January 24, 2017

10 Tips for Pursuing Health and Happiness

Creating Margin in Life for What You Want

by Rob Fischer

The pursuit of health and happiness is woven into the fabric of the American psyche. Our Declaration of Independence lists life and the pursuit of happiness as “unalienable rights.” What we tend to forget, however, is that “liberty” is also listed among those rights. What that means is that we are free to pursue these rights, but they are neither owed us, nor handed to us. We must pursue them.

As a Time Magazine article recently pointed out, “Americans are free to pursue happiness [and health], but there’s no guarantee we’ll achieve it.”[1] The amount of stress most Americans find themselves slaves to is solid evidence that we are not achieving a quality of life (health) or happiness that we desire.

The American Institute of Stress reports that “75 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems.” They conclude that stress is America’s number one health problem.[2] Naturally, stress squelches our happiness too.

10 tips for pursuing health and happinessThe Key to Health and Happiness

Unfortunately, many of us have slipped into an entitlement mentality believing that values like health and happiness are owed us. Therefore, when deprived of these, we feel victimized and look for someone else to blame.

In his best-selling book, Margin, Dr. Richard A. Swenson, MD writes, “The conditions of modern-day living devour margin.”[3] As a result, we are like the strings on a piano that have been strung too tight, ready to snap.

We need margin in our lives in order to be free to pursue health and happiness. The key to achieving margin is to take personal responsibility. No one else can give you margin. Only you can create margin in your life. So, when it comes to pursuing health and happiness, the buck stops with you and me. Are you up for the challenge?

Tips for Pursuing Health and Happiness

1. Check your definition of “happiness.”

How do you define “happiness?” If happiness means owning a new $25,000 Harley Davidson motorcycle, what happens 18 months into your $500-per-month payments when you lose your job? Suddenly, what was intended to bring you happiness becomes a millstone around your neck!

Or if you define happiness as going on a lavish cruise, what happens when a dental emergency occurs diverting the cruise funds to your teeth? Can you still be happy because you had funds set aside to cover your dental work?

Be careful how you define happiness. Don’t set yourself up for stress, anxiety, or depression by setting unrealistic goals, or giving temporal things too much attention. Most people find deeper, richer happiness in things that are not temporal like relationships.

It’s also important to understand that for many people, a sense of meaning and happiness in life overlap. Discovering one’s “purpose” in life essentially boils down to finding those one or two things that are bigger than yourself, and bigger than those around you. And to find them you must get off your couch and act, and take the time to think beyond yourself and to think greater than yourself.

2. Invest in your relationships.

Relationships gone awry cause stress like nothing else in our lives. The stress of a divorce or other broken relationship can be all-consuming affecting your health, finances, emotions, productivity, and happiness profoundly.

We tend to take relationships for granted. Instead, consider how you can make positive investments in your relationships daily. Enjoy others and be kind, caring and loving. Forgive and don’t hold grudges.

Also, take inventory of your relationship with God. Where do you stand with Him? Peace with God leads to peace with others. Actively pursue a growing relationship with Him. That’s what He desires from you.[4]

3. Spend time daily in prayer and meditation.

We go through life so rapidly at times that we don’t have time to come up for air. Slow down for 20 minutes (or you set the time frame) every morning or evening to reflect on your day and your relationships.

Praying (conversing with God) and meditating (reflecting) can help you weed out the unimportant and trivial and focus on what matters. You may also be amazed at the effectiveness of prayer and meditation to problem-solve.

4. Do nothing in excess.

Interestingly, conditions like gout were once only diseases of the rich. As one of the richest nations in the world, we lavish excess on ourselves. Especially the younger generations have no connection or experience with the Great Depression or going without the essentials of life.

As a result, we drink too much alcohol, we eat too much—and too much of the wrong things, we lounge around too much, we spend too much…you get the picture! We’ve established a culture of excessive bad habits. Bad habits own you. You don’t own them.

5. Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night.

Many foolishly view sleep as a necessary evil, or something only for the weak. If you find yourself boasting to others that you can get by on four or five hours of sleep at night, you’re both fooling yourself and killing yourself.

Most Americans live sleep-deprived lives. This seriously jeopardizes our physical and emotional well-being, elevates our stress levels, reduces productivity, hinders creativity, and even harms our relationships.

Positive-ThinkingThe National Sleep Foundation impresses on us the need for around eight hours of sleep each night. Also, it’s important to try to go to bed and get up at roughly the same time each day to establish your circadian rhythm.[5]

6. Practice only wholesome thoughts and reject negativity.

Our thoughts and words are very powerful tools. They either destroy or build up. Again, we must master them, or they will master us.

Take inventory of your thoughts and words for a day. What do you think about? How much time do you spend rehearsing an altercation before it even happens? How much time do you devote to replaying old tapes from an unpleasant exchange with another person? Scrub your mind of those thoughts and think about positive, wholesome things.

What is coming out of your mouth? Get rid of complaining, gossip, anger, foul or sordid language. Instead, speak kindly to others. Be courteous and gracious with your words. Express gratitude and positivity whenever possible.

no act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted7. Perform random acts of kindness.

The unhappiest people in the world tend to be those who think “it’s all about them.” Generally, the more we can take the focus off ourselves and tend to others’ needs, the happier we’ll be.

