True Brotherhood

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True Brotherhood

Debra Chew

“United we stand, divided we fall” (Aesop) is a familiar adage. That sentiment seems particularly applicable to current world events.  Whether the topic is politics, terrorism, race equality, or refuge for displaced peoples, the real villain is not each other, but the premise that we are all separate mortals with conflicting interests rather than children of one common Father, all part of an indivisible spiritual universe.  When we see one another this way, unity and true brotherhood may be realized.

You might ask – how can we have unity when diverse opinions, conditions, assets, traditions, resources, and history seem to divide us?

When I turn to the Scriptures for inspiration, I find the prescription for unifying those of differing opinions. In Malachi we read, “Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us?”  And, Jesus prayed for us, “That they all may be one: as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.”  Although Jesus had a unique relationship to God as his only begotten Son, wasn’t he also speaking to the perfect unity that exists between God and each one of his children?  If so, doesn’t that mean that no matter the circumstance, we all have the same Father and are united in the relationship each of us has with Him?

Recently, I had a ride in a cab.  I had barely sat down when the driver asked who I planned to vote for in the upcoming Tennessee primary. When I didn’t give a clear response, he began to tell me about how he came to my country to have a better life for his family.  He said America was the place of freedom and infinite possibilities but that lately he had been feeling hated and judged. He felt politics and other world events played a role in this.

As I listened I was suddenly overcome with such a love for this dear man who was pouring his heart out to a stranger. I told him that no matter what the world climate is, we are all God’s children – brothers and sisters – and he agreed. He spoke of Abraham and I spoke of Jesus.  One thing we agreed on – that the world needs more love and that mankind has more that unites us than divides us, though it seems we focus more on the divisions.  As I got out of the cab, the cabbie said, “My sister, I am giving you a $5 discount,” to which I replied “No, my brother, I am giving you a $20 tip.”  We grasped each other’s hands and knew that in that moment we were demonstrating true brother-sister-hood in heart and action.

In her study of the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, saw God as the one infinite Mind or divine intelligence that unites all mankind in Love. She wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “With one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth and have unity of Principle and spiritual power…”

I have reflected much over the past few weeks since my cab ride.  I have asked myself, am I responding in a Christian manner to political posts I see in social media?  Am I responding to those of different religious views with love and unity or with fear and criticism?  Am I truly treating my fellow men and women like we are brothers and sisters?

I pray for the day when all mankind can give up personal opinions and seek unity in the one infinite Mind or divine Love. Then we can declare like the Psalmist, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”

That ride in the cab that day confirmed to me that we are bound together by a common cord — divine Love.  Love binds us together in unity and brotherhood.  And Love is indeed strong enough to break through any barrier that would divide us.

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Christ Can’t Be Taken Out Of Christmas

Christmas Sign

Christmas Love That Has No Boundaries

Debra Chew

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkuh, Feliz Navidad, and Happy Holidays are all appropriate greetings heard this time of year. From November 1 through January 15 there are approximately 29 holidays observed here by seven of the world’s major religions – all with their own celebrations and customs.

But the U.S. has predominantly been a Protestant Christian nation.  Extensive 2014 research by the Pew Research Center (of more than 35,000 Americans) finds that 70.6% describe themselves as Christians. The research finds that though we are growing more diverse, the fact remains that the United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world.  And a large majority of Americans, including me, continues to identify with some branch of the Christian faith and Christ Jesus.

With such a large percentage of Christians in this country, I ask, why does there appear to be so much media attention aimed at keeping “Christ in Christmas?” Just when did the Christ leave it?

Christmas is so much more than just a cultural holiday celebrated by one of those seven major religions. It is a time of year that touches me – and other Christians – deeply.  It includes the beautiful account of the humble birth of the Christ child.  But even more than a story of a unique and miraculous event, Christmas is the message of God’s promised Messiah – the message of God’s saving truth and love bringing hope and peace to the whole world.

Though Christmas often seems highly commercialized by gift giving, this does not discount the fact that Christmas is the gift – God’s gift of love to the world.  The founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, said it beautifully, “Christmas to me is the reminder of God’s great gift,—His spiritual idea, man and the universe,—a gift which so transcends mortal, material, sensual giving that the merriment, mad ambition, rivalry, and ritual of our common Christmas seem a human mockery in mimicry of the real worship in commemoration of Christ’s coming.”1

Just a couple of holiday seasons ago, one of my closest friends invited my family and other friends to her home during Hanukkah (The Festival of Lights), Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).  During these Jewish celebrations, we feasted on potato pancakes, fried donuts, chopped liver, beef brisket and other delicious treats I had never eaten.  She read to us from a siddur ‒ a Jewish prayer book.  She also described the significance of these holidays and related the importance and symbolism of the dishes served.

As we all participated in religious activities totally outside our own, there was a definite feeling of God’s love that was being expressed all around the room.  And, interestingly, while respecting and celebrating my dear friend’s Jewish customs, never once did I feel like Christ had been taken out of my Christmas.  Instead, I learned a beautiful lesson ‒ that the substance and message of the Messiah, God’s saving love, has no boundaries.  By the way, on Christmas Eve, my friend came to our home and we celebrated my family Christmas traditions.


It doesn’t really matter what the history of the Christmas holiday might be or even that the official day of Jesus’ birth might have been at an entirely different season of the year.  For me, what matters is that December 25 is the day we accept as a day for celebrating the birth of the Christ child – the promised Savior foretold by Isaiah 2700 years ago, who would redeem the world from sin, disease, and death.  Jesus showed through his healing ministry that God’s love is all-powerful.  And that same Christ healing is still going on, as effective and practical today as it was in Biblical times.


We don’t need fancy holiday slogans or online campaigns to keep Christ in Christmas.  Instead, let’s consider that when we imitate Christ Jesus’ example of compassionate, healing love for all mankind, we can experience the true substance of Christmas – love, peace and hope ‒ not only during the holidays but all year long.



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Joy: The Antidote For Holiday Stress

Joy – The Antidote for Holiday Stress

Debra Chew

Some recent “self-care” discussions about the holidays suggest that, for many, stress overshadows the joys associated with this time of year. But you don’t have to go along with the crowd.  There are a few practical steps you can take to prevent your Christmas spirit from getting lost in the frenzy of this time of year.

