Doctor, Doctor: Your Mental/Emotional Health

Doctor, Doctor: Your Mental/Emotional Health

Emotional WomanSometimes I cry. Sometimes I get angry. Sometimes I feel strong, and sometimes I feel very small. Sometimes I get anxious and upset. Sometimes I feel so happy I can’t imagine ever having a bad day ever again. Sometimes I feel like I could change the world, and sometimes I feel like nothing I do makes any difference.

Life has emotional content, and that’s a good thing. One of the best signs of psychological health is the ability to experience the whole range of human emotions. Of course there is a time for everything, and that means a time to cry and a time to laugh, as well as every other positive and negative emotion. (See Eccl 3:4)

I didn’t always understand that. I lived with enormous emotional pain for a long time, but always tried to look good on the outside. I learned through some very tough times that it doesn’t work to be afraid of the emotional content life brings. It’s much better to embrace it, learn to manage it, and enjoy the ride!

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It’s Not Their Fault: Taking Responsibility

Driving a CarThe young man who drove me to the airport this afternoon was like a breath of fresh air. We shared a wonderful conversation about life, culture, the upcoming elections, and personal responsibility, and it made me think.

I must admit my own stereotypes were strongly challenged by this young man. (I do my best to stay away from stereotypes, but sometimes even I can get caught!) Most of the other people I have known who I would have considered similar to this young man have voiced a very different perspective.

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Where Does Healing Begin?

Where Does Healing Begin?

As a doctor I can give you pills. I can recommend changes in your lifestyle that can improve your health. I can do surgery at times. Once in a while I might even save someone’s life. But can I heal you?

As someone wanting to be healthy you might get all the exercise you need. You might follow careful healthy eating habits. You might get enough sleep and take plenty of vitamins. But will that heal you?

As a minister I can pray for you. I can teach you about having a relationship with God, and faith. I can introduce you to Him and help bring you into His presence. But can I heal you?

Of course the answer to each of these is NO. And that really brings up the question about what healing really is, and where it begins.

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Doctor, Doctor: Your Physical Health

Young people runningYou don’t feel good, so you snap at your spouse. You’re tired, so you make a quick unwise decision you later regret. You wake up with a headache, so you try to sleep in, and skip your morning quiet time.

Our physical health impacts every other area of our lives. If you are in shape, at a healthy weight, with good nutrition, and well rested, you are a comparatively formidable force against any obstacle in your way. You will have the mental energy to be creative and efficient at work, be fully present for your spouse and children, problem-solve well in a crisis, and have the spiritual energy to grow in your relationship with God.

On the other hand, if you are sick and tired, overweight, full of junk food, and never exercise, you have no reserve to handle even the “normal” stuff life throws at you. With no energy to draw on your work productivity will decrease, your personal relationships will be contentious, your mind will function more slowly in a crisis, and you won’t have any strength left for spiritual growth.

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What is Your Body Telling You?

New MessageOur physical body takes a hit when we experience stress. Even if that stress is not especially negative or traumatic, our body takes the wear.

And if the stress involves danger or trauma, or continues over a significant period of time, our body may just “shut down” in some way.

It has been estimated that 75% or more of the time a patient visits a primary care physician the true reason is stress, psychological difficulty, or something related. In other words, most of the time the problem did not BEGIN with a physical problem or body dysfunction.

That doesn’t mean the physical symptoms aren’t real. It means that our entire being is connected together, and what affects one part affects all the others as well.

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