How to Keep Healthy Thoughts

How to Keep Healthy Thoughts

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A guest post written by Melissa Clendenen from Newport Beach, California

Scientific studies have shown the impact of our thinking on health and wellbeing. Shift recently published, “How Your State of Mind is Affecting Your Well-Being,”  and states: “If you have an optimistic state of mind you have a better ability to become accomplished in life, are better able to cope with stress, and can take on life challenges more resilientlyContinue Reading

Is Speaking Evil Tied to Health?

Is Speaking Evil Tied to Health?

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A guest post written by Kathleen Osborne from Riverside, California

The other day a headline in the Wall Street Journal caught my attention. In super-large type it read “Speak No Evil.” The article itself was about how to give a speech, but it got me thinking about the adage, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” and how this might relate to health and harmony.Continue Reading

Is It Worth It To Detox Mentally?

Is It Worth It To Detox Mentally?


My colleague Tim Mitchinson is a health blogger from Illinois, and in his article he writes about the health benefits gained when negative feelings such as anger, jealousy, or hate are eliminated from ones thinking.

More and more individuals are considering detoxing and cleansing their bodies of impurities for health reasons.   But interestingly, some of the most toxic problems we suffer are negative mental states.

For instance, research, as well as common sense, is increasingly showing the health risks of anger.  An Ohio State University study showed that those who had less control over their anger tended to heal more slowly from wounds.  In another study, researchers concluded that anger problems have been linked to all major causes of death.

For many, negative feelings can sometimes accumulate to disturbing levels. During those times, we need a good mental detoxing to clear out unhealthy emotions, such as jealousy, stress and irritation, which can poison one’s good nature, upset mental balance, and damage health.

Here are some helpful tips I have found in my spiritual practice that are important in mental cleansing:

  • Don’t let resentments fester and grow – eliminate them with forgiveness
  • Cleanse away hatred with affection and compassion
  • Purge past disappointments with gratitude for good things in your life today
  • Don’t rehearse cruelty – practice empathy and tolerance instead

It is love, compassion and appreciation that will help us detox our mentality and bring us many health benefits.

St. Paul lists nine important ingredients that can help detox any hatred: patience, kindness, generosity, humility, courtesy, unselfishness, good temper, guilelessness and sincerity (see I Cor. 13: 5-8).  These qualities act as antidotes for anger and its health threats.

There was a time in my life when I hated a colleague of mine.  His life seemed so much better and his success more pronounced.  I eventually became ill whenever I thought of him.  I realized I needed a good detoxing.  I studied I Corinthians 13 and tried to be more unselfish, kind and patient with my friend, others I knew, and even myself.  The result?  My anger disappeared.  We became friends again, my health became stronger and my life richer in many ways.

American human development specialist and founder of the Heart/Math Institute, Doc Childre, wrote, “Appreciate yourself for whatever progress you’ve made, then use that energy of appreciation to move forward.”

If you’re combatting anger, jealousy or hatred, try a mental cleansing.  Give yourself a good mental detox with humility and love.  See for yourself how it helps eliminate stress.  You’ll feel better about yourself and even reap some lasting health benefits.

©2014 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois

Relieve Stress Through a New Type of Pushup

Relieve Stress Through a New Type of Pushup

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by Don Ingwerson

Robert Piper, author, columnist, and writer, in an article in Huffpost Healthy Living, includes meditation in his description for a new and updated concept of the pushup. To explain the need for a new pushup he comments, “The pushup has been a standard part of being American. If you grow up in America and go to school, one of the first things you’re taught in gym class is how to do a pushup. Millions of Americans do pushups before work, during their lunch break, and at the gym. Because of pushups, we’ve mastered getting ripped pectorals, deltoids, and triceps.”

But experts say our health is suffering from stress – not something the traditional pushup is known for addressing. Is there a ‘new pushup’ on the horizon?

Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s Chief Medical Editor, recently said, “Stress is a huge [health] factor when we look at medical problems such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cardiac disease.” So, how do we find a “new” pushup to address stress and tension, which are at the base of many of our physical problems today?

When discussing stress Mr. Piper encourages, “Simple mindful breaks through the day will do wonders.” Those mindful breaks for me are moments filled with prayer and meditation. Dr. Gail Saltz, a New York Psychiatrist, states, “As you manage to get past things, your ability to look back as something else comes along and say, ‘Well, I got through that’ – that goes a long way.” Simple mindful breaks could be one way to build good coping skills, which Robert Piper feels could help in overcoming stress.