Interestingly, 2006 research by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a premier research and strategic consulting firm, documented that the holidays are, first and foremost, a joyful time. During the holidays, people report many positive emotions such as happiness (78 percent), love (75 percent), and high spirits (60 percent). Continue reading

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What Do You Believe About Age?


What Do You Believe About Age?

Debra Chew

We’ve all said “I’ll believe it when I see it.” But, do we as easily consider the reverse of that statement – that we see and experience what we believe including what we believe about aging?

Consider Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s sentiment:  “Age does not of itself bring degeneration and disability.  Rather it is the belief that this is so that brings them about.”

And, Christian writer & Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, who penned over 200 statements about aging wrote this: ”Mortal mind sees what it believes as certainly as it believes what it sees.

Unpleasant thoughts about age not only affect how we feel about our own maturing, but can color how we see family members, friends,, activities, occupations, the world, etc.  What we identify with becomes our experience.  But, must we believe every gloomy thought we have about age?

Research suggests not.  Professor Rebecca Levy of the Yale School of Public Health examined the results of a study conducted 30 years ago in Oxford, Ohio, on attitudes towards aging.  She continued the study and found that these attitudes and beliefs undoubtedly affect one’s longevity. Those with a more wholesome and realistic view of aging live an average of 7.6 years longer than those with negative stereotypes of aging. “Beliefs about aging, which are taken from the culture, have an impact,” she concluded.

Research like this points to a positive change in the ways we as a society are thinking about aging.  And, I have found discussions like this are happening not only in clinical testing but in conversations all over the world.

For example, I was invited to speak to a religion class at a local liberal arts university. I had prepared an outline of my talk but from the moment I started speaking, it seemed this dynamic group of students was more interested in discussing/comparing our two different religions.  So, I laid the outline aside and just took questions from the floor. That’s a pretty brave thing to do when you are staring at 30 curious and enthusiastic college students just itching to make a bold statement about their religious beliefs.

I found myself out-of-the-blue speaking about age.  When I said, “Man is spiritual, eternal and ageless,” I felt a dramatic shift in the atmosphere of the room.  And since these students really had no opposing viewpoint on the topic, I was able to talk freely about my perspective on age, from a Christian Science standpoint.

I read them this by Eddy, “Life is eternal. We should find this out, and begin the demonstration thereof. Life and goodness are immortal. Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight.” (pg. 246)

I went on to explain how Eddy began her great work at age forty-five and was still working hard at eighty-nine. And, I reminded them that Bible stories -a required part of their curriculum – include those of Abraham, Noah, Moses and Sarah who were all successful at an advanced time of life.

I also talked about my mother-in-law, who, convinced that life is spiritual and ageless, played 18 holes of golf at age 80 with friends 30 years her junior – and beat them!

After class, I noticed the teacher had been crying.  She could hardly talk when she said my statements about age were something she had never considered before.  She said she had recently turned a certain age and her family was insisting she retire.  Even though she looked and felt much younger than her chronological years, she had allowed her family to persuade her and just that morning had reluctantly turned in her resignation.  She offered to walk me out so she could stop by the office, retrieve that resignation, and tear it up!

Like that professor’s family, many believe that a certain number of trips around the sun are an indicator that health declines, careers either slow down or cease, or that one must give up certain activities. I am grateful to see evidence that people’s attitudes are starting to change.

Interestingly, Eddy also said, “Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise.”  And, here’s similar advice from Dr. Peale: “Live your life and forget your age.”

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Lifted Out of the Quicksand of Fear

Lifted Out of the Quicksand of Fear

Debra Chew

I sat paralyzed in my car at the bottom of a steep driveway – on Signal Mountain.  I had an important lunch meeting there because I was about to be introduced to Dalton Roberts, a writer from Chattanooga.  I had enjoyed reading his columns, and as I was a new writer, not only was I looking forward to gaining some insight into publishing opportunities in Chattanooga but I was also anticipating a lively discussion on my topic of spirituality’s effect on our health.  But, was my fear of heights about to sabotage this meeting? Continue reading

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The Goliath of Cyberbullying

The Goliath of Cyberbullying

Debra Chew

When I was in school, seeing my name written on the bathroom wall along with a mean or untrue comment would have been a “fate worse than death” to me!  Back then, we called it teasing or making fun of someone.  Today, we call it bullying.   And this age-old behavior has expanded through technology to cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying involves making those same kinds of mean comments read on the bathroom wall by a few classmates to now being posted on social media sites with the potential of being seen by thousands of people you don’t even know. Continue reading

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Can’t We Expect to be Healthy at Any Age?

Can’t We Expect to be Healthy at Any Age?

Debra Chew

“I just hope I am healthy enough to enjoy my retirement years,” a friend commented. Interestingly, this friend is 10 years from making the decision to retire, yet seems to be worrying far in advance.  And, that same sentiment has been expressed to me by others who are considering retirement.  So, that started me thinking – why shouldn’t we have an expectation of health instead of a dread of impending demise when we decide it’s time to retire?

An AARP poll once reported that many baby boomers believe their health is pretty much out of their control and will decline in their advancing years.  They fear expensive illnesses and injuries that they believe will inevitably happen.

But, is this the only way to think about health after retirement? Continue reading

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Are Spirituality and Prayer Key to Mental Health?

Are Spirituality and Prayer Key to Mental Health?

Debra Chew

 “Spirituality should be considered one of the vital signs in the care and treatment of patients,” said Christina M. Puchalski, MD, FACP, Founder and Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish).  She was speaking to over 400 chaplains, physicians, nurses, and researchers from all around the world who were attending the second annual HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) Caring for the Human Spirit Conference held in Orlando in late April. The attendees participated in various workshops and several of them focused on integrating spirituality into care for those suffering from mental illness.

I am familiar with the importance of spiritual care in dealing with mental illness, as close members of my family have dealt with this issue for as long as I can remember.  My family didn’t talk openly about it when I was a kid; I just remember feeling sorry for those who suffered because it seemed they didn’t have a sense of inner peace for any length of time.

As I moved into adulthood and began a spiritual practice that taught me to turn to God when I had my own health problems, I often prayed that they would feel God’s love for them and that this mental illness – or illness of the mind – would be healed.

As a matter of regular practice, I read the Bible and writings by Mary Baker Eddy when I am praying about a health issue. This quote by Eddy, a Christian healer and health expert, is helpful when thinking about mental wellness: “Because God is Mind, and this Mind is good, all is good and all is Mind.”1 So, if Mind is a synonym for God, by reasoning, how could God’s image – man – reflect anything but a good mind?  St. Paul said: “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”  Again…how could the mind of Christ be anything but perfect and whole?

