Saturday, February 16, 2013

"A Healthy Mind, Heart & Soul"

These are highlights of a presentation I attended today based on Matthew 22:37.

Part 1 - a healthy MIND

  • The first step is to assess and adjust your focus; pay attention to where you want to go!
  • Scriptures: 1 Peter 1:13; 2 Timothy 4:5; Matthew 6:33; and Philippians 4:8
  • Focus on what God is shaping you to be. He speaks through many ways, whether they be meditation on the Scriptures themselves, corporate worship, prayer, friends, or service.
  • Your brain has key needs:
    • Fuel - eat a rainbow; choose darker over lighter foods when given the chance; shoot for fish 5x a week; try to have 50% of your plate be produce (fruits and vegetables)
    • Exercise - increasing your heart rate increases blood flow to the brain, resulting in more fuel
    • Stimulation (based on neuroplasticity, or the "use it to not lose it" principle) - it can be as simple as reading aloud or using your non-dominant hand for certain (safe) tasks like tooth brushing
    • Sleep (results in pruning or "defragging" to organize what you've learned that day) - at least 6 hours; let stress go before going to bed, with whatever techniques work for you
Part 2 - a healthy HEART
  • In 2003, cardiovascular disease killed 1 in 2.7 American women; it is the leading cause of death.
  • In women, indicators of a heart attack are very often ignored. They include up to 4-6 months of or sudden onset of unusual fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and indigestion.
  • Risk factors:
    • Can't change: you were over 8 pounds as a newborn; you bore a child under 5 or over 9 pounds; you experienced preeclampsia; you developed gestational diabetes; you have a condition causing chronic inflammation (e.g. an autoimmune disease); you have a positive family history of cardiovascular disease (e.g. heart attack in a male if under 55 years old or a female under 65); you are older than 50 (male) or 65 (female)
    • Able to change: smoking (don't quit cold turkey, but wean); poor diet; lack of mindful aerobic exercise; blood pressure persistently above 140/90; waist circumference over 35" (measured just above the hip bones); fasting blood glucose over 100
  • Know your blood lipids!
    • Total cholesterol should be under 200
    • LDL ("bad") cholesterol should be under 100
    • HDL ("good") cholesterol should be over 50 (female) or 40 (male). This can be raised only by exercise or by prescription vitamin B (doses can cause flushing, however).
    • Non-HDL cholesterol should be under 130
    • Triglycerides (sticky sugar-fat compounds) should be under 150
  • Nutrition facts:
    • Omega-3 fatty acids, great for the heart, are found in crushed flax seed, herring, sardines, salmon, albacore tuna, lake trout, flounder, and anchovies. Don't get it from krill.
    • Women over 50 should not take iron supplements, as they can raise the risk of uterine cancer.
    • Most vitamin pills are not absorbed effectively. Gel capsules are all right for vitamin D (which many people are deficient in); for others, choose chewable vitamins or whole foods so your body can absorb the nutrients.
    • In general, we eat far too much salt. The speaker recommends going on a total salt hiatus - not adding it to anything you prepare. She said that it takes about 2 weeks for your mouth to get used to the changed flavors of foods, after which they will taste normal despite lack of salt.
Part 3 - a healthy SOUL
  • Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Genesis 2:7; Colossians 3:2; 1 Corinthians 13:12 / Matthew 14:28-31; Acts 2:1-4 / Genesis 1:2; Isaiah 64:8; and Romans 8:29
  • C. S. Lewis - we are essentially eternal souls. We know this because time flies! :-)
  • We are also divided beings.
    • Believers in Christ have a body + soul + spirit (i.e. faith, a gift from God)
    • People who do not believe have a body + soul (their faith is a product of the mind)
  • As a believer, ask yourself: (1) Do I love Jesus? (2) Do I let Jesus love me?
  • As a human, ask yourself: (1) What do I worship? (2) How is this reflected in my use of time?
  • Studies from UC-Berkley and other places show connections between forgiveness and health; worship habits and increased longevity.
  • Consider this analogy: fields must be prepared (tilled and planted) to benefit from the rain. Assess your spiritual health, as well as the indicators you use to measure this health.

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