The public may already be using this new pushup. According to the 2002 NIH Study, 43% of the public was using prayer and 7.6% was using meditation for health concerns. The new American pushup, involving prayer or meditation and used to relieve stress and tension, may be as successful as the old American pushup. This new pushup seems to be more effective if applied immediately when the problem that creates tension or stress appears.

I can speak to the efficacy of this approach. I experienced a back problem created by unresolved work stress. Each time the back pain became intense, I would take a “simple mindful break” and meditate and pray. In one break, I referred to a Bible verse from Romans, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” My thinking about the work problem began to change, my stress lessened, and I was able to promote a climate of good will. This helped to create a new awareness for me of how to address health issues – just as the new pushup, which uses prayer and meditation, will today.

Article previously published march 18, 2013 and first published in Blogcritics.

What You Gain By Living With Less

What You Gain By Living With Less


Kim Shippey is a regular guest blogger for Ingrid Peschke’s blog Changing Tides of Health. As an international journalist who has relocated with his family many times during his career, he offers helpful insights when he writes about reducing clutter. Although the treatment center for hoarding he mentions is not in Southern California, we all can recognize the benefits of letting go.

A noticeable effort is being made these days to improve mental health among people of all ages, cultures, and communities. For example, depression and its effect on health, on people’s well-being, and even on their physical condition, has been the focus of much research. Less well known is the attention being given to many other psychological disorders–including something called “compulsive hoarding syndrome.”

There’s even a center for its treatment in Sacramento, California, which was established by a clinical psychologist and social worker, Robin Zasio. She and her team help people who have difficulty in letting go, “helping them to begin making decisions that support both their emotional and physical wellness.”

And there is an increasing flow of books available to help people gain sound perspectives. One of the most helpful books on hoarding to have come my way in recent weeks was written not by a psychologist but by a mother of four grown children, who for more than 30 years has worked in family ministry in her church, Susan V. Vogt.

This slim book (her sixth), titled Blessed by Less: Clearing Your Life of Clutter by Living Lightly (Loyola Press, 2013), describes what a year of giving stuff away taught Vogt about life, relationships, and what’s really important. As the blurb puts it: Cluttered closets. Crowded minds. How do we begin to lighten our loads?

The book’s 122 pages are packed with practical tips and spiritual wisdom, including ways to consume and hang on to less, become more generous, let go of burdens and intangibles, waste less, save energy, worry less, laugh more, and, as you win, eliminate the “smug factor.”–

Taking a more spiritual perspective, Vogt says, can lead to abundant blessings we might otherwise miss. The search for God and a spiritual core is universal. She writes that the “deeply-rooted instinct to live more lightly upon this earth transcends any one religion and abides in conscientious people of good will.

”Vogt speaks of the role played by prayer in the culling process, and doesn’t hesitate to share passages of Scripture that have helped her worry less and have enriched her own increasingly uncluttered spiritual journey.

By happy coincidence, one of the passages she quotes (from First Corinthians, chapter 13) was key in restoring perspective, peace, and well-being to my own life when I was required not just to downsize my home, but relocate  to another country thousands of miles away. I had to learn in a hurry to be less preoccupied with things and center my attention more on thinking — wise, God-inspired thinking.

I had to sort and ultimately abandon decades of hoarded material — from rusty bikes to sagging armchairs, to thousands of books I believed I could never live without! — belonging not only to me and my wife, but also to five children. Our peace of mind and even our physical health took some severe knocks until we realized fully that no matter where we lived, and how many our material possessions, what would “abide” (among many other spiritual qualities) were “faith, hope, and love.” And they would always be plentifully available.

Eventually we learned — with gratitude — the lessons that Vogt was to provide 25 years later in her book, which is a good read for anyone.


Tips To Leave Depression Behind

Tips To Leave Depression Behind

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Have you ever had a “black hole” experience, one where things were all going in a negative direction with no hope of getting better? My colleague Beverly Goldsmith of Australia writes of a friend’s journey out of depressing thoughts and a determination to get mentally free, an effort that improved her health. Beverly includes helpful tips that we can all adopt, if we find ourselves in a similar situation.