In the Bible, the mentally disturbed were healed instantaneously and permanently by Jesus.   Clearly, something about Jesus’ understanding of God allowed him to heal rather than simply ameliorate or calm.  So, are these examples where Jesus healed long-standing mental illness things that only he could do or were only for his time?  Is it possible that prayer can play a significant part in overall mental wellness in our day and age?

If you believe recent statistics, yes it can.  Lately, when it comes to solutions, a wide array of approaches is being explored – including the role that religion and spirituality can play in improving mental wellness. And, instead of ignoring or overlooking the behavior of sufferers, mental health experts and ordinary people – like members of my family – are feeling freer to talk about spiritual solutions.

As a result of our current willingness to talk about this subject, global conversations – like the one at this year’s HCCN conference –  are taking place about spirituality and its link to better health & wellness.  The keynote speaker’s address was focused on a “call to the world to improve the quality of spiritual care.”  Other featured speakers said that spiritual care is now at a critical juncture… that the field is poised to make major inroads toward fully integrating spiritual care into health care in the US and globally.

So, what does this integration mean for patients who once thought medications – along with their potential side effects – were the only solution?

It means things are changing, according to Kenneth I. Pargament, Ph.D, a leading expert in the psychology of religion and spirituality (known for his scientific analyses of religion and mental health). In an interview by the American Psychological Association he said that in the past, “psychologists steered clear of religion and spirituality in clinical practice.”  He goes on to report, “emerging research is showing that spiritually integrated approaches to treatment are as effective as other treatments. There is, in short, good scientifically based reason to be more sensitive to religion and spirituality in clinical practice.”

My own family experience with mental disorders is an amazing journey from extreme mental challenges to peace and healing through faith in God.  Recently, one member was told that their bi-polar condition was either totally gone or in remission.  Since no drugs are being taken, we attribute this progress to sincere prayer and trust in God.

While I am not suggesting that people stop their present course of treatment, there is overwhelming evidence that a spiritual approach is effective in treating mental disorders. Both the older and the newer evidence is clear – the more we connect with the Divine, the more it is possible to experience mental wellness.

 1 Misc. Writings 105:31

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Is The Power of Suggestion Making You Sick?


Is the Power of Suggestion Making You Sick?

Debra Chew

 Living in any one of the three largest cities in Tennessee could make you sick.  Well…so says the recently released Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America Asthma Capitals 2015 report.  In fact, it calls Memphis the Asthma capital of the US!

When I read statistics like this, it makes me want to ask: Is it the environment or the suggestion of sickness that actually makes people sick?

I say this because I used to be a  chronic asthmatic.  When I was growing up, anything I breathed in or smelled would bring on an attack.  I carried a fast-acting inhaler to alleviate the symptoms but I was never totally free of the symptoms or the fear of them. Since then, I’ve become convinced that the condition itself was the result of what I’d been taught about my environment and my health.

Health researchers are learning more every day about the impact suggestion has on our health.   Pamela Dalton, senior scientist at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia believes people with asthma are probably more at risk of being hyper-vigilant all the time – to the point where just thinking about a “dangerous” odor in the environment can bring on an asthma attack.

Dalton studies how people react to the odors in their environments – and she has found that most people are highly influenced by suggestion.  In one study, two groups of people were given the same thing to smell but different information on what it was.  After 15 minutes of smelling the odor, the group that thought they were smelling a chemical reported feeling sick. The group that thought they were smelling a plant felt relaxed and even rejuvenated.  Is the power of suggestion that strong?

Let’s investigate that further – in another interesting study by Dalton, seventeen people with chronic moderate asthma were divided into two groups.  Both were given the same pure rose scent to smell for 15 minutes.  One group was told it could help them breathe better….the other was told it might cause breathing problems.  What happened?

You guessed it!  The “breathe better” group liked the smell and had no reaction, including no inflammation.  The “might cause problems” group said it made them feel sick and caused inflammation in their airways, lasting for 24 hours.

As a result of her own research, observations and study of the Bible, Christian healer Mary Baker Eddy took an opposite view to the medical establishment of her day and ours when it comes to beliefs about the impact on our health of the environment around us. Because the Bible said God created all and saw that it was good, Eddy reasoned that each creation in the universe must exist in harmony with all other creations -.thus, harmless to each other.

Concerning allergies and asthma, she said:  “What an abuse of natural beauty to say that a rose, the smile of God, can produce suffering!  The joy of its presence, its beauty and fragrance, should uplift the thought, and dissuade any sense of fear or fever.  It is profane to fancy that the perfume of clover and the breath of new-mown hay can cause glandular inflammation, sneezing, and nasal pangs.” (Science and Health)

Eddy’s quote gave me a lot to think during a time when I began to reframe how I viewed myself, my environment and illnesses.  It didn’t make sense to me either that God would create something beautiful & fragrant in the universe that could potentially be so harmful to my health. Like those in Dalton’s study, I could see that, I had come to believe the atmosphere and smells in the Ohio Valley (and later in Tennessee) were making me susceptible to asthma. When my focus naturally shifted to seeing the infinite goodness and beauty of God’s creation all around me, my body’s reaction to the environment began to lessen.

This quote from the Bible was also helpful to me: (Job 33) “For the spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” The more I turned to the Divine in prayer about this condition, the less afraid of a sudden asthma attack I became.  Soon, I was no longer suffering.

After all, how could the ‘breath of the Almighty’ be interrupted by grass, flowers, hay, etc.?

Studies in the power of suggestion to create or worsen illness offer those who suffer from asthma (and other illnesses) a glimpse into why it’s important to be aware of what we accept into our thinking. The next step, I learned, is to reason it through spiritually. When we do that, it won’t matter which city in Tennessee we live in. We’ll be free to breathe the breath of the Almighty.

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Photo by C R Artist

Photo by C R Artist


Debra Chew

That group we call the “millennials” – the first generation to have had internet during their formative years – is reportedly the most studied generation ever.  Those researchers who refer to them as the most diverse aggregation of young people so far also calls them the most stressed-out generation ever!  What does that mean for the future health of this “most educated generation” to date?

According to the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America Survey, released earlier this year, the health effects of stress are a growing concern across this group of young adults.  Their stress is causing not only irritability, anxiety and lack of motivation, it has also been linked to health problems.

