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Posts Tagged ‘life’

Have you ever been so busy that you struggled to notice the needs of those around you? Even those most dear to you?

Even worse than being over-busy is being distracted by things with little or no value — like mindlessly surfing the web when your child wants to play.

Read more: https://medium.com/life-learning/there-s-more-than-enough-time-when-you-use-the-time-you-have-f9a3b3e50a4c#.wlm5t08ya

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Loneliness shortens life

And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18 (NKJV)

 

According to Peter Russell[i], from WebMD, writes that “being lonely can trigger cellular changes in your body that increase your chances of getting ill and not living as long as you could have.”  Past research suggests that the risk applies to older people.  Since that is the case, we need to look at and treat loneliness as a major health problem.

In the new study, which was conducted by a combined team of researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of California, they found that loneliness can trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response, which can affect the production of white blood cells and eventually undermine the immune system.

In essence, explained the researchers, “lonely people have a weaker immune system and higher levels of inflammation than people who aren’t lonely. Their health is also more vulnerable because they feel threatened.”

Loneliness is not a normal part of getting older, contrary to what many people believe.  The truth is that it not only makes life miserable, but it can also have a serious impact on your physical and mental health.  It is sad that, “Research shows that more than a million older people say they haven’t spoken to a friend, neighbor or family member for over a month, and unless we act, our rapidly aging population we’ll see ever greater numbers of lonely older people.”

We don’t have to let older family, friends, or neighbors be lonely.  We all can do something as simple as checking up on them, especially during this festive season, but also year round.

Listen to these words,” Many are suffering from maladies of the soul far more than from diseases of the body, and they will find no relief until they come to Christ, the wellspring of life…Christ is the mighty Healer of the sin-sick soul…They need to be patiently and kindly yet earnestly taught how to throw open the windows of the soul and let the sunlight of God’s love come in. Complaints of weariness, loneliness, and dissatisfaction will then cease. Satisfying joys will give vigor to the mind and health and vital energy to the body.”[ii]

 

Father, remind me to care for those who are lonely.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20151124/loneliness-death?ecd=wnl_men_120115&ctr=wnl-men-120115_nsl-promo-5_title&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

[ii] White, E.G. Review & Herald, December 17, 1914 par. 17

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Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails. Psalm 71:9 (NKJV)

 

You can help support your loved one with Alzheimer’s by learning more about how the condition progresses.  WebMD[i] provides a list of the seven stages Alzheimer’s patients go through.

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline. At this point your loved one might start to lose track of where he/she is and even what time it is. He/she might have trouble remembering his/her address, phone number, or where he/she went to school. He/she could get confused about what kind of clothes to wear for the day or season.

You can help by laying out her/his clothing in the morning; this helps them keep a sense of independence.  When they repeat the same question, patiently answer with an even, reassuring voice.  It’s possible that they are asking the question less to get an answer and more to just know you’re there.  Even if your loved one can’t remember facts and details, he/she might still be able to tell a story, so encourage them to use their imagination at those times.

Stage 6: Severe Decline.  Your loved one might recognize faces but forget names.  He may also mistake a person for someone else, like thinking his wife is his mother.  They may also experience some delusion like thinking she needs to go to work even though she no longer has a job.

You might need to help him go to the bathroom.  While it may be hard to talk, you can still connect with them through the senses. Many people with Alzheimer’s love hearing music, being read to, or looking over old photos.

Stage 7: Very Severe Decline.  Most basic abilities such as eating, walking, and sitting up, fade during this period. You can help them by feeding them with soft, easy-to-swallow food, helping them to use a spoon, and making sure they drink adequate amounts of fluids. This last point is important, as many people at this stage can no longer tell when they’re thirsty.

 

Father God, during this difficult stage in our loved one’s life please help me to be patient and kind with them so that I may care for them until they can rest until Jesus’ return.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-disease-stages

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I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. Psalm 37:25 (NKJV)

 

You can help support your loved one with Alzheimer’s by learning more about how the condition unfolds.  WebMD[i] provides a list of the seven stages Alzheimer’s patients go through.

Stage 3: Mild Decline.  It’s at this stage that you may begin to notice changes in your loved one’s thinking and reasoning.  For instance:

  • Forgets something he/she just read
  • Asks the same question over and over
  • Has more and more trouble making plans or organizing
  • Can’t remember names when meeting new people

One way you can help him/her is by being their “memory” for him/her, making sure he/she pays bills and gets to appointments on time. You may carefully and lovingly suggest he/she ease his/her stress by retiring from work and putting his/her legal and financial affairs in order.

Stage 4: Moderate Decline.   Those challenges with their thinking and reasoning that you noticed in the previous stage become more obvious while new issues appear. Your loved one might:

  • Forget details about him/herself
  • Have trouble putting the right date and amount on a check
  • Forget what month or season it is
  • Have trouble cooking meals or even ordering from a menu

At this stage you can help with everyday chores and his/her safety. Make sure she/he isn’t driving anymore, and that someone isn’t trying to take advantage of her/him financially.