“I once went down into the black hole of depression”, a close friend revealed to me recently. “I was scared of everything, always negative, and had no appetite for food or life. I’m determined to never go there again.”  That clear determination has never wavered. She pulled herself out of those dark feelings and showed that to be determined is good for your health.

What prompted my friend to escape from the clutches of depression? It was the moment when she realized that her unhappy mental state was worrying her children. “Right then”, she said “I knew I had to work harder.” So she decided to get out of the ever-deepening abyss of black thinking by being proactive – being determined to explore every avenue aimed at achieving mental and emotional freedom.

Listen to positive messages. Be encouraged.

In speaking of her journey out of the “pit of gloom”, my friend recalled one of her more unusual approaches to achieving good mental health. “I used to watch an American preacher on afternoon TV. She spoke about taking responsibility for your own emotions and to focus on pampering yourself into being healthy again – not to rely on medication to do it all for you.  She helped me a lot because I could relate to her words of encouragement.”


● Listen to words of encouragement. Be heartened by them.

● Replace negative thoughts with positive, healthy ones.

● Don’t ruminate, reiterate or speculate over dark thoughts, or wonder where they come from.

● Cultivate happiness and health by celebrating the little victories in life.

● Follow Dr Susan Weinschenk’s advice and “take time to notice the things that go right” – a smile from a stranger, an unexpected thank you. Doing this, “means we’re getting a lot of little rewards throughout the day. That can help with our moods.” 

Break open the gloom. Persevere.

Often dark thinking can appear to be as solid as a rock. Despite one’s best efforts it can seemingly remain unbreakable. Yet constant blows of optimistic, positive, and yes, even spiritual thinking, can crack apart those negative feelings. It just takes determined perseverance

There’s a story of a man who wanted to break up a large rock in his garden. Although he struck it 100 times with a sledge hammer, the rock remained intact. Finally, he gave up in frustration. A neighbour who’d been watching him asked if he could have a go. He hit the rock. Instantly it fell apart.  “How come I couldn’t crack it open?” the man cried. “Well”, replied the neighbour, “actually you did all the hard work. If you’d just persevered and given it one last blow, you’d have cracked it open yourself.”


Persevere. Remain determined to succeed.

Enact the proverb, “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.”  

Don’t be defeatist. Keep going. Stay mentally active.

Keep your mental eye on the high goal. Don’t count your footsteps in getting there. *

Be tortoise-like. Succeed

Sometimes slow progress can lead to discouragement. This can emotionally hamper one’s efforts to overcome despondency. However, not feeling fast enough on one’s mental feet, doesn’t mean failure. It’s possible to take up the challenge and beat the blues.

One of Aesop’s famous fables illustrates this point.  A slow moving tortoise who was continually teased by a fast-running hare, challenged him to a race. The hare, who was sure he’d win, took a nap, stopped for breakfast, then fell asleep. He woke up just in time to see the tortoise cross the finish line ahead of him.

The encouraging message of this story could be this: a slow but steady-as-you-go mental action, wins the day. It’s successful. This highlights the prize-winning combination of steadfast determination and calm persistence.


Be a winner over dejection. Be determined.

Be firm, unwavering in your resolve to win the prize of good mental health and happiness.

Be one of those individuals who either, “gain good rapidly and hold their position, or attain slowly and yield not to discouragement.”   (Science and Health p. 254, Mary Baker Eddy)

Believe that through determined, hope-filled thinking, you will emerge triumphant.


* A paraphrase from Mary Baker Eddy in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “The discoverer of Christian Science finds the path less difficult when she has the high goal always before her thoughts, than when she counts her footsteps in endeavoring to reach it.”

Arrest That Thought!

Arrest That Thought!

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When viewing how Southern Californians rush about in many different directions in their daily activities, you may wonder at where they are all going. But what about mentally?  My colleague, Keith Wommack, writes about the importance of being vigilant and watchful of where your thoughts are taking you – originally published in the Houston Chronicle.

The capture was made while I was, of all things, playing a board game at a friend’s house.

I was ten years old, and my friend was taking too long to make his next chess move. As I stared out the window, I saw my twin brother and another friend running between two houses towards the street.

The second they reached asphalt, police cars surrounded them. Both of them looked frightened as officers jumped out of their vehicles. My brother and his friend were handcuffed, placed in the cars, and driven away.

Stunned, I ran home, flung open the door, and yelled, “Kevin’s been arrested!”

