevitable with age” — is true, we’re less likely to apply a self-limiting label to ourselves.

So what does this mean for you and me? Are these experiments miracles or is there a law in place?

I put the question another way. What if society’s current standards and expectations were the aberration and health and eternal life the reality?

The consistent findings from these experiments point to a law or science in place. I understand it to be a divine Science. Towards the end of the 19th Century the author of the first and complete book about the laws of reality, Mary Baker Eddy  wrote, “Because of human ignorance of the divine Principle, Love, the Father of all is represented as a corporeal creator; hence men recognize themselves as merely physical, and are ignorant of man as God’s image or reflection and of man’s eternal incorporeal existence.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

Christian Science makes it clear that mankind’s misunderstanding of the reality of being, of what God is and of what man really is, handicaps our life experience thus far.

This article by Kay Stroud was orginially published on her blog site.  Kay is a health writer focussing on the leading edge of consciousness, spirituality and health. Contact her to learn more about it, including Christian Science, via www.health4thinkers.com.

Easter – A Lesson in Spiritual Renewal   Leave a comment

New SH (2)And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Paul: The Bible – Galatians 5: 24)

Does erudite theology regard the crucifixion of Jesus chiefly as providing a ready pardon for all sinners who ask for it and are willing to be forgiven? Does spiritualism find Jesus’ death necessary only for the presentation, after death, of the material Jesus, as a proof that spirits can return to earth? Then we must differ from them both. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p24)

Jesus of Nazareth taught and demonstrated man’s oneness with the Father, and for this we owe him endless homage. His mission was both individual and collective. He did life’s work aright not only in justice to himself, but in mercy to mortals, — to show them how to do theirs, but not to do it for them nor to relieve them of a single responsibility. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p18)

Every pang of repentance and suffering, every effort for reform, every good thought and deed, will help us to understand Jesus’ atonement for sin and aid its efficacy; but if the sinner continues to pray and repent, sin and be sorry, he has little part in the atonement, — in the at-one-ment with God, — for he lacks the practical repentance, which reforms the heart and enables man to do the will of wisdom. Those who cannot demonstrate, at least in part, the divine Principle of the teachings and practice of our Master have no part in God. If living in disobedience to Him, we ought to feel no security, although God is good. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p19)

If Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk and conversation, you can finally say, “I have fought a good fight . . . I have kept the faith,” because you are a better man. This is having our part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love. Christians do not continue to labor and pray, expecting because of another’s goodness, suffering, and triumph, that they shall reach his harmony and reward.

If the disciple is advancing spiritually, he is striving to enter in. He constantly turns away from material sense, and looks towards the imperishable things of Spirit. If honest, he will be in earnest from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction, till at last he finishes his course with joy. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p21)

If all who ever partook of the sacrament had really commemorated the sufferings of Jesus and drunk of his cup, they would have revolutionized the world. If all who seek his commemoration through material symbols will take up the cross, heal the sick, cast out evils, and preach Christ, or Truth, to the poor, — the receptive thought, — they will bring in the millennium. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p34)

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, can be accessed on-line at christianscience.com, can be borrowed from your local library or purchased from any Christian Science Reading Room. The Reading Room and Bookshop in Canberra is located on the corner of Macquarie and Bligh Streets, Barton.  The staff at the bookshop welcome your questions.

Red Wine No Special Properties, but Spirituality Health-Promoting   Leave a comment

shutterstock_172479914 (1)Recently the Courier-Mail ran a story (Red repudiated to the last drop) quoting the national Alcohol Policy Coalition as challenging the ‘myth’ of the health benefits of drinking alcohol, and in particular red wine.

The chief executive of the Victorian Heart Foundation, Kathy Bell, said it did not recommend red wine or other alcoholic drinks to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease, cancer or liver cirrhosis.  “After reviewing all the scientific evidence, it appears any positive effects of alcohol in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease have been hugely overestimated,” she said. “In particular, red wine has no special protective qualities.” The coalition cites studies finding that the harms from alcohol are likely to outweigh any benefits.

Some people may be thinking that these sorts of results from current scientific research are slowly chipping away at hope of ever finding that ‘miracle’ chemical or food. And some who had supreme confidence in the revolutionary discoveries of science may also be feeling disappointed, as contradictory research findings about foods abound. While the use of alcohol can never be beneficial (from either a health or behavioural perspective), a normal healthy and balanced diet would seem to make sense.

Around 2,000 years ago Christ Jesus healed the sick without the use of hygiene or promoting the health-giving properties of food or drink. In direct contradiction to the standard practice of the Jews at that time, he told his disciples and the hundreds of bystanders “I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink;” (Luke 12:22)

But he didn’t leave it there. He suggested that they and we need to seek a more spiritual view (he called it the ‘kingdom of God’ where cooperation, gentleness, forgiveness and patience are demonstrated), and then we’d be assured of consistent and continuous provision of health.

I’ve found this realisation life-transforming through my study and practice of Christian Science; although at times, I must admit that I’ve felt a bit lonely holding these views and my change to better behaviours has often taken quite a bit of effort.

But now I find that scientific research is supporting these efforts, as discoveries are being published daily that show that spiritual qualities like forgiveness, hope, gratitude and optimism are what are really health-promoting. Check out this report on The ConversationBitterness makes the heart grow sicker.

Hey, it could be worth exchanging an intense focus on what you eat and drink to thinking more on the qualities of thought that promote health.

This article is by Kay Stroud. Kay is a health writer focussing on the leading edge of consciousness, spirituality and health. Contact her to learn more about it, including Christian Science, via www.health4thinkers.com.

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