These are good words to keep in mind: “Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person…The fifth commandment requires children not only to yield respect, submission, and obedience to their parents but also to give them love and tenderness, to lighten their cares, to guard their reputation, and to succor and comfort them in old age.”[ii]

 

Father God, may I take good care of my parents not just because they took good care of me but because you commanded it.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-disease-stages

[ii] White, E.G., Mind, Character, and Personality, p. 747

 

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Think about death

So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 (NKJV)

Julie Beck writes for The Atlantic that “In the heart of every parent lives the tightly coiled nightmare that his child will die. It might spring at logical times—when a toddler runs into the street, say—or it might sneak up in quieter moments.”[i]  The Greek philosopher Epictetus even advised parents to indulge that fear. He wrote in his Discourses: “What harm is it, just when you are kissing your little child, to say: Tomorrow you will die?”  What a strange thought!

Then again, maybe there is value in contemplating our mortality every so often.  As William Irvine writes, “The Stoics had the insight that the prospect of death can actually make our lives much happier than they would otherwise be.” H adds, “You’re supposed to allow yourself to have a flickering thought that someday you’re going to die, and someday the people you love are going to die.”

That does not mean that we are constantly preoccupied with the thought of death to the point where you develop a phobia or at the very least an unhealthy view of life.  What it suggests, though, is that we consider how fragile life is and learn to value the time we have to live and the time we have with our loved ones and people that matter to us.

Living with a consciousness of our mortality can change our daily attitude toward others as well.  In one study, empathetic people were more likely to forgive transgressions after a death reminder.  In another, fundamentalist religious people were more compassionate after thinking of their own mortality, but only when compassionate values were framed in a religious context, such as scriptural words.

As Beck concludes, “Maybe the key, then, is being deliberate. Not letting thoughts of death sneak up on you, but actively engaging with them, even if it’s hard.”   Moses teaches us to ask God for the wisdom to count or appreciate each day of our lives and of the lives of those we care about.  For all of us, life may come to an end when we least expect it.  But we don’t need to live with fear of death; instead, we can live with the assurance of life and salvation in Jesus.

Father God, help us to keep in mind that life is fragile but life in you is endless and more fulfilling.

[i] http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/05/what-good-is-thinking-about-death/394151/

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Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

Resilience is the ability to withstand stress, obstacles, and catastrophe. Psychologists have long recognized the capabilities of humans to adapt and overcome risk and adversity.  At the same time, being resilient doesn’t mean going through life without experiencing stress and pain. Everyone experience grief, sadness, and a range of other emotions after adversity and loss. The path to resilience lies in working through the emotions and effects of stress and painful events.

Resilience is also not something that you’re either born with or not but rather it develops as people grow up and learn to manage their changing situations in life.  Resilience also comes from supportive relationships with parents, peers and others, as well as cultural and spiritual beliefs and traditions that help people cope with the inevitable bumps in life.  Yesterday we looked at 5 of the 10 things Jen Uscher[i] suggests you do to help you be more resilient.  Here are the other five:

  1. Have a Sense of Purpose. Do things that bring meaning to your life. It could be spending time with your family, but also volunteering or other work for a cause can also make you feel stronger. When you help others you are also helping yourself.
  2. Learn Healthy Habits. You’ll manage stressful times better if you exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, take time to rest, drink plenty of water, get fresh air and sunshine.
  3. Believe in Yourself.  Take pride in your abilities and what you’ve done. Recognize your personal strengths.
  4. Keep Laughing.  Hold on to your sense of humor even when times are tough.  Laughter relieves stress and helps you keep things in check.
  5. Be Optimistic.A positive, hopeful outlook will make you much more resilient. Remember that many of the problems you’ll face in life are temporary, and that you have overcome setbacks in the past.

We all will experience bumps along the journey of life.  Those bumps may trip us and make us fall, but they will also strengthen us along the way.

Father God, Help us to be more resilient and be overcomers in life.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/overcome-obstacles-resilience

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For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. Proverbs 24:16 (NKJV)

Some people seem to be born with the ability to overcome obstacles and setbacks with relative ease. It’s a trait that experts call resilience.  People with resilience have a greater sense of control over their lives which makes them more willing to take risks.  In addition, because of their optimistic outlook, they are more likely to develop and maintain positive relationships with others.  So, how do you make yourself more resilient? Jen Uscher[i] suggests 10 things to focus on:

  1. Stay Flexible. Resilient people expect to face challenges at some point in their lives, and are able to adjust their goals and find ways to adapt.
  2. Learn Lessons. Even when you have a negative experience, don’t focus on who’s to blame; focus on the positive lessons you can learn from it. Stop asking “Why me?” and feeling like a victim. Ask yourself what you could do differently next time to have a better result.
  3. Take Action. Think about what you can do to improve your situation, and then do it. Don’t let yourself be paralyzed by negative thoughts; instead, work on solving the problem. Perhaps making a list of possible options would be a good start.
  4. Stay Connected. It is important to nurture your relationships with friends and family. When you’re going through a hard time, don’t withdraw from other people; instead, accept help from those who care about you. Resilient people have at least one or two people in their lives they can turn to for support.
  5. Release Tension. Make sure you have outlets to express your emotions and let go of tension. For instance, you could write in a journal, draw, pray, go for long walks, or talk with a friend or counselor.

Here’s a great promise to take to heart, “Those who have a humble, trusting, contrite heart, God accepts and hears their prayer; and when God helps, all obstacles will be overcome.”[ii]

Father God, helps us to overcome the obstacles in our path and to remember you are always there to help us.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/overcome-obstacles-resilience

[ii] White, Ellen. G. Counsels on Health. P. 367

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