At the same time, other reports indicate millennials are more likely than other generations to deal with stress using non-traditional methods….reportedly, twice as likely as other generations to meditate (commune with a higher power) to try to relieve stress.

While some are secular in their approach to meditation, many are seeking some sense of the Divine as a relief from stress.  And, with college finals fast approaching and stress awareness month – April – upon us, many millennials could find relief from the pressures of their school or work day by communing with God.

Two studies from Pew and Carnegie affirm this.  They concluded that millennials are “spiritual” but not “religious.”   Carnegie finds that nearly six out of ten profess to have “talked to God” (spirituality) but that a far smaller percentage actually go to church, synagogue, temple, or mosque (religious).

As a faithful churchgoer, I wonder: do millennials need a church building to be able to talk to God?  Apparently not, because when asked what has helped them grow their faith, among the most common responses was prayer and the Bible. Maybe they don’t see the need for a church as an institution. But they may find that when they are feeling especially stressed,  they need a place to have quiet reflective moments with God and fellowship with others – some coming together to feel a sense of support and mutual caring.

More than ten years ago, Beloit College thought such a place was worth providing.  They realized there was a keen interest in spiritual things – a kind of spiritual hunger amongst the students.  They hired a spiritual advisor who promoted ecumenical tolerance.  The result was the establishment of The Spirituality Room – intended to be a peaceful retreat for students, faculty, and staff to engage in quiet reflection, meditation or for spiritual gatherings.  People could talk to God (whatever God meant to them) and could talk to one another, too. One student had this to say: “I started going through some really hard stuff.  I would pray about it, meditate.  It’s really useful and soothing.”  She says she found college to be challenging, yet prayer made her decisions clearer.  Another student, a resident of InterFaith house, loves how  religion and spirituality are  discussed on campus because they are  an integral part of life and often positively impact important things like relationships and health.

The idea that it helps young people to commune with God during stressful times is obviously nothing new.  Take the story of Joseph in the Bible – sold into slavery by envious brothers at the age of seventeen.  Yet, time after time, he prayed, and then weathered the storms that came his way…betrayal, false accusations and imprisonment, to name just a few.  For years, he continued on a rollercoaster of events that could certainly create all kinds of stress and emotions, but he talked to God about all of it.  During all those ups and downs, Joseph continued to grow spiritually and went on to be given great power in the government that saved many people (including his brothers) from famine.

According to today’s standards, the Christian healer Mary Baker Eddy had a stressful life.  She was a young, single mother with no income.   She grew up in a devout, church-going home. Like many millennials of today who are thinking outside of a conventional religious box, Eddy was searching for spiritual solutions to both stresses and health problems.  Similar to Joseph’s path, her spiritual journey – growing understanding of God – brought her freedom and led to a life of teaching and healing that freed thousands.

It’s encouraging that significant numbers of millennials consider themselves to be spiritual and desire to commune with God in their own ways and places. Communion – prayer and listening –  leads to discovering God as ever-present, the source of all good and available to remedy the ill effects of everyday anxieties.



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The “M” Word

Oprah Photo

The “M” Word

Debra Chew

 There I was, a guest at a local meet-up group, expecting to hear a speaker share ideas about how they approach health, healing and spirituality.  Instead, the topic that evening was the “M” word – Meditation…not a talk, as I had anticipated, but an actual meditation exercise.  Now as someone who is used to praying deeply – and alone – I did not have a warm fuzzy about having such a personal experience with strangers!

Meditation can mean different things to different people. I thought it dated back to early Hindu traditions and that later forms of meditation grew in Eastern countries.  And, I had read that it could involve repetition of phrases and/or specific body positions.  Celebrities like Oprah and Deepok Chopra are currently making a modern version of mindfulness meditation very popular for those looking to improve their lives with calming mental exercises. Continue reading

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Can Your Grudges Be Making You Sick?



Can Your Grudges Be Making You Sick?

Forgive and Forget – that’s what “they” say.  Often, a lot easier said than done!  But, is there something to that old saying?  Could it be that by not forgiving and forgetting, the grudge could be making you sick?

It was Mother’s Day – a time for a loving visit with my mother in Ohio – the last thing on my mind was an altercation with a family member!  We had experienced a harmonious family day and I was looking forward to the next day’s activities.  That’s when my teenaged daughter made a comical comment to someone and it was taken completely out of context.  This family member then spoke harshly to my daughter and to me.  The words she said stung and hurt deeply.  No matter how we reasoned with her, she refused to budge off of her position.  She then attempted to draw other family members into the drama, but to no avail.  At that point, the atmosphere became so heated, it appeared my daughter and I would have to leave for our home in Tennessee at almost midnight!

As I began packing my suitcase to leave, my compassionate teenager reminded me that God loved us all and that we were here for her grandmother and that leaving would grieve Mom on Mother’s Day far more than this episode had.  She begged me to reconsider.  Wow!  Leave it to a child to remind me that I was choosing to neither feel nor express God’s love.

Long story short, we stayed and had a pleasant next day with family.  When it was time to leave, I hugged my relative and verbally accepted her somewhat weak apology, but brought the hurt in my heart home with me.

Over the next weeks and months, I struggled with it, feeling sick and having pains around my heart every time I thought about future family get-togethers. I prayed for God to help me see her as He sees her – good and loved.  I held to scriptures such as “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew)  I wanted to be a peacemaker, but it seemed I was a grudge-maker instead!

To make matters worse, conversations with my mother always included mentioning this other family member.  I could tell the conflict was weighing heavy on her and she was extremely sad about it since the holidays were approaching.

And, then I happened upon an article written by a colleague where she tells about healing from a confrontation she had had with someone.  I knew that same strength and resolution that came from her Christian practice was available to anyone, including me, if I was willing to let go of the grudge I was holding!

An article entitled Taking Offense  by Christian healer Mary Baker Eddy included two lines that really spoke to me:  “The mental arrow shot from another’s bow is practically harmless unless our own thought barbs it.” and “…we can hardly afford to be miserable for the faults of others.”

I concluded that forgiving my relative didn’t mean she had to change her position, or her behavior, concerning the subject about which we argued. That wasn’t the point.  I had to pray to change my reaction!