Later, I learned that vandals had caused damage to a vacant house. Kevin and several other boys, foolishly, wandered into the house through a broken sliding glass door to examine the mess. Seeing activity at the house, a neighbor called the police, believing that the offenders were back.

The neighbor’s call was perfectly understandable. He wanted the vandalism stopped. However, because of the call, my brother was mistakenly identified, temporarily, as a juvenile delinquent.

How does my brother’s experience relate to your health?

Have you ever been rightly or wrongly blamed and then felt miserable? Wasn’t the pain you experienced the result of your disturbed thought?

If you’re having trouble recognizing that your thoughts and physical health are correlated, consider a take away from a report by Dr. Betty Burrows.

Burrows states, “Medical research suggests that up to 90 percent of all illness and disease is stress-related, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Since your mental condition can control your physical condition, it’s important to learn how to arrest harmful thoughts.

There are coping methods for managing stress and other harmful mental states that utilize the human mind’s reasoning powers. But when considering physical health, is it wise to employ the same human mind to heal which essentially caused the problem in the first place?

Perhaps, it would be advisable to bring aid to the human mind by allowing it to be influenced by the divine.

Most likely, we’ve all, at times, been falsely accused or identified ourselves in harmful ways – afraid, not good enough, unloved, a victim. Possibly, a first step in stopping harmful thoughts could be to discover what it means to be a spiritual being who is deeply worthy and appreciated.

Taking her cues from the Bible, especially the healing work of Jesus, author and Christian healer, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, “[Your] only course is to take antagonistic grounds against all that is opposed to the health, holiness, and harmony of man, God’s image.”

Without spiritual reasoning, life often appears stressful and cruel. But, many around the world are practicing the type of prayerful spiritual logic that allows them to gauge life in a more positive way. This helps them to experience greater peace, improved self-esteem, and consistent physical health.

If you’re struggling, it may be comforting to learn that the pain is not your fault. And although the pain is not your fault, it might be an opportunity. This may be your moment to mentally rise and express spiritual might.

“Stand porter at the door of thought,” Eddy encourages the readers of her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. “Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously. When the condition is present which you say induces disease, whether it be air, exercise, heredity, contagion, or accident, then perform your office as porter and shut out these unhealthy thoughts and fears.”

If you are falsely accused, instead of acquiescing at being captured and driven away, you can begin to take control. You can arrest wrong thoughts, the offenders, before they have a chance to manifest themselves.

Go ahead, arrest thoughts harming your body. Your ability to control thought may help you manage your health.

– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at:


Probing the Mental Causes of Obesity

Probing the Mental Causes of Obesity

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A guest post written by Thomas Mitchinson, legislative liaison and media spokesman for Christian Science in Illinois

“Fear, anxiety, and mental overload are causes for obesity in human beings,” according to Professor Dr. BM Hegde.  He called these emotions “mental flab that kills.”

In a recent blog he wrote, “Obesity, increase in body weight disproportionate to the height with excess fatty deposits under the skin, has become a menace to society, especially in the affluent West.”  He continued, “It has reached its zenith in the US, where almost every person seems to be obese.  It has become a good money-spinner for the pharmaceutical, technology, and the food industries.”

But then he talked further about the mental causes of obesity.  He wrote, “Many of us overeat when we are depressed and/or not happy.”  How many of us grab a candy bar when frustrated?  Or stop for fast food when under pressure?  Hedge gave this amazing sentence, “It is the mental obesity that manifests as physical obesity.”

Stress, pressure, loneliness, anger, frustration, emptiness, and fear are all elements of “mental flab.”  No matter how much we exercise or diet, if we don’t address these emotions, we are not treating the root cause of the overweight.

He commented that mental obesity is the inner hunger for spiritual satisfaction that is in many cases at the root of physical obesity.  It follows that this hunger includes the desire for attention, love, companionship, acceptance, and meaning in life.

Professor Hedge quoted Christian Science founder, Mary Baker Eddy, in his article.  Eddy wrote to her Church in 1902, “Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can.”

The happiness that fills and satisfies us does not come from another.  It comes from realizing one’s relationship to God.  As one understands the unconditional, always present love of God for each of us, it satisfies the “hungry heart” which begs for some kind of recognition.  This love quiets fear, anxiety, frustration, stress, and every emotion that would lead to overeating, binging, or even starving oneself.

