Hate and Health – Surviving These Days

Hate and ugliness can shape your life. It often comes out of nowhere. How you deal with it has a huge impact on your health.

You often can’t prevent it. You can’t predict. It hits you out of nowhere, so you can’t prepare for it. Yet, hate and ugliness touch most, if not all, of us at some time at least once.

What is the ugliest event that has occurred in your life? How have you been touched by hate? How did you handle it at the time? How have you handled it since?

As a nation and a global community we have seen and experienced acts of hate in so many forms recently. There is unrest stirred by fear, threats, and acts of terror. If this fear takes over in your life, your stress levels increase, your heart works harder, your risk of depression goes way up, anxiety increases, sleep is impaired, and your overall health declines.

Last week I talked about the health benefits of thinking about other people and their needs rather than focusing just on yourself. Altruism is very directly linked to improved health.

The other thing that was directly related to this particular medical mission to Jamaica from which I just returned was a tragic act of hate. The group with whom I worked, Teams for Medical Missions, www.t4mm.org, has been served for many years by long-term missionary couples in Jamaica. These couples have developed programs for children, programs for youth, programs to train ministers for local churches, built many houses, provided chronic and acute medical care by hosting medical mission teams, and so much more. They are Christian missionaries with a real passion for the people of Jamaica, in particular those in the more rural and underserved area of St. Mary Parish.

At the end of April, the two men of these couples were riding their motorcycles on some trails at the top of a mountain known to have beautiful views of the island. Two young men were in that area and heard the motorcycle motors. They decided to wait in a particular place where the motorcycles were sure to pass and ambush them. Both missionaries were killed. It was not a targeted act, just a needless act of hate.

This shook the entire island. The young men who had been actively served by events hosted by these couples for years now stay close to the wife who remains, and they have been staying at her house so she is not alone. The Prime Minister, head of island security, and many others have come to show their respect. Many people have expressed their sorrow in many tender ways.

These medical teams typically provide care in provisional clinics in four local churches once a quarter. People are given a 3-month supply of medication for chronic illnesses, and acute illnesses are treated. Many people in that Parish rely on those clinics for their medical care. I had the humbling experience of seeing the love and gratitude shared with the missionary wife and all of the team members. (All had been on these teams several times and knew the slain missionaries well. This was a very emotional trip for all who were simultaneously grieving and expressing the desire to keep moving forward.) Many residents expressed surprise the clinics were continuing. There was an expectation the mission would fold and return to the US after these deaths.

In spite of these acts of hate, the hope continues. Teri, an incredibly strong and faithful woman is staying and planning what the future can hold in this completely new scenario. Her grief is real and raw. Yet, she is not curled in a corner refusing to move forward.

Health in the midst of hate

The elements that are associated with maintaining health in the midst of hate are:

  • friends to talk to
  • people who care about you
  • a sense of self-worth
  • forgiveness
  • security
  • conflict management skills
  • religion/spirituality

These have all been linked with improved health.

And I will add having a source of HOPE. I believe hope is powerful in the midst of difficulty.

So, knowing that hate and ugliness can strike at any time, the best you can prepare is to take care of yourself, cherish your friends and family, develop your conflict management skills, and forgive others. Find your personal source of hope.  Like Teri, find ways to find hope and stay positive and undeterred in the face of hate.

For more information about hate and health, contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Hate, terror, oppression, racism, and other ugliness are all around. And, the Bible gives us indication this will only get worse.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 MSG

Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.

I believe our role in these days is three fold:

  1. Be prepared

1 Peter 3:14-16 ESV

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

  1. Be discerning

Matthew 24:4-8 MSG

Jesus said, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities, claiming, ‘I am Christ, the Messiah.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history; this is no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Famines and earthquakes will occur in various places. This is nothing compared to what is coming.

  1. Be reaching out

Philippians 2:1-4 MSG

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

And another version of my favorite verses of the year about hope!

Romans 5:3-5 MSG

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Blessings,

Michelle

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U-Turn ahead – not too late to turn your health around

Slide1
Turn your health around. Make changes to improve your health.

Is it too late to turn your health around? Although we were raised certain ways we can still make a U-turn, or at least navigate a big curve. I was raised with dessert every day, lots of processed foods, little to no access to seafood, and limited fresh vegetables beyond summer. Meals were built around meat and potatoes. As for exercise, anyone who knows me can attest to my utter lack of athletic ability. So, should we settle for life-long habits and figure it’s too late to make changes now?