In my endeavor to forgive, I also happened upon a Mayo Clinic article where they document studies that suggest that forgiveness leads to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression


I certainly wanted to experience all these results!  At the same time, I truly wanted to forget this whole thing had never happened.  But, I couldn’t forget it until I truly forgave her.  And, when I had that “change of heart” that finally enabled me to forgive and forget – you guessed it, the physical illness, including chest pains, went away.  I’ve had several phone conversations with my family member in the past few weeks and I can tell we have moved past that event.

Interestingly, this past weekend, I attended a conference in Seattle where Iyanla Vanzant was a guest speaker.  You guessed it – her topic was forgiveness!  She spoke about the deep hurt (and healing) that she experienced after her husband left her for her close friend.  Her words reflect my sentiments exactly: “What I learned during my 30-year sojourn through the science of personal and spiritual growth and healing is that forgiveness will cure whatever ails you.”

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The Best Wellness For Your Knees – REVISED

(The first paragraph has been edited to assure proper attribution)

When Mary Chapin Carpenter sang these John Lennon lyrics (borrowed from a Robert Browning poem), “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be,” I don’t think anyone had in mind the aching joints that seem to accompany some people as they age.

Take aching knees for example. Knee replacement has become the most common form of joint replacement surgery today.  Between 1991 and 2010, the incidents of knee replacements increased by 161%.  In 2010, surgeons performed over 721,000 of them.  And already this year, The National Center for Health Statistics reports over 51 million health procedures have been performed with almost a million of them being total knee replacement. Continue reading

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Cup of Cold Water Challenge

Cup of Cold Water

People all over the world have been participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Recently, my own daughters were nominated to have a bucket of ice poured on their head and send $10 to the ALS Foundation.  And they accepted it.

Amazingly, this challenge has raised millions of dollars to support finding the cure for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a progressive neurodegenerate disease.  At this time, the millions the ALS Foundation receives haven’t resulted in finding a cure, but much of the money is spent to find ways to comfort those with ALS and support the family members who must care for them. Continue reading

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Women and Balancing the “Change of Life”

     My favorite act at the circus is the balancing act.  You know, the guy walking the tightrope,balancing each step he takes so that he doesn’t lose his equilibrium and come crashing down.  Sometimes life can make women feel like they are walking a tightrope and that the least change will take them off balance and they will come crashing down.

     Unfortunately, women walk that daily tightrope, and when the focus is on multi-tasking, it is easy to find one’s self  emotionally, physically, and spiritually depleted and out of balance at the end of the day.  While a good diet, regular exercise, and managing stress will help you stay in balance physically, I find it is equally important to take time to feed and exercise your spiritual self.  Continue reading

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The Bible and Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures (Mary Baker Eddy)

The Bible and Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures (Mary Baker Eddy)

Who or What is the “Authority” for Health Today?

Debra Chew

 “Oh, my aching body” was the prevailing theme at the table of a recent event I attended.  The chatter included details of operations, diseases, and drugs; and almost everyone professed to have a bionic body due to knee or hip replacement surgeries. Along with discussing the ins and outs of the ailments themselves, my friends referenced various sources – physicians, medical journals, online medical information sites – as authorities they turn to for help.

This got me thinking about who or what is an authority when it comes to our health? And, what am I responsible for? Continue reading

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Freed From the Chains of Addiction




Debra Chew

How many times have you heard “I’m addicted to chocolate” or “I’m addicted to my morning coffee?”  These statements sound familiar and generally innocuous.  Someone is simply sharing that they like something so much they want it all the time. But, there is nothing harmless when it comes to addictions to drugs or alcohol.

While often the media portrayal of addiction is tied also to gang activity or homelessness or to a certain sector such as inner-city residents, it’s important to remember that addiction does not just happen to one class of people or one sector of a community.  It could happen to your dentist or hairdresser, your child’s teacher, or your best friend.  They may suffer in secret or everyone may be aware of it.  While their actions might not be criminal, their addictions are likely detrimental to their health, and can affect their academics, careers and financial stability. Continue reading

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How to Engage Your Spiritual Nature to Improve Your Health

Biltmore Waterfall

How to Engage Your Spiritual Nature to Improve Your Health

 If there was a way to improve your health by changing the way you think about things, would it be worth it to you?  So, what if you are clueless about how to nurture your spirit and make choices that will make you spiritually and physically healthier?  There are some simple thought-changing exercises you can do on a daily basis to nurture your spirit and body – and therefore improve your health. Continue reading

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Thinking Outside the Prescription Bottle for Pain Relief




Most people do not like pain. That’s a pretty safe thing to say.  Whether it is physical, mental, or emotional pain….individuals, groups and organizations have been working for thousands of years to find relief for all types.  Unfortunately, some of the solutions that have been discovered, and are recommended and used come with unfavorable risks or long-term side effects.

Whether intentional or not, many individuals are finding themselves addicted to the very prescribed medicines they look to for pain relief.  And, that addiction often sends them on to illegal drugs. Nearly four out of five people who recently started using heroin used prescription painkillers first, according to a 2013 study from the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.  And, a February 25, 2014 ABC World News with Diane Sawyer segment on Veterans reported “In 2012, Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) found VA doctors wrote more than 6.5 million prescriptions for hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine. That’s more than the total number of patients they saw and a 270 percent increase from 2001.” Continue reading

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BEATING HOLIDAY DEPRESSION – “mind, heart, body and spirit”

hearts by DAC

hearts by DAC

BEATING HOLIDAY DEPRESSION –mind, heart, body and spirit”

Debra Chew

I absolutely love the holidays!  I cherish visiting with family and friends, the lights, the food, the music, and sharing gifts of all kinds.  But for an estimated the350 million people all over the world who suffer from depression, this time of year can trigger deep depression and feelings of sadness, loneliness and isolation.

If you are a sufferer, what can you do to beat depression at this time of year?  Well, researchers are finding that there are some specific ways that people can cope with and even heal certain types of depression at the holidays.  One such ‘holiday depression’ is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  For some, it starts at Thanksgiving and ends in January.  Medical science estimates 5% of the US adult population suffers from SAD and another 20% have symptoms during this same period.  For some people the symptoms are slight; for others, they include deep depression. Continue reading

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FORGIVENESS … A Healthy Happy Choice

FORGIVENESS….A Healthy Happy Choice

by Debra Chew

I used to wonder how someone could forgive another who had caused them great harm.  Then, I had an experience that helped me see the path to forgiveness and understand how important it is to my wellbeing.

