Physical, Mental and Spiritual, the holy trinity for health.
Have you ever heard this adage? “We spend all of our health accumulating wealth and all our wealth accumulating health”. This is so true for many of us. We work so hard to accumulate all the things in life only to come near the end of it to not be able to enjoy much of it. A lot of us are busy attending doctor appointments, picking up prescriptions and some are feeling too sick to do much more. Why are we having trouble healing?
Considering that our overall, generalized sense of well-being, is addressed in three aspects of health. We are in a physical body with a sensory system that is experienced through emotions (which need to be identified and processed), thoughts (which need to be identified and understood), spiritual beliefs (which need to be chosen and practiced), and physical action (with conscious decisions and responsible behavior).
Physical Health is taking care of your body
How nutrition affects a person’s mood is an example of physical health impacting mental health. In general, a diet that keeps blood sugars at an acceptable level and provides plenty of tryptophan and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are most likely to help a person make and use serotonin, a feel-good chemical in the brain. Thus, foods rich in omega-3 fats — salmon, sardines, walnuts, and flaxseed — may help combat mild depression. Good food sources of tryptophan — an essential amino acid in the human diet that the body uses to make serotonin — include fish, turkey, chicken, cheese, beans, milk, eggs, and dark chocolate (at least 80%). A person who feels healthy and energetic will have greater resources for supporting others and bouncing back from setbacks. It means having a great exercise routine designed specifically for you, along with the stress-free time allotted to do it in. While physical suffering and anxiety over health concerns certainly can draw us closer to God, it is easier to resist temptation and make wise choices when we are feeling well. Thus, a person’s physical health can affect a person’s spiritual well-being. Studies have shown that people who just can’t seem to heal physically, may need to address past emotional traumas and spiritual aspects before healing can occur.
Mental Health is a cheerful heart
Mental health can impact physical and spiritual health. For example, prolonged stress can weaken the immune system and lower resistance to disease. Stress causes the release of adrenaline and cortisol, two powerful hormones that increase alertness and boost energy. This fight-or-flight stress response is perfect for responding to physical danger, preparing people to fight or flee a threat to survival. However, when the constant stresses of life trigger this response, it can compromise one’s health. Mental stress may increase blood pressure by constricting blood flow in arteries, resulting in cardiovascular problems. Cortisol increases blood sugar levels, which is normal if one needs to run from danger. However, chronically elevated cortisol levels can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes and severe gut disorders. Many people who suffer from depression have elevated cortisol levels, mimicking the effects of chronic stress. Thus, medical science corroborates the truth in Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Spiritual Health is providing for the soul
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30, NRSV3). This spiritual answer is capable, of providing the rest needed for good health on all levels. In Proverbs 4:22, God’s words of wisdom “are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.” Spiritual health brings health to the whole person.
So how can we utterly impact our physical, spiritual, and mental aspects of our bodies? Here’s another helpful adage. “Let’s simplify, to amplify!”
One of the very best ways to simplify our lives, is to scale down our lifestyle. One of the biggest lifestyle mistakes we make is living above our means. Bogged down with a huge home mortgage, too many credit cards or expensive car payments. While I know, these things are nice to have, we can ask ourselves if they are really, worth it. If we can simplify our daily walk, we may find that we have now amplified our lives into a much calmer, loving, stress free state. We are now free to spend time in worship, praise and study, growing in peace, strength, servitude. Making time for adequate exercise, cooking nutritious meals, serving in our communities and to take the time to nurture our families.
Another way to drastically impact our health is to eat meals cooked with clean, nutrient dense, whole foods on a consistent basis. As we all know by now most fast food are very high in sodium and the bad kinds of fats. Also, the family time that takes place at the dinner table, a coming together at the end of each day. Sitting around the table, relaxed and enjoying being together. Eating meals on the run can cause so many different stresses on the digestive tract.
I can’t talk about what we are eating, more especially our “fast food” or “processed food” choices, and not talk about the unprecedented level of phthalates or plasticizers in our food system. Phthalates are the highest pollutant in the body being over 10,000 times higher than any of the thousands of other environmental toxins. In fact, they are so pervasive that now children six years of age have levels that used to take adults until the age of 40 to accumulate.
The government agencies, scientific and medical literature have clearly documented that a huge amount of these environment toxins (phthalates) come from our water, soda and infant formula bottles, food packaging, cosmetics, nail polish, mattresses, couches, carpets, clothing, medications, styrofoam cups, IVs, vinyl flooring, construction materials, home wiring, computers, industrial and auto exhausts, etc.,
The sad point is the fact that these toxins stockpile in the body and overwhelm our ability to detoxify them, aging and disrupting the inner workings of our body. I know some of them we can’t do much about in our daily lives, but there are many we can simply stay away from.
Think about buying a drinking glass tumbler/cooler to take with you when you leave the house instead of buying water in plastic bottles. Cover your furniture and mattresses with protective cloths so your skin is not exposed to the flame retardants in them. Don’t drink or eat out of Styrofoam cups, especially if the food or drink is heated!
We can take steps toward making our lives free from the unnecessary daily stresses that are eating up our health and peaceful existence.
In summary, let me leave you with these thoughts concerning an amplified life:
- Without balanced emotions, thinking, and spiritual beliefs we can’t maintain a calm, peaceful, and consistent realm of existence for ourselves and our families.
- Without consistent healthy behaviors’ we can’t learn what is good and what is not and be able to discern habits to keep and the ones to throw away.
- Without wisdom, we rely on what others believe and not what is truth.
- What we believe about ourselves feeds back into our spiritual, mental and physical behaviors.
- This becomes a viscous cycle that affects families, cultures, societies, and the world for generations.
Listen to what your body says to you about the food you eat, the amount of sleep you get and the way you choose to spend your time. Gage your stress levels daily. It is good to check in with yourself periodically and ask the question. Is my life full of peace, wisdom, grace, and does it build me and others up? In order, to experience true, long lasting health you must address all three elements of the human body, the Spiritual, the Mental and the Physical. Consider a simpler lifestyle, to amplify it!