Make it a game to look for ways to bless others each day. Especially do this in your family and with those you are closest to. We tend to take them for granted and often treat them more poorly than we would ever think of treating a stranger.

A random act of kindness could be something as simple as washing the dishes without being asked. Buy someone’s coffee. Defer to someone else in traffic. Hold the door open for others, etc.

8. Develop healthy eating habits.

Eat primarily whole foods, avoiding prepackaged, processed and foods. Choose smaller helpings at mealtimes. Don’t skip breakfast, lunch or dinner. Plan ahead so you’re not eating junk food on the run two hours later than you’d normally eat.

Never let yourself get famished—or too full. When you’re super-hungry, you choose the wrong foods and eat too much. Stop when you’re comfortably full. You should never have to unbutton your pants!

Barton Publishing Healthy FOOD PLATEHere is Barton Publishing’s lean, healthy food platter to follow that combines raw and cooked food:

  • Eat 35-50% protein and healthy fats.
  • Eat 35-40% veggies. Go ahead and pile on the green stuff. For example, eat a salad BEFORE you have a slice of pizza.
  • Whole grains should only be 5-15% of your total intake.
  • Fruits should only be between 5-10% of your diet.
  • Organic dairy products can be consumed up to 10% of your total intake.

9. Drink plenty of water.

No other beverage can substitute water. Drinking 8 cups of coffee does not equate to 8 glasses of water. Your body needs (craves) water to function properly. According to Medical Daily, as many as 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration.[6]

Water is necessary for nearly all bodily functions. Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Rapid heartrate
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Muscle cramps
  • Constipation
  • Skin problems
  • And fuzzy-headedness.[7]

10. Stay physically active.

Your body was designed to move! Regular physical activity is a great equalizer from a health and happiness standpoint. Exercising four to five days a week for at least 30 minutes helps us build other healthy habits in our lives like: eating properly, maintaining a healthy weight, drinking enough water, sleeping well at night, positive outlook, and so on.
Physical fitness has a profound impact on our life and therefore our happiness.

What are you doing to pursue your health and happiness? As a result of reading this article, what one thing will you do differently today?

 If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.

 

 

 

Sources:
[1] Jeffrey Kluger, “The Happiness of Pursuit,” Time Magazine, July 8, 2013, http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2146449,00.html.
[2] The American Institute of Stress, “America’s #1 Health Problem,” nd, http://www.stress.org/americas-1-health-problem/.
[3] Richard A. Swenson, MD, “Margin—Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2004), p. 13.
[4] See Micah 6:8 and Jeremiah 9:23-24.
[5] National Sleep Foundation, “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” nd, https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need.
[6] John Ericson, “75% of Americans May Suffer from Chronic Dehydration, According to Doctors,” Medical Daily, July 3, 2013, http://www.medicaldaily.com/75-americans-may-suffer-chronic-dehydration-according-doctors-247393.
[7] Anna Fleet, “The Top 10 Signs of Dehydration,” Active Beat, April 10, 2015, http://www.activebeat.co/diet-nutrition/the-top-10-signs-of-dehydration/10/.

4 Ways to Recharge Your Energy Batteries

Finding Real Energy and Power

by Rob Fischer

Since 1989, the Energizer Bunny® has been beating his drum as a symbol of energy and power. While this now famous pink bunny “keeps going and going,” multiple sclerosis sufferers find their “batteries” getting low.

As you’ve read in this issue of Home Cures That Work, Dr. Scott Saunders refers to MS as “a disease of energy – or lack of it, that is. MS renders the mitochondria in the cells weak and unable to function properly sapping one’s strength and energy. We wonder in awe that something so miniscule could impact us so profoundly!

4 practices to increase your energy Unfortunately, there are other influences at work in our bodies that also deplete our energy and strength. Some of these dark influences include: discouragement, self-pity, depression, and anger. If you suffer from MS or some other chronic disease, it’s totally understandable that you might experience some of these negative emotions—who wouldn’t?

The problem is that negative attitudes and emotions lead to chronic stress that can severely impact our health. We now know that chronic stress often brought on by these negative feelings can lead to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, digestive problems, infections, and cause us to age faster.[1] Especially for a person suffering with MS, this is the last thing you need!

This serves as another reminder that people are integrated, whole beings. What happens in any one facet of our lives profoundly impacts all other areas.

You Are the Boss

We often wrongly assume that we are just victims of our emotions. We are quick to blame our circumstances—or even God for our plight. As a result, we behave as though we can’t help feeling angry, bitter, resentment, or discouraged.

On the one hand, we need to cut ourselves some slack. We are only human after all. We are ultimately frail. From time to time we all feel down and disheartened . . . but we mustn’t live there.

On the other hand, you are not a victim, but the boss of your emotions. You are not at the mercy of the whims of your emotions. Don’t play the victim with your emotions and allow them to sap even more of your energy and strength! Instead, take control.

Let’s take a look at some positive things we can do tap into the power and energy we need, especially when trying to overcome a debilitating disease. We’ll look at some practices to avoid and others to pursue to prevent energy-sapping negativity in your life and bring energy to your life instead.

