Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category

Mentally Soar! It’s good for your health   Leave a comment

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Feeling down-in the-dumps is not uncommon. But when dejection strikes, it’s time to fire-up your “thought-burners”, experience that mental lift-off which allows your spirits to rise, and mentally soar above despondency. Such action is good for your health.

 

Let your thought rise.

Four colorful hot air balloons hovered over the Melbourne Cricket Ground.  From my 20th floor room, I watched them soar upward and away with effortless ease. This reminded me how to rise out of gloom when our spirits nose-dive.

 

 

TIP:

  • Take on board the thought-soaring fuels of hope and gratitude.
  • Ignite the spark of hope that exists in thinking to help you rise above negative feelings.
  • Fire-up hopefulness and be confident, optimistic, and expectant of good.
  • Accelerate your emotional lift-off by allowing gratitude to warm-up your heart and mind.
  • Be grateful for the good times you’ve had, and for those ahead. Gratitude prepares you to receive further good in your life.

 Believe you can soar.

American singer R Kelly says in his Grammy-award winning song “I believe I Can Fly” that with belief, everyone can soar.

TIP:

  • Let your spirits soar with the mental energy of firm belief.
  • Be confident that “All things are possible to him who believes.”  (The Scriptures – Mark 9:23)
  • Believe that if others can be happy, then you can too.

Elevate thinking.

One morning, two men went fishing in a rowboat. By afternoon, they were surrounded by thick fog and couldn’t see land. As they drifted out to sea, one man decided to stand up. Instantly his head rose above the low-level fog. From his elevated position he saw the shoreline. They rowed to safety.

TIP:

  • Make the effort to elevate thinking. Don’t stay resigned to negative feelings. Stand up to them.
  • Let your thought soar effortlessly above the fog of gloomy thinking.
  • Raise your spirits. Expect to “Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good.”  (Science and Health. Mary Baker Eddy.)

This article, Mentally Soar! It’s Good For Your Health, by Beverly Goldsmith was originally published on her blog site, Spirituality and Health Connect.   Beverly is a Melbourne-based health writer who provides a diversity of health content on how spirituality and thought affect health.

Fearless Living is Healthy Living   1 comment

$ dreamstime_127492Eliminating fear is good for your health say experts.

Mind-Body Interventions such as patient support groups, prayer, spiritual healing and a state of calmness produced through meditation, can all help reduce bodily stress.

Fear is like luggage you carry around with you. It comes in all shapes and sizes. Some fears you can put down and walk away from. Others seem to be firmly attached to you. You know the kind I’m talking about. It can be a fear of going to the dentist, speaking in public, personal safety, not being able to pay the bills, fear of getting sick, and yes, even a fear of dying.

You often know when you feel nervous or afraid, through certain bodily sensations.  For example, you get butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, dry mouth, shortness of breath, or rapid heartbeats. On such occasions, fear itself seems to be quite tangible, even physically concrete.

While fear appears to be expressed in a bodily way, it actually starts in thought. This may appear obvious, but it’s a point that often gets overlooked when we’re caught up in an anxious moment, or feeling ill. Being aware of this mind-body connection, provides a starting point for working beyond fear. It leads to finding a pathway for resolving a fearful situation, and to achieving better health.

One way to achieve fearless living, is to practice calm thinking whenever those internal alarm bells are sounding. According to Herbert Benson, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and founder of the Mind Body Medical Institute, this can be accomplished by “prescribing meditation – not just medication”.  As the author or co-author of more than 170 scientific publications and seven books, Benson encourages a state of calmness through meditation as a means of reducing the bodily stress which is often engendered by fear.

While there are various ways to meditate, one method that many people have found to be effective involves spiritual thinking, or prayer.  Thoughts of divine protection, as I’ve discovered, can help dissolve fearful concerns about health and personal wellbeing. This can calm thought, prevent fear from governing the body, and correct health problems engendered by fear. And why not? Evidence of the effect of spiritual thinking on the body are not new. One pioneer and writer on health and spirituality, Mary Baker Eddy,  documented them during the last century.

Today modern health campaigner Deepak Chopra, MD, is exploring paths beyond western medicine and surgery. Although a board-certified endocrinologist, he believes that “The experiences of joy, compassion, and meditative quiescence (calmness) could be powerful tools to restore homeostasis (a state of equilibrium) and strengthen our self-repair mechanisms.”

Chopra is not alone in his views. In August 2012, I attended the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association conference in Melbourne. Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who were present, discussed ways an integrative medicine practice could help patients achieve “optimal health and healing.” This included making use of “all appropriate therapeutic approaches, health care professionals and disciplines”, as well as “Mind-Body Interventions such as patient support groups, meditation, prayer, spiritual healing, …”

Those in the medical fraternity who seek the healing of fear and of fear-related illness through complementary practices, are to be commended. As Chopra says, “The mystery of healing remains unsolved. If we combine wisdom and science, tradition and research, mind and body, there is every hope that the mystery will reveal its secrets more and more fully.”  Such unbiased inquiry as he proposes, could lead us to understand how to live a fear-free, healthy life and to the role that spiritual thinking can play in the healing that follows.

This article, Fearless Living is Healthy Living, by Beverly Goldsmith was originally published on her blog site, Spirituality and Health Connect Beverly is a Melbourne-based health writer who provides a diversity of health content on how spirituality and thought affect health.

Detox your mind. It’s good for your health   Leave a comment

shutterstock_161217872Detoxing one’s body it seems, has become as popular as visiting a health spa to be massaged, mud-packed or steamed. Yet cleansing the body inside and out, is not all we can do to be healthier.  It can also be beneficial to detox your mind. Such action is good for your health – both mental and physical.