It was the biggest snow storm that I could ever remember in my lifetime, the winter of my 20th year.  90% of my small hometown had stayed home that morning and the roads were quite deserted.  Imagine my surprise when I got out of my car in the paper company’s parking lot and a ski-masked man approached me.  The snow was coming down so hard that I could barely see him; he appeared out of nowhere.  He first asked me for directions and when I tried to keep walking, he pulled a gun on me.  He insisted that I get back into my vehicle…I offered him my purse and car keys but he informed me he didn’t want that.  At that split second, I had a decision to make – to get back in the car and possibly be murdered or to reason with him for my safe release. Continue reading

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GUEST POST: Claim God’s Day

God’s Day Begins


By:  Mark M. Lawson

            Sometimes daily challenges leave me mentally, emotionally, and physically drained. When I try to be “all things to all people” (especially myself), I am sometimes disappointed. I may think that I “failed” to accomplish something needful, and therefore that my day was not “successful.” Some might recognize this as the curse of an “A” personality. I “judge” myself by some impossible standard. Thankfully, I’m learning to rise above this human weakness, though it is not an easy process.

In Isaiah (45:11), God says: “Ask me of things to come concerning my sons.” In other words, look to God to find out who you are, what you are, and what your purpose is. What God knows is the only “knowing” worth having. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Rom 8:16-17). Spirit, God, leads us to a proper understanding of who we are.

Jesus once asked his disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” They first voiced human opinion: “Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” Jesus wanted to know what they thought. Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This demonstrated that Jesus’ disciples now understood his divine nature, and Jesus declared that he would build his church upon this “rock” (“petros,” or rock, in the Greek). See Matt 16:13-17.

I find that as I claim my status as an “heir” of God, I increasingly “inherit” good. I’ve seen this demonstrated in my experience on many occasions. Business problems have been resolved, family needs have been met, and more importantly, a sense of peace has been restored. Mary Baker Eddy speaks of this in her primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man.”

Paul asks (Gal 5:7), “who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” What can possibly prevent us, as joint-heirs with Christ, from possessing the good that is ours? We can learn what God knows about us, and at the same time, resist human fears and doubts. We can refuse to “fall down and worship” a power apart from God (Matt 4:9), whether it is fear, doubt, or disease. As we resist evil, it will “flee” from us (James 4:7), and God’s thoughts will minister unto us (Matt 4:11). We will say with assurance, this is God’s day, “and there shall be no night there.” (Rev 22:5).


Mr. Lawson is First Reader of Christian Science Society, Bristol, Tennessee and he may be contacted at


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Want to be Younger? Change Your Views of Aging!


“Anti-Aging Cosmetics that take Years off of Your Face Instantly.”  Really?

Curious, I read on to find that they were advertising for the “world’s greatest wrinkle cream,” guaranteed to have an age defying formula.  I sat there, thinking and reading about supposed “clinically proven results.” And to someone who might not know better, it all sounded pretty enticing.  But…

Aging is a really “hot topic” right now – and for people of all ages.  It seems that even the very young are worried about how they will look as they get older.  They are, in greater numbers and at younger ages, seeking products or processes to reverse the aging process.

And, for those who are nearing or past retirement, it’s not just the fear of not looking good.  People have a real fear about becoming less productive.  Some fear they will be alone.  Others worry that their employers won’t want them after a certain age.  Others even worry that aging inevitably results in their body or mind becoming diseased.  And, in the broader discussion about the US healthcare system there is great concern for the fact that studies show we are living longer but we are not necessarily living healthier.

So, is there a way we can age without illness and decrepitude – perhaps even with good health and grace?

Let’s just say there are good signs pointing to “yes” and there are lots of people studying this issue – looking for solutions.  And, one emerging area of study is investigating the role that our views and attitudes about aging have on our experience.  It seems clear that how we think about aging impacts significantly our experience – for the good or the bad.

A recent study published by the Yale School of Public Health had some interesting findings –   Two groups with different views of aging were studied.  The people who felt good about older people were 44% more likely to recover from severe disability than those with negative views.  After 10 years of study, the researchers determined that “this result suggests that how the old view their aging process could have an effect on how they experience it.”  Furthermore, lead researcher Becca R. Levy found that initiatives to promote positive age stereotypes could allow people to live independently later in life.

Numerous studies also say it’s not only our attitude about aging but also our actions – how we stay involved in daily living – that is crucial. And, one aspect of staying involved – individual spiritual practices and participation in a community of faith – is increasingly tied to staying healthy.

WebMD has a feature article entitled “Spirituality May Help People Live Longer” that suggests an increasing interest in the subject of spirituality and healthy aging.  “There is an increasing interest in the subject among researchers and the public.” says Susan H. McFadden, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, who is co-chair of the Religion and Aging interest group of the Gerontological Society on Aging (GSA), a national group of researchers in aging.   (Aging experts will discuss religion, spirituality and aging at the GSA annual conference in November in San Francisco.  Sessions will include a discussion of a new report — from the National Institute on Aging and the Fetzer Institute, a Michigan foundation interested in mind/body issues — that details research on the religious and spiritual dimensions of health.)  The archived feature article goes on to say that a “growing body of research is beginning to define the complex connections between religious and spiritual beliefs and practices and an individual’s physical and psychological health.”   It says that while no one says it’s as simple as going to services or “finding religion” later in life, those who are personally more spiritual are doing something that makes them feel better emotionally and helps them live longer and more healthily.

Another website, MedScape Today, has a post entitled, “Spirituality and Healthy Aging” by Helen Lavretsky.   As a result of her ongoing research about this topic, Ms. Lavretsky thinks that in individuals who are more religious, “…spirituality appears to play an
important and adaptive role in aging that seems to lead to a better quality of life and life satisfaction, as well as longevity….”

Perhaps it helps to think of aging as a process of growing in wisdom and grace, instead of moving toward deterioration.  Two favorite quotes of mine from women who never let age hold them back speak to aging with grace. Sophia Loren – active and beautiful at 79 – says this:  “There is a fountain of youth:  it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love.  When you learn to tap this resource, you will have truly defeated age.”  And, an 18th century religious leader, Mary Baker Eddy, who lived to be 89 in a day when the average life-span for women was 48, shared this:  “Life and goodness are immortal.  Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight.”

And in the Bible, we read that “Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died; his eye was not dim nor his natural force abated.”  That says to me that we can change our thinking about aging. When we do, our experience will also change.  It’s inevitable.