4 Practices to Avoid

  1. how you will respond to sufferingAvoid comparing your suffering with that of others. This only leads to further feelings of self-pity and other morose thoughts. Dr. Jerry Sitser lost his wife, his mother and his daughter all in the same car accident. In his grief, he wondered whether his pain was any greater than that of anyone else’s who loses a loved one. He concluded that such comparisons were futile.[2] You don’t want spend your valuable energy on things that will further drain your energy.
  2. Don’t push God and others away. Pushing God and others away in our suffering only increases our sorrow and gains us nothing. This behavior is counter-productive and further depletes our energies.
  3. Leave the question “Why?to God. Certainly it’s human to ask, “Why am I suffering so?” But this quickly degenerates to the demand, “What did I do to deserve this?” And more often than not, the answer is, “Neither you, nor God brought this disease upon yourself.” Much of life and what happens to us is a mystery. We often don’t know “why?” The real question is, “How will you respond in your suffering?”
  4. Resist the temptation to focus on yourself and your problems. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but it’s not all about you (or me)! Focusing on oneself is very small behavior. Self-focus is energy-depleting behavior.

4 Practices to Increase Your Energy

1. Find strength in God.

For 13 years, David lived as a fugitive hunted by an evil king who wished him dead. Banished from his homeland, he returns from a journey only to find that enemy raiders have burned his home town and carried off his family and possessions and those of his 600 men. And if things couldn’t get worse, his men turn mob-like and speak of stoning him to death! How did David respond? “David found strength in the Lord his God.”[3]

The end result was David gaining back all that was stolen. The hopelessness that MS brings can be very overwhelming, leaving you in a state of grief and nothing to look forward to. Like David, you can take a step to find strength in God and gain back what MS has stolen from you.

2. Have fun with your friends.

One of the surest paths out of depression and sorrow is to spend time with people that are easy for you to be with. Enjoy their company. Laugh together. People who laugh with others generally feel good about themselves and life in general. There’s something energizing and relaxing about laughter. Watch a comedy together, play games, or exchange jokes. King Solomon knew what he was talking about when he wrote, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.[4]

3. Go back to what you know.

Often suffering becomes so distracting that we forget the basics on which we are grounded. What are the basics? Being grounded in what we know gives us strength and energy to continue.

  1. God loves you and cares for you more than you can possibly imagine.
  2. Your character (who you are becoming) is of far greater importance than what you’re suffering.
  3. Trust in God and He will take care of you. “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”[5]
  4. Be hopeful and pray for your healing. MS can go into remission, or as Dr. Saunders describes, you may be able to reverse it. Couple the diet that Dr. Saunders provides with prayer asking God to give you strength to follow through with it and see your MS reversed.

4. Spend time each day attending to your spiritual health.

Spiritual health doesn’t just happen. We need to take action to cultivate our spiritual health, just as we do our mental and physical health. Attend to your spiritual health by reading God’s Word, the Bible and taking time to talk with God in prayer. Fellowship with other followers of Christ. Listen to music and let its soothing energy wash over you. Once hesitant to do so, the medical community now clearly sees the connection between spiritual health and physical health. Studies demonstrate that spiritual health lowers depression, improves blood pressure, boosts the immune system, offers social support, and improves coping skills.[6]

So, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”[7] Now that’s energizing!

Finally, as you or someone you loves suffers with MS, some other chronic illness, or other great misfortune, let me encourage you with a prayer that the Apostle Paul prayed for the followers of Jesus in the ancient city of Ephesus:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

There is real energy and power to be found in Christ. Trust Him today!

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.

 

Sources:
[1] Karen Lawson, MD, “How Do Thoughts & Emotions Impact Health?” Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing, University of Minnesota, nd, http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/health/thoughts-emotions/how-do-thoughts-emotions-impact-health.
[2] Mark Fischer, When Your Soul Enters the Iron—Finding God to Be Enough When the Pain Doesn’t Go Away (Spokane, WA: Mark Fischer, 2011), p. 29.
[3] 1 Samuel 30:1-6, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
[4] Proverbs 17:22, NIV.
[5] Hebrews 13:5, NIV.
[6] Kids Health, “How Can Spirituality Affect Your Family’s Health?” August 2014, http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/spirituality.html#.
[7] Philippians 4:6-7, NIV.

How Do Your Emotions Reflect Your Health?

By Dr. Scott Saunders

Sam was in my office today with a completely emotionless face.  He said he had a pain on his finger and pointed to a bump on the distal joint of his index finger.  These joints aren’t usually painful, but he indicated it hurt to bend his finger and press on it.  I got a syringe with cortisone and put an injection in it as he looked away.

We then talked about his all-over pain.  I asked him why he had so much inflammation and he stated matter-of-factly in a monotone voice,“It’s probably the alcohol.”  Everything changed at that moment because he then asked for medication to calm his nerves so he wouldn’t feel the need to drink.

He had tried so many things that are supposed to help alcoholism, but without any success.  “I’m at the end of my rope…”  He almost broke down and cried, but trying very hard not to show emotion he gathered himself and said, “This is the only thing in my life I have wanted to do and have not been able.”

Not being able to deal with your own emotions is guaranteed to negatively affect your health!  The only way Sam can deal with his feelings of sadness, depression and loneliness is to suppress them with alcohol.  Like so many, he isn’t even really aware of why he feels the way he does, he just wants the feeling to go away.  Again, many, many people turn to alcohol because alcohol works!  This has been the “drug of choice” for all emotional problems that plague people since the beginning of time.  Now we have other options for handling our emotions and improving our health.

