Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Who is Telling Grandma to Stop Baking Cookies?

posted by Linda Mintle

ID-10067150My grandmother could cook with a vengeance. I have many fond memories of sitting at the kitchen table watching her pull dough for strudel, bake pies and create German delights. So when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) came out with advice for grandparents about teaching healthy eating to their grandkids, I sighed! Really, can’t grandparents still offer a few special treats now and then?

The heart of the advice was for grandparents to be a part of teaching kids to eat healthy. The instruction was for grandparents to give hugs and read their grandchildren a bedtime story. OK, I get it. We are fighting a war on obesity. Grandma can cut up apples and offer a host of healthily food items while talking to little Johnny about making good food choices. Then, she can shower him with hugs and affection. The message will challenge the notion of food is love.

I’m not opposed to this, but I still think grandparents can bring special foods and treats for grandkids. I love the memories associated with food and my grandparents. Their house was filled with baking and cooking smells I will always remember and I associated that with the warmth and love they also gave. So perhaps the message of not letting food be the only way you show love is important. Hug those kids! Read them bedtime stories, but let’s not get crazy and take away all the fun!

 

Worried? Take Those Thoughts Captive!

posted by Linda Mintle

Letting Go of WorryWorry is one of the easiest things to do considering the world in which we live. We can worry about anything—nuclear war, unrest in the Mideast, a failing economy, our marriage, aging parents, what to wear to a party or whether or not our jeans make us look fat. From major to minor concerns, the potential for worry is ever present.

Our Creator knows the impact of the mental habit of worry on our physical health. He knows stress hormones are released during worry and damage is done to the body. He knows worry can cause cardiac activation regardless of whether or not worry pans out. In addition, high levels of worry can cause coronary heart disease, lead to unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking that bring early death. Worry is bad for the physical body.

Worry also interferes with our spiritual lives because it is based on doubting God. In order to worry, we have to give up trust and wonder if God is who He says He is. When trouble comes and we don’t understand, the temptation is to ascribe to God some negative motive like, He doesn’t care, He isn’t with me, or He caused the bad thing to happen.

When worried thoughts come to your mind, don’t try to suppress them. Instead, identify the worried thought. Then decide what a more reasonable thought might be, and replace the worried thought with the more realistic one. This is how you take a thought captive. You refuse to allow it to wander wherever it wants to go. You direct that thought to truth. Jesus is the truth and He says cast your cares on Him. Direct the thought to Him, then trust.

At the root of worry is doubting who God is and what He says He does. Sometimes, we assign attribution to God that is not part of his character. When this happens, we doubt and worry creeps in. Thus, we remind ourselves daily of God’s promises and who He is. Trust is based on knowing God.

 

For more help, read Letting Go of Worry by Dr. Linda Mintle

5 Ways Parents Can Help Kids Who Use Hurtful Words

posted by Linda Mintle

ID-10063256“You are an idiot and I hate you!”  “You make me sick! Loser!” 

Parents cringe when they hear this type of speech out of the mouths of children. The tongue is one of the most powerful parts of the body (James 3) and the Bible provides guidelines for our speech. So the importance of bridling our tongues and making our speech acceptable to God is very important for children to learn early in life.

Here are 5 points to discuss with your children about using hurtful words: 

1) Words hurt (Proverbs 18:8) and influence the way we feel about ourselves. Discuss the impact of hurtful words on others.

2) Ask what it feels like to be on the receiving end of such insults. This is how you help a child develop empathy. 

3) Treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. Ask, would you like to hear those words said to you? 

4) Even though others hurt with words, we, as Christians, are not to retaliate (Proverbs 15:1; 1 Peter 3:9-10). God’s way is not to hurt others back. It’s tempting and easy, but we want to be obedient to God’s Word.

5) Think before you speak (Proverbs 29:10). Words spoken in haste can’t be taken back and can damage relationships. If you do speak an unkind word, be the first to apologize and ask for forgiveness.

Finally, discuss the words of Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the heavens.” Explain what this means and how we apply these words when we are upset or angry.

 

 

Real Pain, But No Solution?

posted by Linda Mintle

ID-10043596“Hey doc, I have this pain in my back and I don’t know why?”

Chances are, your doctor may not know either.

One study (2011, 620 German primary-care patients,  Journal of Psychosomatics) estimates that up to two-thirds of patient pain complaints are unexplained.  Other reports seem to confirm this idea that pain can’t always be explained. In part, this may be due to patients having more serious psychiatric illness or somatic disorders (involve anxiety) that are not always front and center.

The most common symptoms of unexplained pain are headaches, back pain, fatigue, abdominal pain, and dizziness.  The goal in working with these symptoms isn’t necessarily to remit the pain, but help people live with it. We know that paying attention to symptoms can often make them feel worse.

And sometimes these symptoms are what we call “health seeking behavior” meaning something more psychological may be going on and needs to be treated. In fact, a 2006 study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that 60% of patients who averaged 13 visits to their doctor in a year had underlying major depression.

What helps is cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation training. These can ease symptoms and improve a person’s mental health, as well as reduce the number of doctor visits. The goal in using these approaches is to help a person rethink his/her beliefs about pain and learn to distract from the pain.

In reality, most people live with unexplained pain and can still be in good health. So even though you can’t always explain away pain, you can still learn to reduce your anxiety over it, not ruminate over it and distract yourself from making the symptoms worse.

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