Actually, there is a LOT of evidence that changes, at all stages of life, still help you. Below are just a few of the most common habits/choices that can be changed in a way that really makes you feel better.

Changes to turn your health around

  • Quit smoking –
    • Just 20 minutes after you quit your blood pressure and heart rate decrease.
    • Your risk of a heart attack starts to go down at 24 hours.
    • Taste and smell start to improve at 48 hours.
    • After 1-5 years your risk of heart disease is cut in half.
    • After 10 years your risk of lung cancer is almost as low as a lifelong nonsmoker.
  • Weight loss – short and long term
    • Small weight loss can have big advantages.
    • If you lose 5-10% of your body weight, your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol all improve.
    • Your risk of heart disease goes down.
    • It gets easier to breathe.
    • Sleep apnea can improve helping you sleep better and be less sleepy during the day.
    • Your sex drive
    • Joint pain
  • Diet changes –
    • Decreasing your daily calories by 500-1,000 per day will decrease weight 1-2 pounds per week. [Faster weight loss is not as healthy and hard to sustain.]
    • Gradually add more interesting fruits and vegetables to your diet.
      • Sudden, drastic changes are not necessary and are hard to do.
      • More variety in fruits and vegetables will increase the types of vitamins and nutrients you get.
    • Change up your fat
      • Exchange some of your red meat meals for fish (your grocery store meat section will likely have instructions on how to prepare whatever is on sale or available in the meat section).
      • Try nuts for snacks over sugary snacks.
    • Sugar
      • Drink more water or unsweetened beverages in place of sugary soda or fruit juice.
      • Eat smaller portions of your dessert, as a starting point to cut back.
  •  Exercise
    • Get moving – it helps with more than just weight control.
    • Decrease joint pain and strain, especially your lower back.
    • Get stronger and be more resilient against small strains and sprains.
    • Be more flexible.
    • Decrease your risk of a fall that could injure you.
    • Stay healthy and independent longer through fitness.
    • Have more energy and stamina.
    • Exercise doesn’t have to mean joining a gym or playing a sport.
      • Get up and move around during commercial breaks on TV.
      • Park farther from the front door.
      • Go for a walk with a friend.
      • Window shop in all of the stores at the mall before making a purchase.

U-turns are allowed in your life. No matter your age and for how long you have been doing things a certain way, make a change. Turn your health around. See how much better you can feel with very small changes starting today.

For more information about healthy choices and making a U-turn, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Are you drowning in your negative self-talk? Are you always striving to do better? Or, are you constantly making excuses and blaming others for your weaknesses?

These are such easy routes to take! They are such easy ruts to fall into.

Will you ever be at peace and feel that all is right in your world? What would that take?

My understanding of the Bible is that the peace and promise you’re seeking is available to you RIGHT NOW.

There is nothing you have done that God doesn’t already know about. You can’t hide. Rather than being terrified by that, realize you are loved. You are loved and accepted and forgivable. Absolutely nothing you have done could make God turn away from you.

1 John 4:18 ESV

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Grace, mercy, and forgiveness are right here waiting for you.

Romans 5:8 ESV

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

You could absolutely never do anything so terrible that would exclude you from the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

It was this love that led to Jesus’ death – all for your sins and mine. And because of that sacrifice, you are saved.

Let’s look again at 1 John 4:17-18 from The Message:

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.

Not only can you take a U-turn in your daily physical health choices, you can take a U-turn in your spiritual health. Stop hiding. Stop beating yourself up. Embrace this love that is completely yours. You are forgiven as soon as you let go and give your all to God who loves you with no conditions.

Blessings,

Michelle

 

Weight – Less of you might mean less in your medicine cabinet

…or at

Medicine doses should be adjusted with weight loss
Medicine doses should be adjusted with weight loss

least lower doses.

Healthy weight loss can lead to decreased doses

Unhealthy weight loss can, too. Actually, sudden, unexpected, or drastic weight loss can be even more hazardous. If it is unplanned please talk with your doctor right away.

Fat loving (lipophilic) medicines distribute throughout all of the extra weight in our bodies. The medication finds places to travel and stay stored in all of these fatty areas. Once we lose fat, it takes a lower dose to get the same effect. If the dose is not changed with weight loss, the same dose you have taken for years can actually be toxic. Rather than being stored in the fat, the amount of medicine stays in your blood where it has more effect. I have seen several cases where someone was getting more confused, more sleepy, having more difficulty thinking with no change in their medicine regimen. Upon further analysis, we found they had lost several pounds over the past several months with no reduction in medicine dose. So talk with your doctor as you lose weight to double check doses of meds.

