My colleague Tim Mitchinson is a health blogger from Illinois, who like many of us, has been inspired by the performances of the Olympians competing in Sochi, Russia. He writes about the health benefits gained in our lives when thought and character is taken to the next level.
People all over the world have been enjoying the 2014 Winter Olympics. We have seen athletes exceed beyond “personal bests”; in Nike’s current campaign, it’s: “Take it to the next level”. To me, it’s all about breaking through our own limitations and doing or being the best we can.
This doesn’t just apply to Olympians or professional athletes. The readers of this blog have found in their own lives ways to “take it to the next level.” Maybe they are walking further each morning than they did the previous day, swimming farther, or lifting heavier weights.
But I think there are many ways to take life to the next level. How about embracing a new level in the good emotions we cultivate and express in our lives? Maybe we can express more affection, compassion and gratitude than we have in the past. Why should we do that? Well, one reason is simply that it makes us feel good. Additionally, it’s quite possible that doing those things can have a significant impact on our health.
Kory Floyd, an associate professor at Arizona State University’s Hugh Downs School of Human Communication has studied the effect of affection on one’s health. “Being affectionate is good for you,” Floyd says. “Affection can be a simple, non-pharmaceutical, cheap way to reduce stress.” Floyd has found that there are direct associations between being an affectionate person and a lower risk of depression and stress. “Highly affectionate people tend to have better mental health and less stress. They also react to stress better,” he stated (http://researchmatters.asu.edu/stories/effects-affection-960).
The impact of affection and love on health has also been the subject of studies on cancer patients. Wendy Mclain, Fruitland Park Senior Health Examiner, wrote about The Love Study conducted by the Institute of Noetic Sciences. She reported that this study consisted of couples who had been together for a long time. One of the two had cancer. The healthy participant was asked to show their love toward the other while the receiver’s physiological state was measured. Immediately, health benefits came to the ill partner. According to Mclain, “They concluded the study demonstrated that focusing love selflessly on another individual has significant healing properties for the one who is sick.” http://www.examiner.com/article/the-emotion-of-love-and-its-healing-properties”.
Health researcher and author Mary Baker Eddy saw the importance of taking many emotions out of what she called the “physical” level and taking them to what she termed the “moral”. In her best-selling book on spirituality and health, she emphasized the health-giving properties we acquire as we raise our life above fear, pride, envy, deceit, hatred and revenge, and learn to express the qualities of humanity, honesty, affection, compassion, hope, faith, meekness, and temperance. She wrote, “Whatever guides thought spiritually benefits mind and body” (Science and Health, p. 149).
Allowing our thought to be guided spiritually can help any one of us to “take it to the next level” – whether we are an athlete, a patient, a caregiver or simply someone looking to overcome limitations in some area of life.
©2014 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois