Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category

Brain Freeze

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

In one degree or another most of us live our lives in a semi brain freeze. Experiences that have affected us negatively have shut us down and locked us into patterns of thinking and moods that are destructive to our physical health.

Someone who understood this said years ago, “The influence of the mind on the body, as well as of the body on the mind, should be emphasized. The electric power of the brain, promoted by mental activity, vitalizes the whole system, and is thus an invaluable aid in resisting disease.” (Mind Character and Personality p. 61)

I am becoming more and more convinced that a free mental state is of utmost importance to physical health. We have learned that not only does the brain communicate to the immune system but the immune system communicates with the brain. This requires all possible channels to be freely open.

Each week here at the Hufeland Clinic my wife undergoes what is called Auto-Hormone Therapy. They explain this as, “the passing of ultra-short waves through the brain and its hormone producing glands.” (thalamic and hypothalamic regions) What this does is to effect the metabolic systems by breaking up the “autonomic freeze” in the immune system. The autonomic system of the body controls all those things that happen without our conscious thought. (Heart beat, digestion etc.) It also controls immune responses.

We all know that it is true that when our brain is frozen up, downshifted or stuck, the electrical activity necessary for conscious mental and physical activity is diminished. We have all experienced it. But an even worse truth is that when we are frozen up even our autonomic or unconscious brain activity is diminished and our whole physical system is at risk.

Therefore, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” (Ephesians 4:23) Have “a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Right Thinking

Monday, August 11th, 2008

One of the more intriguing concepts that I have encountered here at Hufeland is the phrase Spontaneous Remission. It embraces the idea that some people just seem to get over cancer. One doesn’t really know why one gets over it one just does. We noticed that even in the U.S. Some people who follow conventional methods recover and some don’t. It’s the same with those who don’t follow conventional methods.

We who have embraced the “take a pill” approach seem to always be looking for that one thing, the one gene or one drug that will do the trick. Even among herbal advocates there always seems to be one thing that will do the job. The truth is there are many different reasons why people get over cancer.

One of the many things that are emphasized here at Hufeland is mental attitude. A person’s state of mind is of great importance in staying or getting well.

The emerging science of psychoneuroimmunology is beginning to uncover the link between the endocrine system the brain with its nervous system and the immune system. To make it simple all three of these systems have the ability to learn, remember what they have learned and pass the information which they have learned on to the appropriate places.

The conclusion that the immune system is affected by grief, stress or joy isn’t a hard one to make. We’ve all heard that “laughter is the best medicine.” Or “A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) Many of us also know that it has been said that “Sickness of the mind prevails everywhere. Nine tenths of the diseases from which men suffer have their foundation here.” (MCP 59) The truth is a healthy mental state is one of the many cures for cancer.

Hope - Anchored in the Unseen

Friday, August 1st, 2008

I’ve discovered through our cancer crisis that hope is what we need to keep us going and it’s the ability to envision something good in the future that keeps hope alive. In his own crisis Job said, “My days . . . are spent without hope. . . . My eye will never again see good”. How we all know this feeling. When you lose sight of any possible good in your future, hope begins to die.

Hope has had a real roller coaster ride in our life since my wife has become ill. There are times we are hopeful and times we are not. When some treatments didn’t help which we were hoping would give us the desired results, hope took a dip. When our oncologist told us the only hope we had was to manage things with chemotherapy to get the best quality and length of life, hope dipped again.

Then we talked to a doctor in Germany that we are going to see. He gave us hope because he gave us a brighter picture of what the future could hold. Our heads are up again and we are moving forward towards something that looks good. We are hoping and hope-full.

The apostle Paul understood that hope was connected with the future when he said, “But hope that is seen is not hope, for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (Romans 8:24, 25) You see, hope is always anchored in something that has not yet been realized but only envisioned in the future.

The truth is when we are going through the crisis of our lives we need to keep hope alive. Hope is kept alive by looking toward something that you don’t yet see.

Our Struggle For Truth

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

The mind’s struggle in the search for truth is a universal one.  You hear it everywhere. Everyone thinks they know the truth.  But the truth is, not everyone really wants to know the truth. Many of us want to create our own comfortable little world of  “truth”.

I’m reminded of the words in the John Denver ballad, “What One Man Can Do”.  John expresses the reality of man’s struggle when he sings, “It’s hard to tell the truth when no one wants to listen, when no one really cares what’s going on.”  That’s the problem.  Most of us don’t really want to know what’s going on.  We don’t care. We just want to live in our own little castles of ideas without interference, whether those ideas are founded on reality or not.

Simon and Garfunkel express the same quandary in their song called “The Boxer”.  It’s a song about a poor young man trying to find comfort but is stuck in  meaningless misery.  He bemoans the fact that he has “squandered” his life because he has embraced “promises” that have turned out to be “all lies and jest”.  Then he admits, “Still a man hears what he wants to hear.”  We can’t blame anyone but ourselves if we believe lies instead of truth.  If we really want to know the truth we will find it.

Like John Denver says in another song, “But we both know the truth is hard to come by and if I told the truth that’s not quite true.”  We would like to hide behind cliches like “Truth is hard to come by” or “Truth is relative” but the honest in heart know “that’s not quite true”.  Anyone who is contemplative enough, like these poets and songwriters, knows that it’s a struggle in the mind of man to really want to know the truth about anything.  They also know that if one really wants to know the truth, one can.

Be Set Free

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Almost all of us can think of a time when we have been bound up by something. We are in bondage to emotional challenges and feelings. We are held captive by social predicaments. We are struggling to get out of oppressive addictions, traditions, relations, and any number of situations.

Think about it right now. What is it in your life that you would like to be set free from? Is it a health challenge? Is it a relational challenge? Is it a financial challenge? Is it a moral challenge or even a spiritual challenge? Is it an attitude?

Jesus said something most profound that it would be well if we took note because it applies to every aspect of our lives. He said; “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” I don’t think we have really considered the real importance of that statement to every aspect of our lives.

Let’s take for instance a very practical example in our life and one that is increasingly on our minds especially as we get older, our health. Think of the lies that we believe about health and the bondage that comes to us because we believe them. For instance we may believe that common disease is inevitable and it is our doctor with the use of prescription drugs or surgery which gives us the best hope of survival. I don’t know how else to say it but “It’s a lie”. Because we embrace that lie we continue to experience disease in our society at increasing rates not to mention the side effects of the treatments we are given.

The truth is that our health is in our own hands. We are responsible for our own health. The traditional diseases that plague our society do not have to plague us. The truth is that a very large percentage of heart disease and cancer for instance could be prevented if we would just live within the physical laws that make up our being. If we would but embrace these truths we could be set free from the diseases that plague our culture. But alas we prefer lies not the truth. The truth could set us free from that which plagues us but no we prefer bondage, disease and death.

There is not one aspect of our existence that isn’t governed by principles of truth. If you can show me one then I’ll show you a piece of green cheese I scooped up off the moon. We believe lies about what it takes to be happy. We believe lies about what it takes to raise children. We believe lies about what it takes to make a marriage work. We even believe lies about the spiritual realm.

Let’s take some time today and identify the areas in our lives in which we are in bondage. Let’s identify the lies that we believe which put us into bondage. Then let’s make an all out search for the truth that can set us free from that with which we struggle.