From time-to-time negative feelings, when unchecked, can build up to alarming levels of distress in thinking. Without a good clean out, unhealthy emotions such as hurt and anger can fester away, spoiling a person’s good nature, destroying their peace of mind, and damaging their wellbeing.

Flush out corrosive feelings 

There’s an ancient story about a woman who was forced to leave her home and country. Filled with resentment at this incident in her life, she was unable to mentally move forward and looked back in anger. In so doing, she turned herself into a “pillar of salt” – she became permanently embittered by what she perceived as the wrong done to her.

TIP:

●  Avoid the mistake of harbouring destructive feelings such as resentment and estrangement.

● When showering, don’t just think about keeping the body externally clean. Look within.

● Use a mental-loofah to scrub and exfoliate dead-end thinking.

● Gently wash away any build-up of disappointment or bitterness.

● Rinse off unhappy thoughts about the past.

● Allow calming, comforting, reassuring, and peace-encouraging ideas to flow into thinking. 

Cleanse wounded feelings.

Soaking one’s thinking in past insults or hurtful comments is not health-giving.  Imagine how freeing it would feel if the memory of unkind words or deeds were erased from thinking.

TIP:

● If someone has personally said or done something mean, rather than rehearsing the unkindness, mentally pull the plug on it.  Let unpleasant memories flow down the drain – right out of thinking.

● Dwell on good things that have taken place – a spontaneous hug from a child,  a kindness received.

● Embrace this advice. “Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

● “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” (Science and  Health, p. 261, Mary Baker Eddy)

Purify thinking

It’s long been considered that hatred is toxic. So too are harsh thoughts and acidic attitudes, holding a grudge, or seeking revenge. These eat away at the fabric of one’s thinking and good health. That’s why it’s helpful to detox the mind.

TIP:

● Hatred requires feeding to flourish so starve it of nourishment.

● Snuff out the desire for revenge – to verbally or physically retaliate. Refuse to give it oxygen, or breath.

● Filter out unwholesome emotions and attitudes.

● Pour into thinking the health-bringing, health-sustaining qualities of love, forgiveness, mercy, and kindness.

● Make time to meditate, purify and regenerate thinking.  It’s good for your health.

This article, Detox your mind. It’s good for your health, by Beverly Goldsmith was originally published on her blog site, Spirituality and Health Connect . Beverly is a Melbourne-based health writer who provides a diversity of health content on how spirituality and thought affect health.

 

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.

Reading Your Way to Good Mental Health   Leave a comment

Young Woman Reading and Studying.What would you think if you went along to a doctor and you were prescribed a self-help book instead of medication? Well, that’s not so far-fetched as you might think.

A new project initiated by the UK’s The Reading Agency called the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme, has doctors now prescribing books to patients with mental health problems such as anger, anxiety, binge eating, depression,  obsessions and compulsions, panic attacks, phobias, self-esteem, stress and worry.

The scheme, which works within the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence  guidelines, and is backed by the Royal Colleges of GPs, Nursing and Psychiatry, the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies and the Department of Health, aims to bring reading’s healing benefits to sufferers of anxiety and depression.

According to the Reading Agency, there is growing evidence showing that self-help reading can help people with certain mental health conditions get better.”  GPs and mental health professionals can prescribe patients a visit to the library, where they show their prescription for one or more of 30 endorsed books with acknowledged cognitive behavioural therapy  benefits.

Books on Prescription has made it to New Zealand. It’s also being implemented at Boab Health Services in outback Australia’s Kimberley region. Boab says, “… the best self-help books can be highly effective … Many practitioners regularly recommend particular books to their clients or patients … The use of self-help books is known as ‘bibliotherapy’.” … a  coined term “for the therapeutic use of books in the treatment of illness or personal problems. Evidence in the UK, suggests that bibliotherapy has a therapeutic benefit for people experiencing common mental health issues.”

Books as medicine, sounds like it could be good news for many in the community. Some people have told me that being treated with drugs for mental health issues has led to other problems, such as adverse side-effects and dependency.  With that in mind, reading a self-help book could just be “what the doctor ordered”.

But help can’t be found in just any old tome.  If you want to improve your mental wellbeing, you might want to choose a book that has a proven track record. For example, it could be one that’s been around for a long time, has been read by many people around the world, and has perhaps even received testimonials regarding its practicality and effectiveness.

Another way to gauge a good self-help book is to ask if it’s one that brings inspiration, gives you a lift, encourages you to change your thinking or life-style, shows you how to be fearless and calm in difficult situations, or strengthens your mental resilience.

I can certainly testify that reading a self-help book is beneficial. Over the years I’ve referred to my two all-time favourites – the Scriptures and Science and Health, almost every day. These books have provided me with lots of practical ideas and helped me focus my thinking on life-changing spiritual ideas.  As a result, many times my exact need has been met. I’ve found uplifting, empowering concepts that have enabled me to beat anxiety or stress and lead a happier, healthier life.

Today, a growing number of people are turning to books that discuss the mind-body connection or explain the relationship between consciousness and experience.  This can be seen in the burgeoning number of books and magazines devoted to such topics. It seems that there is even a desire to explore a spiritually mental approach to mental and emotional health issues through books on meditation and prayer.

All of this interest augers well for the future of mental health. It’s quite possible that somewhere down the track, books will also be prescribed to people who suffer chronic pain or fatigue, or perhaps have relationship problems.  Stay tuned for more news on this front.  Books as medicine? I can’t think of a better prescription.

This article by Beverly Goldsmith was originally published on her blog site Spirituality and Health Connect. Beverly is a Melbourne-based health writer who provides a diversity of health content on how spirituality and thought affect health.

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