Monday, March 23, 2009

Are You Taking Your Medicine?

Proverbs 17:22 NLT: A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength.

Much has been said about the power of laughter to heal. I want to share some research that links breast cancer and attitude. Recent research at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel provides this interesting finding: happiness and optimistic attitudes may reduce one's risk of contracting the disease. In this study 622 women between the ages of 25 and 45 shared information about their life experiences.

The researchers assessed their optimism, happiness, anxiety and depression levels before diagnosis. They used this information to find the connection between life events, psychological distress and the occurrence of breast cancer. Of these 622 participants, 255 were breast cancer patients, while the other 367 had never had cancer.

Their findings revealed a clear link between outlook and risk of breast cancer. Optimistic women were 25 % less likely to have developed this disease. There have been other studies linking positive mental and emotional states and better health. Some studies have shown that positive emotions cause the body to produce more immune cells, while negative ones tend to suppress one's immune system. The specifics of how attitudes contribute to health, are still not fully understood. What is known is that the body's immune system is influenced by brain chemistry, which is in turn affected by emotional experiences.

Emotions such as happiness, stress, anger, anxiety and fear affect us at a biochemical level because every emotion has a frequency. Every emotion produces a specific and distinct biochemical reaction that affects the entire body. This particular study concluded that experiencing more than one severe and/or mild to moderate life event is a risk factor for breast cancer among young women, and feeling happy and optimistic can be protective.

Many degenerative diseases, and most certainly cancer, have multiple causes. That being so, many factors contribute to one's risk profile, and a multi-faceted approach in preventing and dealing with disease is always most effective. We cannot ignore the spiritual and emotional connections. We overlook their importance to our own detriment.

Consider another finding. Pro-zeranine is a powerful chemical substance that is actually able to reverse addictions naturally since they are due to a lack of this substance. It has been found that laughter actually produces pro-zeranine in the body!

While we cannot control circumstances and situations we may be faced with, we can control how we respond to them and we certainly can take control of our attitudes. Cultivating a cheerful heart is one of the most pleasant medicines I can imagine taking! As always, Father really does know best.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Say It and Create It

Numbers 14:28 NKJV 'As I live,' says the Lord, 'just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you...'
Mark 11:23 NKVJ For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

Words form thoughts. Thoughts become actions. We know that. Words are things. The Hebrew word "devar" actually means both word and thing or substance. When God tells us in His Word that we will have whatever we say and whatever He hears us speak, He will do, we must take that very seriously. I believe we allow too many careless words out of our mouths and allow our too many undisciplined thoughts to inhabit our minds and then wonder why we find ourselves in the mess we are in. According to an article I read by Dr. Caroline Leaf, our thoughts possess an actual physical structure which cause chemical reactions in our bodies.

You know it is true. If you continually think about a frightening occurrence, you will begin to feel all the physical manifestations of that experience. That thought, according to Dr. Leaf, produces biochemicals which carry the emotion and a "photocopy of the thought" throughout your entire body! Those thoughts begin with words, which are things or substance. They can actually change our physical system and cause specific chemicals to flow through our bodies. We have the ability and privilege of choosing which words and thoughts we allow. We literally control the production and creation of those things/substances. We can create health and wholeness or disease and brokenness.

Hebrews 11:3 clearly tells us that the things which are here on the earth and we are able to actually see were created of "things" (devar!) which do not appear. The words became actual things and substance we can see. That hasn't changed.

There are only two types of words and thoughts, so it's relatively simple (although not necessarily easy!). We either focus on faith-filled, positive words and thoughts or fear-filled, negative words and thoughts. Renewing your mind with the Word of God (Ephesians 4:23) and only speaking the desired result are critical if we are to create the life we truly desire. We are to get in agreement with God and speak His Word after Him.

Dr. Leaf says if your thought life is not dealt with and brought in line with God's Word, it can result in disruption of proper flow and balance of the chemicals in your body and brain which will, with certainty, affect your emotional, spiritual and physical health.

Fear, depression and anxiety are destructive to your mental and physical well-being. Panic, fear and anxiety are running rampant in these times of economic crisis and uncertainty. More and more people are turning to anti-depressants and drugs for relief. They are not the answer. The battle begins in your mind and since we are told in Scripture that we have the mind of Christ, we have the ability to take negative thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

This is not a one-time thing. We must decide to control the words that come out of our mouths and the thoughts we allow to take residence in our minds. The power to do so is ours. We must choose to do it - daily, consistently, over and over, until. Until when? Until those words and thoughts agree with God's and we create what we desire.

Father really does know best - when we do it His way, there are no dangerous, alarming side-effects - only peace, blessing and success. Isn't that what we all want anyway?