Medical conditions related to weight

There are also several medical conditions that are related to your weight, especially excess weight. For many people diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are found when the person is overweight. They get worse with increased weight. If that person then loses weight, those medical conditions can get better. The need for medicines to control these conditions can go down as the body is better able to manage the blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol on its own. This means the number and doses of medicines might also need to be decreased. Blood pressure medicine doses that are too high can lead to dizziness, especially with standing, and falls. Diabetes medicine doses that are too high can lead to low blood sugar, confusion, dizziness, sweating, or even passing out. Cholesterol medicine doses that are too high might increase risk of side effects like liver damage or muscle pain.

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol and have lost at least five pounds, ask your doctor if you could take fewer medicines or lower doses.

What are other benefits of weight loss?

Data has shown that a 5% weight loss can help prevent high blood pressure. It can also help control your blood pressure, your diabetes, and your cholesterol. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, this would be a 10 pound weight loss. This can be accomplished through diet and exercise. Fast weight loss fad diets are NOT the diets of choice. Eating healthy foods, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat options are the safest diet changes. Also, exercise does not mean running a marathon tomorrow. Increased movement several times each day can have a huge positive benefit.

I had one patient once who took this message to heart. He gradually changed his diet and started walking. None of his changes were extreme. Over time, he lost weight. We were able to remove EIGHT medicines from his regimen as his own body resumed control of his conditions. Not everyone will have results this dramatic, but small changes can have big positive impacts.

For more information about healthy weight loss and associated medicine reductions, please contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

In line with these thoughts about the positive benefits of weight loss, consider the benefits of guilt loss! How much of your daily activity is influenced by guilt? Do ayou feel worthy, accepted, loved, precious, and good enough? Or, do doubts cast a shadow over you? Do feelings of guilt or shame impact your confidence and your attitude? Are you as positive and hopeful s you could be?

If you could shed guilt and shame, can you even imagine how much lighter your load would be? Think how much freer you would be to rejoice and praise and live the life you were meant to live!

Here are some of the thoughts in the Bible about guilt.

Romans 8:1 ESV

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 3:23 ESV

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 5:1 ESV

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rather than being burdened and weighed down by guilt, consider this offer from Jesus.

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The past is gone. You are forgiven! You do not need to carry around this guilt and shame. Shed it and see how good you can feel!

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV

To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image Source:  National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Hate and Health

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Hate and negativity are bad for your health.

Holding grudges, blame, racism, oppression, and social isolation have all been linked to poorer health.

Having

  • friends to talk to
  • people who care about you
  • a sense of self-worth
  • forgiveness
  • security
  • conflict management skills
  • religion/spirituality

have all been linked with improved health.

Bad things happen to everyone. Some of these bad things are worse than others.

Every relationship has times of negativity. No person is perfect.

Prolonged negativity with no ability to cope has been linked to mental health and physical health decline.

Negativity can lead to heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and more.

The health effects of negativity are even more pronounced in people over age 65. All life phases introduce change. Post-retirement these changes can include social networks, family dynamics, physical mobility decline, vision and hearing issues, limited income, home downsizing, new diagnoses, and recognition of mortality.

When harbored resentments, self-pity, and rejection are included, the negative health impact can be dramatic.

Are you living in negativity?

What could you do to let go of hurts, find sources of happiness, and reclaim your health and contentment?

For more information about the link between negativity and health, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

The ‘Golden Rule’ holds the key for happy living. Imagine if everyone treated everyone else with the same kindness, understanding, and forgiveness they want for themselves.

Over 20 world religions have very similar versions of the Golden Rule. This concept of loving, honoring, and being tolerant of each other benefits everyone.

Matthew 7:12 NLT

The Golden Rule

Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

Not only are we called to treat each other as we like to be treated, we are called to love each other – even those who hurt us. Wow, talk about radical love!

Luke 6:35 NLT

Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.

Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Luke 6:37 NIV

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Then, we are called to go another step forward…

Romans 12:14-21 NLT

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;

    I will pay them back,”

    says the Lord.

Instead,

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.

    If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap

    burning coals of shame on their heads.”

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

So we are called to love, honor, respect, and care for those who hurt us. God knows about each of those hurts. He will take care of the justice. Our role is faith and following God’s plan (which is way different than normal human response).

When we release the hurts and negativity, we are free to live unencumbered in true joy and peace.

Philippians 4:8 ESV

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

May this happiness and joy be yours!

Blessings,

Michelle