The second topic within my 8 Dimensions of Wellness series is the emotional aspect; which is defined as coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships. In our daily lives, we all have responsibilities; and sometimes unplanned occurrences. How do you live life? Are you proactive or reactive? Do you take responsibility for yourself, or blame others? Your response is an insight to the root of your emotional well-being. In our medical system here in the U.S., sickness and disease is often dealt with symptomatically. People take medication for various aches, pains and discomforts; but rarely get to the root of the problem.
In the past I wondered how people who seemed physically healthy and even athletic, came down with chronic disease. I knew that exercise and optimal nutrition were keys to good health; but why would otherwise healthy people get sick? I found my answer. It’s stress. Stress is the body’s reaction to a positive or negative demand. Dr. Walter Cannon described it as the fight-or-flight response back in the 1920’s. Stress, in its original purpose, is a good thing. It can enable a person to do something seemingly supernatural in the moment. For example, a person picking up a car to free another from danger; or outrunning the clutches of an angry bear. Stress is perfectly fine for these occasions, because it lasts for only a short amount of time. The problem comes when stress is prolonged.
Our bodies do not distinguish between physical or emotional stress. Physical stresses are those examples mentioned above. But what about emotional stress? Emotional stresses are the bad relationships, working a job that you don’t like, sitting in traffic when you’re about to be late to work, worrying about how you’re going to feed your family, etc. The problem is that these (negative) emotions produce disease and sickness in our bodies. When we encounter stress, our bodies release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. When there is a steady flow of these two hormones into the bloodstream, they lead to a rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, increased blood sugar and insulin levels, weight gain, and bone loss. If left unchecked, these elevated levels in the body, can ultimately lead to disease.
This is why the Ephesians 4:26 says “….don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.” If a husband or wife goes to bed without resolving the anger between them, it can lead to resentment (which is long-standing anger) and make him or her sick. It can also destroy their relationship. James 1:15 (CEV) says: Our desires (refer to Galatians 5:19) make us sin, and when sin is finished with us, it leaves us dead. If only we’d choose to forgive, we can stop death in its tracks. Not just physical death from disease and sickness, but death of marriages and relationships, businesses, etc. It’s also important to note that we do have a choice….ALWAYS. Deuteronomy 30:19 says: Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!
Let’s not forget 3 John 2:2: Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. Our minds, will and EMOTIONS make up our souls. So, in order to ensure emotional wellness, our best bet is to line up with the word of God in Galatians 5:22 (CEV): God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful…” These emotions are sure to both produce and maintain emotional wellness.
Five PRACTICAL TIPS FOR IMPROVING EMOTIONAL WELLNESS:
1. Make a decision TODAY that you are going to do what God’s word says to do.
2. Set aside alone time with God. Start with 10 minutes. When this relationship is developed, it will dramatically improve the way you see yourself; and how you relate to and love others.
3. Set aside time to do something that you enjoy doing each day.
4. Develop a plan for dealing with negative emotions. If a depressing thought comes your way; and you begin feeling depressed, counter it with Isaiah 61:3 and or put on praise and worship music and sing along with it. Emotions come from negative thoughts. You have to SPEAK the word to stop the negative thought.
5. Affirmations…..say what the scriptures say. (ie: I am slow to anger. I am loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good and faithful. My ways please God, so even my enemies are at peace with me).
Ladies, own that spirit of power, love and a sound mind that God has gifted you! The enemy comes with fear; but God comes with 3 times more. Think about that!