Happiness and Health through Focusing on God

     Finding happiness and peace in the world we live in can be difficult. Besides the amount of negativity and heartbreak in the news alone, we will also surely face difficult times in our lives that can cause us to lose focus and hope. In Proverbs 17:22 it says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Although these words were written thousands of years ago, science is proving this to be true today.
 
     WebMD explains that “negative emotions such as depression, anger and hostility are risk factors for heart attack and stroke” and that “happiness seems to protect the heart.” There was a study conducted on a group of 1,739 healthy adults living in Nova Scotia Canada for 10 years to determine whether attitudes affected their health. “After accounting for known heart disease risk factors, the researchers found that the happiest people were 22% less likely to develop heart disease over the 10 years of follow-up than people who fell in the middle of the negative-positive emotion scale.” But how do we release the negative emotions that build up inside of us? “When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer,” Psalms 94:19.
 
     Prayer is the best way to slow down our negative thoughts and anxieties and begin to refocus on God and the hope we find in him. In Philippians 4:6-7 it reads, “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your heart and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Dr. Loretta G. Breuning, founder of the Inner Mammal Institute and the author of ‘The Science of Positivity’ and ‘Habits of a Happy Brain,’ explains that when we pray, we can activate neural pathways we developed when young to release hormones such as oxytocin. “Oxytocin is known for its role in maternal labor and lactation, but it also [enables] social trust and attachment, giving us a good feeling despite living in a world of threat,” says Dr. Breuning. “It’s the idea of ‘I can count on something to protect me.’
 
     So when a situation comes up and you’re out of ideas and you are helpless, feeling much like you did when you were a baby, prayer can provide some other source of hope.” Romans 15:13 reads, “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Through prayer and connecting to God, we have an opportunity to, not only release our fears, anxieties, and hopelessness, but we are drawing closer to our creator, we are strengthening our relationship with our Father in heaven and we are becoming healthier, spiritually and physically.
 
God Bless!
 
Cristin Martinez

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