In fact, the majority of drugs prescribed by doctors are not for physical problems, but rather emotional ones. Many people do not see or understand things on an emotional level.  Because people don’t know why they feel the way they do, these drugs are prescribed to help people feel better and control their emotions:

  • Tranquilizers
  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Morphine
  • Pain pills
  • Sleeping pills

But because most people don’t know how to understand and deal with their feelings, they are unable to connect with others.  This produces feelings of:

  • Fear
  • Separation
  • Loneliness
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

In trying to escape such feelings, people become physically unhealthy as a result. Like Sam who feels the need to keep drinking alcohol, there are many ways people use chemical means to feel better.  Dealing with your feelings in this way produces multiple negative effects.  This is huge in that it affects nearly every person in the world.

Addiction

As a society in general, we consider that those drugs prescribed by a doctor are somehow better than those we can buy without a prescription.  However, we must consider that when we use chemicals for emotional reasons, we prevent our own growth.

For example, children who are emotionally immature often have trouble in school. Then, a teacher or doctor may recommend a drug to treat ADD.  The use of the drug stimulates receptors, but doesn’t improve the functioning of the brain. Thus, these children most often become adults with ADD, never having grown up in any other way.  Thus, they are likely to continue to require and become addicted to chemical or other support for their emotions.

Chronic Pain

Most pain is emotional.  The ground-breaking work by John Sarno, MD, a rehabilitation specialist, has shown that most

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Are Your Emotions Making You Sick?

By Amanda Box, N.D.

Sue walked into my office without an appointment.  Her face looked frazzled.  She apologized for not calling beforehand, but said she was desperate.  She said she felt extremely ill and that regular doctors were ignoring her cries for help.  She was just sure that if I gave her some vitamins and a good diet to follow that it would make her sickness all right.  But, I knew better.

whole health mind body spirit

I didn’t have time to have an actual consult with her, but I had a suspicion that there was something else going on – something much deeper than just her physical symptoms.  I started asking questions and quickly found out that I wasn’t the one she needed to be talking to.

Many times, my clients are surprised when I start asking questions about their childhood, their marriage and the stress in their life.  Most think that since they came in with physical symptoms, that I should be asking questions that only deal only with their physical body.

I explain to them,

“Health isn’t just what we eat and drink or how our body feels. It is what we think about and if we have a spiritual connection with God.

Our health is WHOLE HEALTH: Mind, Body and Spirit.  If one is not balanced, the others are affected. Click to tweet.

Sue had major emotional issues that were leading to her inability to sleep and also had feelings of depression.  She admitted to me that there had been trauma in her childhood, that she had had an abortion 20 years ago and that she had thoughts of hurting herself.

The look in her eyes spoke so much to me.

I said to her, “Sue, I can put you on an excellent diet plan and some supplements to help you sleep.  But, I honestly don’t think they will do much.  You see, you need emotional and spiritual healing.  Unfortunately, I am not equipped to give you what you need in this area, but I can refer you to someone who can help you walk through this.  Then, when you feel peace in your mind and spirit, we will work on that diet plan.”

I handed her the number of my friend who is a professional counselor who deals with both the mind and spirit.  Then I assured her she would get better and that I would be praying for her.

There have been many other times when I had to make that judgment call and refer my client to a counselor.  Because I understand the power of the mind and what it can do to our bodies, I feel like I would be cheating them if I didn’t refer them for more emotional and spiritual help.

If one is filled with anger or fear, no supplement or food plan is going to fix that!  It might take the edge off, but the root issue is still there.

Natural medicine is about getting to the root of the problem, and that root is not always physical.

A More Excellent Way

My mother in law gave me a book several years ago called, “A More Excellent Way.”  It is a book written about the emotional roots of diseases and has bible scriptures that tie into each one.  When I started flipping through the book, it illuminated the emotion-diesease connection I had feared addressing because people might think I was crazy.  I don’t agree with everything the author says, but I have begun to see much of the same in my clients.

I started using what I had learned in the book for my consults.  I remember the first time I worked up the guts to go after an emotional root to an ailment.

I had a mom call me because her son had eczema that was not clearing up.  She had spent months using all kinds of natural supplements and a clean diet.  I asked her, “Does he struggle with fear?  And did you happen to deal with fear while you were pregnant or when he was a baby?”  She replied, “Why yes!  I almost miscarried him in the womb and I feared the whole pregnancy that he wouldn’t make it! And he is a very fearful kid!”

I found the root!  The book was right when it connected skin issues like eczema with fear!  Does that mean fear is the sole cause of eczema?  No, it can have physical causes as well like food allergies or parasites.

But, when someone struggles with an issue that doesn’t clear up with the correct supplements and the right diet, an emotion very well may be the culprit.  I have seen it over and over again, now with eczema and with several other ailments.

There are plenty of other books out there that talk about the emotional roots of disease. Eastern medicine has known about your emotional quotient and health relationship for centuries!  Slowly but surely we are catching up here in the West.  Doctors now understand how stress can affect us physically.  The medical world is now admitting that 70-80% of diseases are rooted in stress!  That would mean they originated in the mind, right?

Thirty years ago, the majority of doctors didn’t understand the great impact of stress on the body. This acknowledgement is a great step in the right direction. However, it is disappointing to me when doctors prescribe a pill for emotional distress when the patient may need professional help.  I have had clients who have been on drugs, such as Prozac, for 20 years!!  These drugs are for short-term use.  Long-term use can cause chemical imbalances in the brain! These pharmaceutical drugs typically cover up the problem and don’t address the root of the emotional imbalance.

