Your Mind Can Make You Sick
The Mind-Body Connection
Science is beginning to confirm what certain wise men have said at different points in history. King David said, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." Prov. 17:22. Your mind and mental state can have a profound affect on your physical body, your spiritual experience, and your over-all quality of life. The mind, the body, and the spirit are all inextricably interconnected. When one is affected, the other two suffer. We can live a healthy lifestyle and perform our spiritual duties, but if the mind is not healthy the other two cannot make up for the lack, and we are not truly wholistically healthy or healed.
Physical problems: Worry, anger, jealousy, hate, ill will, grudges, vindictiveness, irritation, resentment, guilt, depression, anxiety, lack of joy and happiness, and all other negative emotions and thoughts have a negative effect upon the body and open the door for sickness and disease. There are now quite a number of cases where a disease or sickness or altered health can be traced back to a mental cause. Here are a few:
Decline of physical energy and vitality due to guilt following a series of sins or resulting from a string of lies; chronic aches and pains due to a long-held and suppressed grudge; skin rash after a quarrel with someone; colds due to mental stress over such things as exams, trips, and arguments; heart rhythms changing in response to positive or negative thoughts; high blood pressure from bouts of anger, or fear and stress, or imagined problems.
As a girl was about to be forced into an unwanted marriage, she experienced repeated attacks of rheumatoid arthritis. One physician was convinced that one of his patients died of "grudgitis" because of the hatred he held for so many years. Another doctor put it this way: "It is not a question of whether an illness is physical or emotional, but how much of each." Dr. F. Dunbar, author of Mind and Body.
Many health problems (often including cancer, chronic fatigue, depression, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, insomnia, irritable bowel disease, certain digestive disturbances) do not entirely clear up unless the mental aspect is also addressed. You may not have any of these diseases, yet be assured that your negative thoughts and emotions have their toll. There are physiological reasons why the body reacts so dramatically to our thoughts and emotions. Every part of our being, including our cells, sympathize or respond to the positive and negative states of our minds.
Emotional problems: Negative emotions left unattended breed greater mental or emotional problems. This often results in sickness and sometimes death. Even though people experience negative results from their negative emotions, they often fail to trace their problems from cause to effect. The repetition of the same problem over and over again should lead them to seek answers that would totally eliminate the tensions, irritations, anxieties, etc., but instead they go right back to taking temporary solutions in the form of drugs or various medications.
It is very important that those who deal with individuals suffering from emotional problems approach such with a spirit of open-mindedness, sympathy, and understanding. Some people can handle more stress than others, and some can be so emotionally fragile that just a little pressure can cause immeasurable harm. Much care must therefore be taken to minister appropriately and tenderly to the abused and emotionally disturbed, especially since emotional problems can be so traumatic and long term that they can shut down all the vital forces of the body and the mind. The interconnection and sympathy between mind, body, and spirit is so strong that in the treatment of emotional problems a wise person will pay attention to every part of their being with the understanding that this is essential for total or complete healing.
Spiritual problems: A disturbed mental state causes harm that can be manifested in various spiritual problems. This could include a decline in spirituality, loss of interest in spiritual things, pulling away from fellow believers, ceasing to attend worship or spiritual gatherings, and anger toward God or fellow believers. This is unfortunate because the true solution for mental unrest, and support for mental strength and health, must include the spiritual.
When a person is spiritually awake and uplifted, he or she usually exhibits a cheerfulness, faith, and boldness that gives consistency and momentum to all his or her pursuits in life. When spirituality is affected, reactions of discouragement, despondency, hopelessness, doubt, inconsistency, and laziness are exhibited, as well as guilt and fear, which have already been scientifically implicated with many mental and physical handicaps. If spiritual problems are not addressed, not only is our happiness in this world at stake, but also our future in heaven and the earth made new is in jeopardy.
Solution: Learn to become aware of the cause of the effect. A knowledge of this will help to get rid of many long-standing problems. Remember that all aspects of man, the mental, physical, and spiritual, are interconnected and therefore sympathize with each other. As one area is affected positively or negatively, its effects will overlap into all the other areas and have a similar effect on them as well. Thus, always try to work on every part of your being in order to get total healing when one part is affected.
More importantly, our thoughts affect both our emotions and our actions. Therefore, if we can change negative thoughts, we can also change our negative emotions and actions. Negative thoughts can paralyze or freeze up one's entire being and inhibit progress in all pursuits or goals in life. Yes, my friend, the solution begins from within: transform the mind and you will transform the person. Hence we are told: "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Rom. 12:2.
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