Isn’t it the lack of feeling loved that is often behind a “hungry heart?”  One may lack a sense of direction, or feel overwhelmed by circumstances out of control.  In such cases, the omnipotence of divine Love is once again part of the solution.  One can overcome the fear of being alone or unappreciated by realizing that “Love inspires, illumines, designates and leads the way” (from Eddy’s book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 454) for each of us – right out of the meaninglessness of existence into a meaningful life.

We can feast on God’s love.  We can share that feasting with others, and have our hungry hearts satisfied.  Integrative medicine expert, Dr. Andrew Weil, often speaks of “infectious happiness.” When we share our love with others or volunteer for some group, it fills not only their “hungry hearts,” but ours also.

So stop binging on food, and instead feast on giving – on giving love, attention, care, a listening ear, a smile – to others.  You are preparing a very low-calorie meal that blesses yourself and those you love.

Link to Mitchinson’s blog


Empower Yourself to be Healthy

Empower Yourself to be Healthy


A guest post written by Wendy Margolese, Christian Science media representative for Ontario and legislative liaison for Canada

Have you ever thought about whether you can influence your own health?

According to Dr. Nancy Abram, MD, you can.  Here is an edited excerpt of my conversation with this thoughtful and intuitive physician who, after three decades, retired from her medical practice in Southern Ontario to focus on mind-body medicine.

What brought about your transition from conventional medicine to examining the mind-body relationship in the process of healing and wellbeing?

Dr. Abram: “In my practice as a family physician, I started to realize over and over again, that when I’d write prescriptions, patients needed a higher dose and were subject to side effects.  But people really weren’t dealing with their core issues.  I’m not against medications, but they are a bit of a blanket, particularly when you are dealing with mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

And so, I have felt for many years that the core issues are demonstrated through the body.  The body doesn’t lie.  So if the body’s in pain, there’s an emotion behind that pain – what you exhibit physically is tied to your thinking.

However, at some point if you don’t fix the disrupted way of thinking – the forms of thought that get you into a pattern – then as a patient, you will probably keep returning.

I did some extra training in a kind of energy psychology – one form was the Emotional Freedom Technique.  I received the designation of ‘GP – Psychotherapy’, recognized by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan).  I started using this approach on a few of my patients in the clinic and realized that this was the practice I wanted to do.  So I retired from the clinic.

I now see clients on a referral basis and they know I am going to approach things differently – they have tried drugs and when that hasn’t worked, they are willing to try my therapy. This doesn’t mean I don’t prescribe medication, but more often it means I have been able to get people off their medication.

How do you empower your patients to find health and wellness?

Dr. Abram: “It is about personal responsibility.  It can be frustrating for a lot of physicians because they will tell the patient to eat properly, exercise, etc., but the patient returns with the same symptoms – sometimes even worse.  They are handing their personal power to somebody else.  And it’s all about taking back your own personal power. Say you are feeling the emotion of insecurity, but your inner being, your higher self doesn’t agree with that. So I help you get connected with your inner being  – get back to that understanding that you don’t need to waste your time with negative emotions.

I teach my patients that there is a higher power they can tap into, a resource to help them discover happiness.  It’s helping people connect with who they really are, which is more than what they think.

There are probably more physicians who are of this thought than you realize, but they are on this allopathic road where you have to think of concrete things – diagnose and treat.  Treat usually means a prescription or a referral. This is the patient’s expectation.

Do you know who is ahead of this shift in medical practice? I would say the nurses.  Nurses are trained in a different approach to a patient. Doctors are trained to diagnose and treat; nurses are trained to look more at the whole person – what other factors may be impacting their health.

Do you have any final thoughts to share?

Dr. Abram: ‘We are all energy – quantum physics has taught us that.  Finding your health would be allowing the energy that is part of who you are, to flow without resistance.  If you look at consciousness as a vibrational energy and allow it to flow – health would really be who you really are, loving yourself. Most people do not love themselves.  There is the ‘kingdom of heaven within’ – so you have to acknowledge your own greatness, your own magnificence.

Dr. Abram may be just beginning her practice in mind-body medicine, but her years of experience have led her to see the connection between our thinking, – the “kingdom” – and our health.  If the ‘kingdom of heaven’ she refers to is the Divine – working within us, we can all discover an unlimited source on which to draw for our health and wellbeing.

Link to Wendy Margolese’s blog