Debra Chew writes about the connection between thought, spirituality and health.  She has been published in the and in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.  She is also the media and legislative liaison for Christian Science for TN.



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National Day of Prayer 2013 – Hope in God

As far back as I can remember, I learned to pray and find my hope in God.  In my youth, I solved my academic and social problems by prayer.  Then, in my young adulthood, I solved my career and relationship problems by prayer.  You see, I found out early in life that the solution to all my challenges could be handled by praying to God and expecting good to come from my prayers.  Now, later in life, I am confident that still God hears me.  I go to Him not only for some of those same issues that I prayed about in my youth, but also for needs concerning my life and health.

Today, our nation faces many struggles – some of them economic and some of them health-related.  Other struggles are of a fearful nature….like crime and terrorism on our own land.  On this National Day of Prayer, many, of all different faiths, will join together and pray for the needs of this nation and for our fellow citizens.  We will pray for those who lead and protect this country and other countries so that they make wise decisions.  We will pray for some who are ill, hurting, searching….or just because we love them.  The common thread today is that we will pray.

This year’s theme is “Pray for America” and it comes from Mathew 12:21.  The general message from several Bible translations is that “in His name the nations will put their hope.”  So many issues facing our nation today seem truly hopeless.  Psalms 25:5 reads “for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”  As we unite today in prayer and hope, let’s see our challenges not as hopeless, but as opportunities to give them to God and expect them to be healed.

Many years of hope and reliance on God to meet my own personal needs has never let me down.  I have seen health restored, lives regenerated, families reunited, broken hearts mended, friendships renewed, and careers saved by turning humbly to God for guidance and thereby acknowledging that He is in control of every circumstance.  Prayer is powerful and I am grateful that we can turn to God in prayer to supply all our human needs, not only on this National Day of Prayer, but every day.  God bless America.

Debra Chew writes about the connection between thought, spirituality and health.  She is the media and legislative liaison for Christian Science in Tennessee.

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Emma Chew achieving her goal


Debra A. Chew

            When I was in the first grade my parents learned that my teacher considered me to be an over-achiever.  They found that when I was given my classwork, I was given twice the amount of work the other students received.  That was because I hurried through my work and finished it long before the other students and then I started talking to them.  Yes, I have always talked too much!

Looking back, I think I was seeking recognition as the fastest and smartest, or maybe trying to achieve some award by doing more than was necessary.  Today, I recognize that there are good and not-so-good outcomes as a result of being an “over” anything.  Take MDs, for example.  In their quest to help people, they can, even with the best of intentions, fail to get the desired results from their labors.  Recent studies indicate that the medical field could be regarded as over-achievers, too, when it comes to the over-diagnosis of cancer and other diseases.  Diagnosing those who are sick is a big part of a doctor’s job.  One challenge is that a diagnosis may identify something that will never become a serious health problem.  The Dartmouth Institute is studying this issue.  They have announced an international conference later this year on Preventing Overdiagnosis, where they will discuss their research about how overdiagnosis harms people with problems that never needed to be found.

It’s certainly a “catch 22”:  Overdiagnosis has the potential of making people sick in the pursuit of making them healthy.   But that brings us to the question – what makes someone healthy?  Is it because they have a scan or screening that says they are disease-free?  Then, what makes someone diseased?  Is it because they have a scan or screening that says they have cancer?

In April of 2012, The New York Times carried an article entitled Endless Screenings Don’t Bring Everlasting Health.  In this article, the physician authors wrote, “But, overdiagnosis – the detection of cancers never destined to cause problems – is arguably the most important harm of screening…..When screening finds these cancers, it turns people into patients unnecessarily.”  They went on to say, “People on the receiving end of overdiagnosis can only be harmed – sometimes seriously – by unnecessary surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.”  Even the United States Preventive Services Task Force judged that harms outweighed benefits in P.S.A. screening for prostate cancer, and recommended against its routine use.  They found the tests result in a “disturbing” amount of overdiagnosis.

So, what is someone to do?  Since February is “Wise Health Consumer” month, let’s elaborate on how to make good and wise decisions about screenings, procedures, doctors, etc. Over-screening leads to overdiagnosis, which then often leads to over-medicating, etc.  Too many “overs” for sure. As a result of these reports and findings, physicians, hospitals, the public and agencies that regulate medical care are re-thinking how to avoid this conundrum. If the goal to achieve the “best health outcome” – which it is for all of us – access to such information certainly helps a patient make better health choices.

People today are choosing a wide variety of approaches to maintaining good, health. More and more, people are discovering that their thought affects their health.  And, studies show medical institutions are now trying to catch up with the public demand for a “whole” – mental, spiritual and physical – approach to health. It’s an approach that definitely flies in the face of a model that uses whatever technology is available to look for the minutest evidence of disease.

And it’s a shift that, to me, speaks to re-discovering some ideas about health that come from the greatest healer the world has ever known, Jesus.  His counsel was to:

  • clean up our thinking
  • focus on God (here and now)
  • love our neighbor
  • turn away from the body (food, clothing, etc.)

He just didn’t spend a lot of time diagnosing illness. And, even without a diagnosis or any technology, he healed.

In fact, I think we could say, when it came to healing, he was by all fair measures the right kind of over-achiever.

Debra Chew is the media and legislative representative for Christian Science for Tennessee.  She can be contacted at


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Sprituality and Beating Breast Cancer

by Debra Chew 

Today, I passed the local hospital and saw a large pink ribbon on the sign in front.  And, pink water rushed forth from the beautiful water fountain at the entrance.  Well, of course, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The country’s awareness of this important issue for women’s health is particularly important to me as well, for I am the daughter of a breast cancer survivor.    

I can still remember that day.  I had gone to Ohio to be with my mother, Miriam Parker, as she had a suspicious lump removed from her breast.  Her surgeon was not concerned, thinking the outcome would be the same as several other lumps he had removed from her breasts through the years.  For that reason, when the call came, it was quite shocking to both of us.  Cancer?  Not my mom!  She was too young.  She was fit, healthy, and full of life in her sixties.  She couldn’t possibly be facing cancer.  What did that mean for her future?

My first response to all those questions was to turn to God.  My experiences of healing mind, body and soul, from my youth to this time, led me to choose to turn to God in time of trouble.  To quote the Psalmist, “God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble.”  (Psalms 46:1)  That meant I didn’t have to wait for an appointment or a further diagnosis or to do research online to give me a peaceful thought about my mother’s illness. I prayed and I felt more calm and able to comfort my mom who was understandably fearful.   

The MD Anderson Cancer Center recently announced a 10-year “moon shot” – a $3 billion initiative to find a cure for cancer.  This is being introduced when much time and money is already invested into technology and research.  Interestingly, other less funded studies are showing a rise in success with additional approaches – including incorporating prayer and spirituality – to treating and healing cancer.   

Research over the last decade on how prayer and spirituality affects breast (and other) cancer patients reveals promising results.  Similar to the participants in these studies, my mother found that her spirituality was an important factor during her treatment and recovery.  She would always say, “I know God is with me wherever I am and whatever I am going through.”  A March 19, 2012 article from entitled Spirituality and Prayer indicates that research on prayer in women with breast cancer and people with other types of cancer shows that spiritual coping may be one of the most powerful ways people draw on their own resources to deal with cancer.   It goes on to say other benefits of prayer included:  reducing stress and anxiety and promoting a more positive outlook and a stronger will to live.  

To quote from the article: The U.S. Office of Technology Assessment looked at studies reported in the Journal of Family Practice over a 10-year time period. The review found that 83% of the studies done on spirituality found a positive effect on physical health. Another study looked at 12 years of reports in 2 major psychiatric journals. Of the studies that measured spirituality, 92% showed mental health benefits.  In research done specifically on women with breast cancer, spirituality and prayer has been associated with less depression and a more positive sense of well-being.  

Because of her faith in God, Mom was never tempted to feel depressed about the cancer.  She often spoke of the hopelessness in the eyes of some of the other patients she saw on treatment day.  But, she always felt hopeful.  Even when I could tell she was having a tough time, she never complained.  She said regularly, “I have faith in God and I know I will beat this.”  And, she did!

The year following her surgery and throughout the time she had radiation treatments, I continued to pray for my mom, as did many of her friends and family.    Her faith in God and her spiritual thought definitely helped her cope with this serious illness, had a positive effect on her recovery, and has played a major role in her remaining cancer-free.

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Healthy Aging – What It Takes (Guest Blog by Steve Salt)

Healthy Aging was a topic of awareness for the month of September.  Since this is the last day of the month, I thought I would share a blog by my Ohio colleague, Steve Salt.  Enjoy!

Healthy aging…what it takes

Photo: iStock_000010322007

Birthdays…we’re having more of them than ever in the history of mankind. The number of candles on our birthday cakes is swelling.  And there is a growing concern that as we age, we might not be healthy enough to blow them all out.  That is a depressing thought.

A demographic tsunami is coming.  7000 Baby Boomers will hit 65 just today.  Worldwide, the population of those people over 60 has more than doubled since 1980. By 2050, expect over 2 billion.  The implications to health and health care are staggering.

These are all good reasons to think about aging issues in September – Healthy Aging Month.  Organizers of the observance call it “a time to reinvent yourself”.  But that isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Many look back to their salad days as the ideal model when they were at their peak of ability and stamina.  Who doesn’t want to try to recapture youth with its promise of vitality and mental acuity?

Much time and money are spent on the possibility of halting the aging process. Pharmaceutical and beauty companies try to replicate youthfulness in compounds, drugs, and ointments, yet it seems to avoid capture.  The attention, of course, is on the body.  Are we missing something when we focus solely on physicality?

Let’s be honest.  You can’t find youth in a bottle or procedure.  There is more to it than that. Age is not a condition or an unavoidable destination.  Youthfulness is a way of thinking.  It’s not so much how the world see’s you, but how you think about yourself and others.   And, living long isn’t the only goal; living well is vital.

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love.  When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”  Sophia Loren once said that and it makes sense.  The award-winning actress, whose career currently spans 6 decades, seems to have hit upon something.

How do you “tap” the source that conquers age and contributes to mental and physical wellbeing? It looks like religion/spirituality is a key component. Researchers at George Mason University and College of William and Mary have conducted a study that looks into the relationship between religion, spirituality and mental health outcomes.  The results are included in the September issue of Crossroads…,a newsletter of the Center for Spirituality, Theology & Health at Duke University.

The findings are intriguing. “Results indicated a significant positive relationship between daily spirituality, meaning in life, self-esteem, and positive affect (i.e., well-being).”   Spirituality is defined in the study as “my personal relationship with a power greater than myself”.

Connecting with God every day is something anyone can do no matter how many Earth-years under their belt. In fact, many have already linked a spiritual/religious life to health.  49% of Americans pray …about their health!

When it comes to healthy aging, perhaps it takes more healthy praying and thinking, less candle counting.  Over time I have worked hard not to tally the number of years spent on planet Earth. It’s just not an accurate assessment of how I feel.  And although friends and family like to remind me how “old” I am, I tend to celebrate living rather than aging.  I don’t have birthdays.  I have cake-and-present days.

How many candles on your birthday cake this year?  Maybe you should stop counting. “The measurement of life by solar years robs youth and gives ugliness to age,” writes Mary Baker Eddy in her primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She had a good grasp of the link between spirituality, health and aging.  The religious leader, healer, and health researcher who founded The Church of Christ, Scientist lived to 90 during a period in our country’s past when a woman’s life expectancy was just 46.

Is healthy aging possible? Rather than the accumulation of wrinkles, think of life as the buildup of experience and know-how, even spiritual wisdom.  That’s aging with attitude. 

                   Steven Salt is a Christian Science practitioner who regularly writes about the impact of thought and spirituality on health

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Aging Problems Healed by Prayer

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Lives Lived Video

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Irritation – Emotional and Physical (Guest Post by John London)

Irritation—Emotional and Physical

I’ve been dealing with a situation that has been very irritating to me. I recently spent a whole day upset about it. My practitioner even told me that I needed to deal with the feelings or they would come out in a physical form. The next morning I awoke with a very scratchy and inflamed sore right behind my knee. I’ve had these before and they’ve lasted and lasted causing me no end of grief. I’d even begun to think of myself as the Bible character Job because of the sores that plagued his body.

As I contemplated the sensations in my leg I realized that it felt exactly like the emotions I’d had the day before but in a physical form instead of an emotional one. As soon as I realized that, the sensation began to recede and within an hour or so it was completely gone. That showed me in a dramatic fashion how my physical wellbeing is tied to my emotions. If I’m going to be emotionally indulgent, I should expect to have a bodily manifestation—something I definitely don’t want!


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