“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” NLT Proverbs 17:22
God’s Design We are marvelously designed by God. And by His design, all parts of us – physical, mental and spiritual – are intricately connected to work together for optimum health. Just as our bodies need good nutrition and regular exercise to stay healthy, our mind and spirits also need “good food” and regular workouts.
Scientific Evidence Scientific research supports the importance of balance between physical health, mental health and faith. Many studies have found a direct correlation between faith and good health. One extensive report entitled Health Benefits of Christian Faith, was based on evidence from over 1,200 studies and over 400 reviews. Put together by Dr Alex Bunn and Dr David Randall of the Christian Medical Fellowship, the report stated, “The overwhelming majority of scientific studies highlight the positive health benefits of faith, including protection from illness, coping with illness, and faster recovery from it.” They highlighted one study which showed regular churchgoers had life expectancy up to 14 years longer than those who did not attend services. Other health benefits included an increased sense of well-being, hope and optimism; lower rates of depression and suicide; less loneliness and less alcohol and drug abuse.
His Word The Bible contains much wisdom on how we are to live to keep physically, mentally and spiritually fit. Harold G. Koenig, M.D., author of The Healing Connection states, “Our research and amazing new scientific technology are continually adding exciting new evidence that our Great Creator God has equipped us with marvelous mechanisms by which, through faith in him, our spiritual beliefs and behaviors can actually help heal us.”
Bottom Line Your faith isn’t only good for your spirit! A close relationship with your Creator along with Christian fellowship may afford you such benefits as lower levels of stress, better coping skills, better mental health, greater social support, less substance abuse, healthier behavior choices, better sleep, higher accountability, a sense of belonging and prayer support.
Be Intentional Setting aside time to feed yourself mentally and spiritually is essential for a balanced, healthy life. Along with attending church, what do you need to “refuel”? Reading a good book, praying and/or studying the Bible can help with a spiritual recharge. Taking a walk while listening to a book can feed you mentally while getting exercise. When we take time to take care of ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually, we are healthier to carry out God’s purpose for us.
Julie Tomsett is a published author and the office manager at GracePointe Healthcare; a direct-pay family practice and full service travel medicine clinic located in Cool Springs. www.gracepointehealthcare.com