Are Emotions Making You Sick?

Now, I want you to think for a minute.

  • Think about the physical issues that you may deal with, whether it is heart disease, diabetes, or even fibromyalgia.
  • Have you tried everything natural you can think of with no avail?
  • Do you eat right but your blood pressure still stays elevated?

Now, look deep inside yourself.

  • Do you struggle with anger?
  • Or, do you harbor feelings of worry, fear or anxiety?

You may say, “Well I have a right to feel that way! You don’t know what has happened in my life!”  You’re probably right.  You do have every right to feel the way you feel.

But would you consider letting go of those emotions if you knew you would feel better and your sickness might disappear?

Listed below are some of the more common emotion-sickness connections.  Read through these and see if any of them resonate with you.  If they do, it may be time to seek some emotional and spiritual help to bring you freedom from what is truly making you sick.

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Emotional Eating and Food Choices

by Amanda Box, N.D.

What we eat is directly affected by our beliefs.

Think about it.

  • If you believe eating healthy is important, then you will eat healthy.
  • If you believe food is food and it makes no difference what you eat, then you will therefore eat whatever you want.
  • If you believe eating pork is an abomination to God, then you don’t eat bacon.

The food choices we make every day are rooted in some sort of belief system. But, what you choose to eat goes even deeper than that.  You may have the knowledge that eating healthy is the right choice to make, but still struggle to choose healthy foods.

This belief lies in what you think about yourself more than what you believe about the foods.  If you don’t have a lot of self-confidence or don’t love and respect yourself, then it makes it difficult to make healthy choices for your body. Your EQ, or emotional quotient, directly affects the food choices you make every day.   Your emotional state and your belief about both food and yourself determine how much you eat and what you eat. Healthy, positive emotions and beliefs about yourself and food, make for a healthy body as well!

Irregular Eating Lowers Your EQ

Can your eating habits affect your emotions? Absolutely!  Many diabetics and hypoglycemics know this from personal experience.  If they skip meals or eat too much sugar, they can experience extreme mood swings, brain fog and impaired thinking. Those who struggle with eating disorders and very rigid eating habits may also suffer from emotional disturbances.

A UK study found that those who struggle with eating issues like anorexia, bulimia, and crash dieting, struggled with identifying different emotions. The women in the study had all been diagnosed with eating disorders.  They were shown cards with faces displaying different emotions.  These women had a hard time distinguishing between scared, mad and sad. Those with the most severe disorders scored the worst. In 2002, another study linked emotional irregularity with abnormal and inconsistent eating.  They found that these rigid dieters, who had a preoccupation with body shape, had more mood disturbances than those who had a more relaxed view of eating. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666301904453

I believe this lack of true nutrition and proper blood sugar maintenance, only exasperates the problem.  This lack sends these women deeper into depression and apathy.  Healthy, vitamin rich, consistent eating, along with proper counseling and care can bring these women into health and wholeness. However, the strong emotional tie in these disorders can make them very difficult to overcome.

Triumph Over Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can manifest out of a false belief or an out of balance emotional state.  The most common disorders are anorexia, bulimia and chronic overeating.  Though these disorders may look very different, they can all have the same terrible consequences.  The worst of those being death! All three of these disorders are rooted in a false belief about oneself.   Some believe they will never be good enough, while others struggle with shame or a need to control when their life feels out of control. Once you change the belief, the eating habits change with it!  To triumph over an eating disorder, you must believe the right things! Here are some great steps to take to change your negative beliefs into positive ones.  Positive beliefs change our emotional state, which leads to a healthier, happy you!

  • Learn to love yourself:  God created you just the way you are!  No matter what you’ve done or what you look like, He is proud of you and loves you deeply.  Your body is a temple and it should be treated with both love and respect.
  • Letting go and letting God: Many times eating disorders are birthed out of control.  When their lives feel out of control, those who struggle with these struggles find comfort in their disorder.  Once you realize that you cannot control your life and that God is in control, you can have peace of mind.  Remember, He has your best interests at heart.  Cast your cares on Him and He will lift you up!
  • Start a thankful journal:  Start focusing on the positive and what you are truly thankful for in your life.  Each day, write those things down. When you start having more positive and thankful thoughts, your whole outlook will change.  The book “1000 Gifts” is a great example of how this positive journaling can transform your life!
  • Get real with a friend:  You don’t have to trumpet it to the world that you struggle with an eating disorder.  But finding a friend you can trust that can walk with you and encourage you, can make a huge difference.

Wrong Mindsets = Wrong Eating Habits

You don’t have to struggle with a full-blown eating disorder to battle with destructive eating habits. Many people don’t even realize they have an unhealthy relationship with food.  They cannot figure out why there are overweight, diabetic or have high blood pressure.  Sometimes, the answer lies in how we were raised or even in a people pleasing personality.

  • Do you feel obligated to finish all the food on your plate? Maybe your parents never let you leave the table growing up until your plate was clean.  You may feel you will hurt the cook’s feelings if you don’t finish the food they prepared.
  • Do you have a hard time turning away food that’s offered to you?  It could be chocolate cake from a birthday celebration or holiday baked goods given to you as a gift.  You may not even be hungry, but you don’t want to hurt the feelings of the one offering it to you.  Though these actions may be good intentioned, they can detrimental to your waistline and health.

