Archive for the ‘mental health’ Tag

What it Means to Me to be a Christian Scientist   Leave a comment

The Christian Science Church – a part of the Canberra community.  Members share testimonies and talk about their lives as Christian Scientists. 

Playing GuitarMy name is Jen and I am a member of the Christian Science Church in Canberra.  I love learning about other people’s religions – I hope that some of you will love learning about mine.

Although Christian Science is very much based on what Jesus taught us, I often describe it to atheist and agnostic friends as a blend of Buddhism and Quantum Physics.  This is because it has a focus on overcoming a material view of the world, and understanding God as a spiritual life force.  It also presents us with a set of rules that we can use to understand God and His relation to man:  spiritual laws that are the basis of reality.

So what does this mean for me, as a Christian Scientist?  It means that I work every day to bring spirituality into my experience, and have seen healing as a result.  I lived in Indonesia for a year and attracted a lot of attention as a fair-haired, blue-eyed foreigner.  I developed anxiety during my time there due to the constant staring, catcalling and sexual harassment.  When I came home to Australia, I struggled to shake the anxiety, which made me incredibly tense, neurotic and irritable.  It took me a couple of years of prayer to overcome my anxiety:  it was clear that I was safe, but I was facing mental suggestions that I should hold onto fear to protect myself.

I had the choice of turning to a powerful God who created me free of fear, to a God who made me feel unsafe and fearful, or to no God at all.  I chose the first, as praying to know that I am the spiritual creation of a loving God has brought me healing in the past.  I had a major light-bulb moment in this case when I realized that the opposite of anxiety is expecting good.  I replaced thoughts of fear and anxiety with thoughts of safety and optimism, knowing that an All-Powerful God would always protect His creation.  This allowed me to free my thought from fear, and I have felt relaxed and protected ever since.

This is a testimony of how I understand God and myself, and also of how I use Christian Science prayer in facing the challenges in my life.  I use the laws that Jesus taught us to overcome limited views of myself, and rid myself of fear in living a peaceful life.

Can We Heal the Culture of Violence?   Leave a comment

$ dreamstime_6602712 - CopyThe issue of violence is prominent in our community conversations at the moment. Terrorism, drug-related violence, domestic and institutional abuse, and even road rage are insistently crying out for our attention and solutions.

Despite serious efforts over many years to prevent violence, to deal with its effects and to punish the perpetrators, there’s now general agreement that violence will continue to escalate and to propagate fear in the community until we find and treat the real causes.

Fundamental beliefs that underlie and perpetuate all kinds of violence are: that humans have an animal nature prone to competition, self-preservation and aggression; that certain brain-based dysfunctions may be the root of addiction and violence, aggravated by abuse or neglect during childhood; and that there are deeply rooted social and cultural patterns, leading to a distorted sense of manhood and womanhood, that may take generations to change.

However, there’s evidence that these beliefs may be just that …. either long-held or fairly recent beliefs that need to be revised.

Drugs and alcohol are often associated with violence. People working in the police and community services speak of how addiction and abuse reoccur from generation to generation, and there is now general realisation that special attention needs to be given to the families involved.

However, there is some progress as communities work together to fight apathy and educate each other that this cycle can indeed be broken.

A retired commanding officer in the police force shared one such approach: “…anytime I knew I was going to a call related to domestic conflict or violence I would pick up the local pastor.” Often they were able to provide a spiritual viewpoint and connection that would later solve the problem.

It is often acknowledged that recognising a man’s spiritual nature has a healing effect.

Significant psychological research studies find that spirituality is not only helpful to, but integral to mental health. This is an important point in considering individual and whole-society wellbeing.

We may need to adjust our thinking about our real nature.

Another long-held false belief will be overturned by realising that the spiritual qualities generally attributed to women – such as care for others, gentleness, forgiveness and patience – and those qualities attributed to men – such as wisdom, truthfulness, tenaciousness and strength – are innate in both men and women.

Jesus’ ability to express both the fatherhood and motherhood of the divine set the benchmark for us. And like him, we’re actually “tuned in” to hear spiritual intuitions that will prompt, direct and uplift thought, although we may choose not to listen.

Knowing that no-one can be excluded from hearing and acting on divine thoughts can help to overcome violent impulses and begin to heal the culture of violence.

A pioneer in investigating the effects of our thoughts on our health, Mary Baker Eddy, recognised this voice as the ever-appearing of “the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

When Susannah (not her real name) moved out of home and obtained a copy of that book, she just loved the way the author described the divine power that governs the universe as Father-Mother.

Her family had suffered violence at the hand of her father for many years. To think her father could be capable of reflecting the gentle motherhood of God seemed absolutely impossible. However, she decided to stop wrestling with this idea and worked hard to try to see him as reflecting this tender divine nature; learning that he was meant to be nurturing, gentle, tender.

Susannah was listening for the divine message, which replaced the macho view of her father and other men, with this new view of men. Her thought and experiences gradually began to change.

As the weeks went by, she learned that her parents had not had a fight in months and her father was treating her mother and sister with new tenderness. Eight years on, this is still the case.

A scientific approach to thought and prayer in this way does not whitewash evil deeds; rather it exposes the mistaken beliefs and causes them to be discarded.

Further changes in thinking about her own spiritual nature, meant that Susannah no longer saw herself or her mother as survivors of mental, verbal or physical intimidation, but as well-adjusted and balanced individuals.

She had no lingering emotional scars, but had learned truly to love and see the undamageable good in herself and her mother.