Being a people pleaser is an emotional battlefield for your food choices.  The reality is, you must learn to start putting yourself first when it comes to food!  Your health should be your priority, not hurting someone’s feelings because you declined their food offering.  Learning to say no is a good thing!  How you phrase your “No” can make a difference as well.  Try using these responses the next time you are offered food that you wish to decline.

  • Thank them for the offer.
  • Let them know you appreciate them thinking of you, but you have to decline.
  • Tell them you are trying to take steps towards better health with healthy eating.

These are all keys to learning to say no in a kind and respectful way.  Remember, saying no is not a bad thing!  It means you respect yourself enough to set boundaries.

Stress Eating

Stress eating is by far the most common unhealthy eating habit.  It has even been commercialized! You often see someone in a movie or television show whip out a pint of ice cream when love throws them a curve ball.  I believe this commercialization has only encouraged more stress eating.

Many people truly believe that it is okay to bury their problems in pint Ben and Jerry’s or a bag of potato chips. The main problem in this is that stress is unavoidable!  We all have stress in our lives to one degree or another.  If we never truly deal with that stress, but bury it in food, we create a habit. Not just a random splurge.  Some people drink to avoid dealing with life’s problems, others battle with drugs, and some people smoke to relieve stress.

Food can just as easily become one of those additions.  Especially sugar, as gives you a sort of satisfactory, short lived “high”.  Some say sugar is more addictive than cocaine! If you feel like you are one of the thousands, maybe even millions, of people who have a stress-eating problem, take heed.  You can overcome this habit!

Eat to live. Don’t live to eat.

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Extreme Emotional Quotient Questions

By Michael Tyrrell

Do you enjoy thought provoking questions like:

  • Is the glass half empty or half full?
  • What came first? The chicken or the egg?
  • Are you comfortable in crowds or do you prefer solitude?
  • Do you like to read or would you rather have someone read to you?
  • Do you live one day at a time or live contemplating the future?
  • After a long day at work upon returning home do you take off your shoes and throw them haphazardly or do you place them neatly in their appropriate place?
  • Do you have pity on the homeless or do they frustrate you when you are approached for help?
  • Do you feel more at ease when someone looks into your eyes when they are talking to you or does peace come when they look away?
  • Do little children make you smile or do they usually annoy you?
  • When you see a stranger in tears do you inquire or do you walk past them believing their tears are a sign of weakness?
  • Do you feel faith in God is critically important or merely a crutch?
  • Do you feel uneasy when an author starts an article by asking you so many personal questions?

Welcome to this month’s Home Cures That Work topic: Emotional Quotient or EQ!

Before we dive into the pool of self-discovery, I think it would be helpful to define the words, emotion and quotient. 

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines,

  • emotion as: a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood or relationships
  • quotient as: a degree or amount of a specified quality

IQ 101 and EQ 101

In the late fifties, the term IQ became extremely popular in the American culture even though a French psychologist, Alfred Binet and his colleague Theodore Simon developed the first IQ test in the early 1900s. Binet and Simon created a number of questions that focused on things that had not been taught in school such as attention, memory and problem solving skills.

By using their test, Binet and Simon quickly discovered that some of the younger children scored higher than some of the older children proving to them that the concept of a “mental” age or a measure of intelligence based on the average abilities of children of a certain age group were valid. The first IQ test, referred to today as the Binet-Simon scale, has been used in the military since WWI and though many other psychologists have claimed they have improved the test it is still considered the standard today. Enter EQ!

Maybe your thinking, IQ or EQ, what’s the difference?

  • Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a measurement of a person’s organic intelligence relating to logical reasoning, memory, word comprehension and problem solving.
  • Emotional quotient (EQ) is a modality for measuring a persons ability to recognize emotions in themselves and in others and can determine how they will perform under stress at work and as a team player.

Many people with a high IQ may possess a low EQ, which in layman’s terms means, very intelligent but does not function well with others. Unlike IQ, EQ is a relatively new discovery coined by two psychologists Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer in 1990.

Sometime in the 1990s, Daniel Goleman became aware of Salovey and Mayer’s work, which led to his book, Emotional Intelligence. Goleman’s bestseller really helped bring attention to EQ as a new benchmark for human evaluation.

Divine Diagnostic Test

Now with this brief history behind us we can talk on a more educated level. As useful as these tests are, they are still created by humans for humans. I would like to direct your attention to a far more accurate divine diagnostic test that is assessed by our creator!

In Genesis 2:7 we read,

“The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul.”

At the advent of man, God breathes (n’shamah) into an inanimate pile of dirt and creates (bara) an animate soul (nephesh).

Now remember, just prior to the advent of man was the concept of man,

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness.”’ Genesis 1:26,

Lets stop there…did you see it? God just breathed into a dirt mound and a soul came to life that was in the image of God? Think about it! A soul – the epicenter of mans thought, will and emotions – brought to life with God’s breath!

Ok, here we go…

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and Godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.

Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption of the world caused by evil desires.

For this reason make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self control; and to self control, perseverance; and to perseverance, Godliness; and to Godliness, brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:3-4

Now most would agree that the above mentioned scripture boasts some amazing attributes that man is already capable of performing as a believer, right?

Here is the Extreme Question

Why do men still look to creation for answers instead of their Creator? 

Lets say you purchase a new computer and you don’t fully understand its potential. Would you rather ask another consumer who owns the same model what it is capable of or ask its designer?

In the movie, The Matrix, Neo is taken to visit the oracle to find out if he is the “one” who will save mankind. When Neo is confronted by the oracle, there is a great lesson for all of us… Behind his back is a plaque that reads,“Know Thyself” but Neo can’t see it because he is too focused on the oracle standing before him! The oracles job was to get Neo to know himself, think for himself and do what he was already empowered to do.

Today in America, people are sadly empowering others to tell them who they are, think for them and do for them what they should do for themselves!

An ideology that believes that a bigger government is what people need is empowering the government and limiting the peoples freedom to think and choose what is best for them, it is easy to let someone choose for you but it will cost you…a lot!

Here’s another example of emplowering someone else to think for yourself…The life coach. Ok, somehow in the last 20 years we have suddenly become incapable of managing our own lives. Therefore, we hire another human to do it for us…it’s easy and will also cost us…a lot!

Now here’s another good example of emplowering someone to do what we should do for ourselves: personal shopper. Yep, that’s right folks. In the last 20 years, we’ve become too busy and important to shop for ourselves so we make another human busy buying our food, clothes and our families Christmas and birthday presents and because now they are too busy buying our stuff they have to hire someone with the money they made from us to buy their stuff… Oh yeah, it’s so easy but it too will cost you…a lot!

When I mentioned the inherent power of life and Godliness spoken of in 2 Peter 1:3-4 it hinged upon “the knowledge of Him” – not them!

  • When I say them I am talking about the human consortium seen and unseen, known and unknown.
  • When I mention Him, I am speaking of the Author of Life itself, the Alpha and Omega, the Aleph and the Tov, the opening statement and the last word. I am, of course, speaking of Jesus Christ!

You see, if you let man run you life, then the best you can hope for is soulish information based on the experiences of other people… you may also be MANipulated in the process.

I am amazed how easily people are controlled by others; we become what we believe.

Have you ever read a magazine article that starts with, “By age forty you should have deep crows feet in the corner of your eyes.” What was your response? Most people run immediately to the mirror and say, “OMG! They were right!”

My immediate response was, “Who is they?” If you believe “they” are right, then your wrinkles will show up for you! If you understand that “they” represent human talking heads, that make up statistics by looking at a test group of people, and that “they” sell magazines and cosmetics for the companies that buy advertisement in their magazine, then you will no longer put faith in “they.” Then you will enjoy the knowledge of Him and all things pertaining to life and Godliness in Him…not them!

In an among themselves, there is nothing evil about, EQ tests, life coaches, personal shoppers or human government. Even though these help systems can be beneficial, you just don’t want to depend on someone else living your life for you! They are innately human systems, at best.

The Ultimate Intelligence

As humans we are constantly reinventing the wheel and unless we discover the wheel outside the wheel, the world outside our world, and the government outside of man’s government, we will only see what “they” want us to see, think what “they” want us to think and believe what “they” want us to believe…

Read these words penned by King Solomon,

“All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, ‘Look! This is something new?’ It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. Ecclesiastes 1:8-10

The only thing older than a human soul is its creator.  So, we can depend on an EQ test to know ourselves or we can ask the extreme question,

“Should I depend on man or man’s creator?” 

Your answer will change your life… one way or the other.

“Dear friend, 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 1:2

Till next month,

Michael

  1. As a musician, EQ means tone equalization, ie, Bass, Midrange, Treble. If your controls were Body, Soul, Spirit on a scale of 1-10, how would you be tuned today?

  2. Who coined the phrase, “Know Thyself?”

  3. What is more accurate: perspective or proximity?

 

 

Michael Tyrrell, www.michaeltyrrell.com is the founder of the Network Center Inc., a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2001 which works as an advisory agency to local churches, faith-based ministries, Para-church ministries, schools, home fellowships and music ministries in connection with their outreach ministries or missions based activities.  Michael has been committed to training their key leaders and members to deliver the message of their Christian faith in order to reach the lost, the disenfranchised, the sick and the hurting through the organic roots of the Christian faith and other areas as needs arise.  Michael has been in full time ministry for the last 27 years and is a writer music producer and well known musician. http://michaeltyrrell.com

 

Cause and Effects of Low Testosterone

By Dr. Richard A. DiCenso

What is Testosterone?

Testosterone is one of a family of hormones called androgens. Best known for their masculinizing effects, androgens first kick into action during the embryonic stages of life. An embryo is conceived when a female egg is fertilized with a male sperm. Androgens are a naturally occurring sex hormone that is produced by the ovaries, adrenal glands and other tissues. Androgen plays a key role in regulating certain bodily functions, including the growth spurt at puberty. It is believed to regulate the function of many organs, including the reproductive tract, kidneys, liver and muscles. The egg and sperm each donate a single sex chromosome to the embryo, an X chromosome from women, and an X or Y chromosome from men.

If the combination of these sex chromosomes is XX, then the embryo will be female. If it’s XY, the embryo will be male. Though in fact, it’s not until the sixth week of development that XX or XY embryos are anatomically defined. Before this the human fetus is essentially sexless, possessing a set of “indifferent” genitalia. One interpretation of this is that all embryos begin as female. Testosterone makes the difference, influencing the growth of male genitalia, while the female component of the indifferent genitalia degenerates.