As Australian of the Year and domestic violence survivor, Rosie Batty, advocates, Susannah truly took responsibility for her own life, bringing vital change to those around her in the process.

Such approaches hint at the possibilities for healing the culture of violence in ourselves and in the community.

This article was contributed by Kay Stroud, of Queensland.  Kay writes on the connection between spirituality and health.  This article has been published on 40 APN news sites, including: Sunshine Coast Daily, Toowoomba Chronicle, Lismore Northern Star, Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, Mackay Daily Mercury,Tweed Daily News, Bundaberg News Mail, Coffs Coast Advocate, Grafton Daily Examiner,Gladstone Observer, Fraser Coast Chronicle, Gympie Times, Caboolture News, Stanthorpe Border Post

Study Shows Spirituality Protects Youth Mental Health   Leave a comment

Style: "70's look"The years between 15-25 are a time of questioning and great discovery, but I found them difficult. I had to deal with sickness, failure in my chosen career, chronic lack of self-worth along with indecision about an alternative career path, and loneliness.

During this time, I learned that spiritual activities kept me sane and ever hopeful that things would get better. Rather than restricting me or quashing my critical thinking, a daily communion with the divine and loving Principle of the universe, along with giving time to serving others, gave me a feeling of self-worth again and opened up previously unknown pathways. Things started to go right for me again, and I met and married a wonderful man to whom I’m still married.

My spiritual research has led me to understand that what I needed all along was to put into daily practice a growing understanding of the Divine being and my relationship to Him/Her.

Recent research results show that spirituality impacts directly on a range of health determinants, and has a positive impact upon social, mental and emotional health.

A 2008 study published in Australian Family Physician and written by Dr Craig Hassed, Senior Lecturer, Department of General Practice at Monash University in Melbourne, reported that “Spirituality is an important determinant of physical, emotional and social health and may, in some circumstances, be a central aspect of the management of some conditions.”

When commenting on escalating trends in youth suicide it suggests that “there may be too little attention being given to the ‘protective factors’ against mental illness, of which, particularly for adolescents, are connectedness and having a spiritual or religious dimension to one’s life” (Hassed, The role of spirituality in medicine, 2008).

It’s heartening to learn that a better understanding of youth mental health identifies spirituality as central. These research findings need to be guiding the treatment of anxiety and depression, not just in young people, but for all.

A spiritual or religious dimension to life will assist our youth as they seek (and find) their unique place in the world.

This article, Study Shows Spirituality Protects Youth Mental Health, 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.

Memory and Good Mental Health   1 comment

shutterstock_170530703Memory is an important faculty for coping with daily life and an essential ingredient for maintaining good mental health. Being able to retain and recall information, ideas, or instructions, is essential in caring for one’s self, completing jobs at home, or undertaking tasks at work. The notion that this capability is diminishing, or that it could be lost completely, can produce debilitating anxiety or extreme fear.

So concerning is this issue for mature aged people, that even small memory lapses, such as not remembering a person’s name, are worrying. They’re concerned that perhaps they’ve inherited a poor memory, that the ability to recall information is diminishing with age, or that it is being lost entirely through disease.

Since thought and experience are closely connected, it follows that if someone believes that memory is threatened by any or all of these scenarios, then the fear of losing it appears understandable. But no one has to fear losing their thinking capacity—or any other capacity, for that matter.

From a physiological standpoint, memory is believed to reside in a fleshly brain that may or may not be healthy; that matter is the source or manager of intelligence because it supposedly thinks, and remembers. But what if memory was actually spiritual, ageless, and always intact? What if a person was totally exempt from theories that predict the inevitable decline of the body and subsequent loss of mental capacity? What if it was possible to overcome the fear of not having instant recall, and even to improve one’s mental capacity? Is this something that’s achievable?

Mary Baker Eddy, a great thinker, author, and religious leader who lived to her nineties, thought so. She writes in her book, Science and Health, “If delusion says, ‘I have lost my memory,’ contradict it. No faculty of Mind is lost. In Science, all being is eternal, spiritual, perfect, harmonious in every action. Let the perfect model be present in your thoughts instead of its demoralized opposite. This spiritualization of thought lets in the light, and brings the divine Mind, Life not death, into your consciousness.” p.407

How reassuring to be told, that no matter what your age, the capacity to retain needed knowledge is always present. There’s no need to be afraid.  Not remembering where one put the car keys, does not have to indicate aging, or the presence of disease!

The source of intelligence and wisdom is from divine Mind.  The ability to think, is in, and of, Spirit. Memory, that is, the facility to recollect information, is thus a spiritually mental faculty. That capacity is not something that’s here today, and gone tomorrow. The divine Mind that created each person to be intelligent, to reason, think, and remember, also keeps each person’s thinking intact. Thus ideas, along with instant recall, are permanent in everyone.

I discovered this several years ago when I was employed to speak at various public venues, as well as on radio and television programs. There was a lot of material to remember for these presentations. Fear of forgetting crept in. I addressed the dread of short-term or long-term memory loss, from a spiritual standpoint.  I gave up the notion that remembering is associated with a material brain, and affirmed that memory is a permanent spiritual faculty.  When the fear of not retaining information was removed, I spoke freely and recalled ideas and information readily.

Thinking of one’s self in spiritual terms, means age and decline are no longer a threat to memory or continued good mental health.  Right now it’s possible to stop being afraid of forgetting. Anyone can utilize this spiritual approach.  They can affirm, accept, believe in, and expect to have excellent memory – always.

This article, Memory and Good Mental 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.

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.

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