Testosterone tends to be identified with masculine stereotype

According to some, the intimate association between testosterone and male identity starts early. This inference that testosterone equals male, while absence of testosterone equals female, is well-entrenched in the layers of our culture.  But, the reality is that testosterone is a girl’s hormone, too.

We have been conditioned to box our hormones into those that belong to men, and those that belong to women. Estrogen and progesterone are the so-called female sex hormones, and testosterone, the so-called primary male sex hormone. With that we assign our hormones impossible gender roles. But of course, gender is not that simple and nor are our hormones.

It turns out men and women produce exactly the same hormones, only in different amounts. Men’s bodies generate more than twenty times more testosterone than women, an average of 7 milligrams per day. Women, via mainly their ovaries and adrenal glands, make a tiny 3/10 of 1 milligram of testosterone per day.

But it may come as a surprise to know that women’s ovaries primarily produce testosterone, from which estrogen is then made. This ovarian production accounts for one-quarter of the total circulating testosterone in a woman’s body. At first glance, this might appear to suggest that women naturally have less estrogen than men.However, with the help of an aromatase enzyme, estrogen is also produced in your fat and muscle cells both before and after menopause. Aromatase is an enzyme found in the liver, responsible for the conversion of the androgens into the estrogens. Inhibiting aromatase can cause the body to produce less estrogen and maintain a higher testosterone state.

Your estrogen levels are not totally dependent on your ovaries, there are a lot of other factors that come into play, like your diet and body composition.

While these numbers may appear to be a bit confusing at first, they basically translate to the fact that women have about 1/10 the amount of testosterone found in men.

Conversely, men’s bodies produce their own estrogen, converted by their tissues from their testosterone. In reality, testosterone is as much a woman’s sex hormone as it is a man’s.

What Does Testosterone Actually Do?

Testosterone is considered to be the principal male hormone, playing an important role in the development and maintenance of typical masculine characteristics, such as facial hair, muscle mass and a deeper voice. In men, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate, as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle, bone mass and the growth of body hair.

So, why would women want testosterone? The fact is, women produce it too, and it has more positive influences than you might think. Testosterone is essential for health and well-being in women, as well. In women, studies show that it helps maintain muscle and bone and contributes to sex drive or libido and aids in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Is More Testosterone Better?

Not necessarily! In fact, over the past decade researchers have found elevated testosterone levels to influence a person’s tendency towards

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His Prostate Diagnosis. Her Stress.

If your husband has prostate cancer — or any pre-cancerous prostate condition — then your loved one’s cancer is your cancer, too. The  “in sickness” part of your wedding vows has just been epitomized.

Songs of undying love and sonnets of passion don’t compete with the tangible expression of incontinence diapers, catheter pouches and being rear ended with needles.

As a wife or partner to a man with dangerous a prostate condition, it is often your responsibility to process the information, emotions and complicated symptoms. Sometimes the paperwork degenerates quickly into an unintelligible tangle, but you give strength to your husband by giving in such a tangible way. By becoming a medical advocate and the one in care of finding and supervising treatment, you are a blessing to your husband.

I hope to offer a little help to those women who often go unnoticed when a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer or a serious prostate health condition.  Wives and others care for those they love that are suffering, listen to them, cook special foods, bear fears and be a constant cheerleader – sometimes without much acknowledgement.

Dealing with Fear and Anxiety

While men are facing their own fears and anxieties about their future and their health, the fears and own concerns of their wives and partners can be just as great.

Cancer greatly impacts both partners in a couple regardless of who actually carries the diagnosis. This is particularly true of prostate cancer, the “relationship cancer.”

Since girlhood, many women are taught to appear as if everything is always under control—even when nothing could be further from the truth.

If you look at the top stressful events of life, having a cancer diagnosis or major healthy threat ranks near the top.  Thoughts like these often surface:

  • What happens if the treatment isn’t successful?
  • Will we ever be close again?
  • What if the cancer has spread?
  • What if the cancer returns?
  • What happens if I lose him?

There is an expression called “self-talk” that can be a valuable tool when you find yourself listening to the anxious talk inside of you.  The story of “thousand mirrors” serves to reflect how our attitude can change what we see is around us:

The House of a Thousand Mirrors

Long ago in a tiny village, there was a place called the House of a Thousand Mirrors. A little dog decided to visit the house. He was an unhappy dog, and his natural expression was a cross between a scowl and a sneer.

As he entered the large house, he saw a thousand mean- and scary-looking dogs staring back at him. He immediately backed away and let out a low growl to protect himself, and just as he did, all one thousand of the mean dogs growled back at him. He ran out of the house immediately and thought, “What a terrible place that is. I’ll never go back there again.”

Not long afterward, another dog decided to visit the house. As he approached, he saw how beautiful and inviting it looked and couldn’t wait to go inside. He smiled and wagged his tail in anticipation of his adventure. As he pushed open the door, he was greeted by a thousand dogs with wagging tails and big smiles approaching him. Of course he was thrilled; he had a thousand new friends he was sure would become his buddies.

The more positive you can be right now, the more smiling puppies you’ll have to cheer you on.  The lesson learned here is what we choose to give is truly what we receive in return.

Attachment is the Road to Healing

What you tell yourself and how you communicate with men is another challenge in having a loved with dangerous prostate health.  Let’s start off by saying your husband

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