Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Part 4: Christianity and Buddhism: A Call to the Christian Church

posted by Linda Mintle

I hope you have enjoyed this series on Christian mindfulness. This is my last installment on the series

Part 1: The  Christian Practice of Mindfulness

Part 2: The attraction

Part 3: The difference in narratives

 

For many reasons, meditation as a regular Christian practice has been lost in American culture and needs to be re-cultivated. We have abandoned our spiritual disciplines, leaving us weak, ignorant, distracted and ineffective in our Christian walks. As a result, we display to the world a powerless form of Christianity full of stressed and distracted followers who do not access the power of the relationship with the Christ who indwells. Instead, we act on our own power which is ineffective in transforming lives and healing hurts.

In other words, we are the problem, not Christianity. Is it any wonder people turn to other religions for answers? When Christians don’t live out their Christianity, a void is left for others to fill.

Furthermore, we argue about meditation in Christian circles. Is it biblical? Yes (Joshua 1:8). Has it been misunderstood and misused in Christian circles? Yes. Is it essential in the lives of Christians? Yes. The Bible is clear on the need to mediate and explains how it is to be done. Let’s stop arguing and start doing it.

We don’t need a bell to awaken us to the frequency of God. His Spirit is already in us and His presence and power is ready to change lives and bring needed peace and contentment to those who seek truth. We don’t need a mantra to deliver our mind from illusions and focus our attention. The One who spoke the world into existence and breathed life to our physical bodies, lives in us. Our job is to awaken to this reality and not retreat from the spiritual battle, to boldly present the truth, live out the realities of that truth and offer a path of hope to a desperately hurting world. And wouldn’t it be powerful if we, and not just the Buddhists, were known for our love as Jesus so desired. Instead, we are known for what we oppose.

Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. With our eyes firmly fixed on Christ, we can agree with this quote from Isaac of Stella

He Himself is my contemplation. He is my delight. Him for His own sake I seek above me. From Him Himself I feed within me. He is the field in which I labor. He is my cause He is my effect. He is my beginning. He is my end, without end. He is for eternity. —Issac of Stella

 


[1] Reference?

Risk Factors for Eating Disorders

posted by Linda Mintle

NATIONAL EATING DISORDERS AWARENESS WEEK ends today. Be informed. Encourage someone who struggles to get help!

What causes eating disorders?

This simple question has a complex answer. Families are mystified as to what makes a 16 year-old jeopardize her health. Friends are disgusted by the vomiting sounds heard in college dorm room bathrooms. Husbands are baffled by their wives seeming inability to love themselves. Why do women and men abuse their bodies with food?

There is no one thing that predicts whether someone will submit to the bondage of these disorders. What we do know is that the causes are multiple, interactive and complex. No one factor stands alone. Keeping that in mind and knowing we don’t have definitive answers, here are some of the risk factors thought to lead to the predisposition and development of an eating disorder:

·History of a mood disorder (increased risk for bulimia) or family history of mood disorder

·Traumatic life events

·Genetics:  Eating disorders do tend to run in families. Usually females are most affected. This may suggest that some people are predisposed to these disorders, but it certainly doesn’t eliminate the role other factors play. Research is currently being conducted looking carefully at the role of genetics. Heritable factors may be involved in the development of an eating disorder. However causation is difficult to determine given other contributing factors.

·Family history of substance abuse may increase the risk for bulimia

·Odd family eating habits and strong concern about appearance and weight may translate to family members

·Dissatisfaction with body and desire to be thin

·Dieting appears to be an entrée to an eating disorder for women and exercise for men

·Normal development events such as the onset of puberty, leaving home, the beginning of a new relationship, particularly with the opposite sex.

·Repeated negative comments on appearance

·Emphasis on thinness among upper and middle class women and female adolescents

·Positive family history of eating disorders coupled with dieting

·Personality traits: For anorexia the risks include affective over control and intolerance, lack of self-direction and personal effectiveness, and difficulty adapting to developmental tasks. There is some evidence for the contribution of affective instability and poor impulse control in developing bulimia.

 

If you know someone who struggles with an eating disorder, tell him or her to get help. Treatment works and help is available

 

Free and Easy Stress Buster

posted by Linda Mintle

I’ve written about it before. I trained residents, librarians, social workers, teachers and others in this easy stress buster.

It’s free, it’s easy and it will save money on your health care costs.

What is it?

SMILING! Your facial gestures influence your mental health!

In a study published in Psychological Science (November 2012), researchers found that smiling reduced stress. Using a rather imaginative approach, researchers had people smile unknowingly. Here is what they did. During a stress task, subjects had to place chopsticks in their mouths. The chopstick positions forced three different types of facial response. One produced a neutral expression, the second produced a smile and the third a full smile. This way, each subject didn’t know he or she was smiling. Tricky!

The smiling people reduced their stress. The muscles involved in the smile sent a message to the brain, signaling safety, and lowering heart rate.

So here is your charge–smile often and big!

Smile at other people as it seems to be contagious. People smile back at you and you are de-stressing them as well!

Smile at your job and on a date and you will project a more positive image.

Smile when someone cuts you off in traffic and you will lower your heart rate.

Make smiling your favorite exercise.

Mother Theresa once said, “Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” Sounds like it is also a gift to yourself.

NOW GET OUT THERE and SMILE!

 

 

Help for Eating Disorders

posted by Linda Mintle

If you or someone you love has an eating disorder, it’s best to get help quickly. Treatment can save your life! The longer you stay in your abnormal eating habits, the more ingrained they become.

The first step is to get a good physical exam with a physician who understands the medical issues involved with eating disorders. He/she will need to rule out any physical cause for the disorder and evaluate your physical condition.

Most people can be treated in an outpatient setting, but sometimes hospitalization is necessary. Hospitalization is usually considered when weight loss is severe, when there are serious metabolic disturbances, when there is a risk of suicide due to clinical depression, when binging and purging is severe or when you are experiencing psychosis.

Because eating disorders involve complex emotional, psychological and spiritual issues, you need a comprehensive plan that will help you overcome the disorder. Usually a team of multidisciplinary professionals is assembled to treat you. The team should include a registered dietitian, a physician, a mental health practitioner who can provide individual, group and family psychotherapy and a psychopharmacologist-someone knowledgeable about psychoactive medications used to treat these disorders if needed.

The dietitian will help you establish good eating habits, correct faulty information about food, and help you gain or lose the appropriate weight safely and sensibly. The emphasis is on teaching you to use food as nutrition, not as a coping mechanism. The nutritionist, along with the therapist and physician, agree on a target weight for you to achieve. It is her job to nudge you along to your target weight.

The mental health practitioner is usually a psychologist, clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist or counselor. The therapist helps you deal with the underlying emotional, spiritual and interpersonal issues that are playing out through preoccupation with food. The most effective models of individual therapy use a cognitive-behavioral or interpersonal therapy approach. The focus is usually examination and change of thoughts and behaviors.

Group therapy can be helpful in sharing your struggles with others who have the disorder. Groups help you feel less isolated, ashamed and more supported. Many groups provide good information along with support. Therapy groups can assist you in the practice of assertiveness, help you find your voice and identity, and explore interpersonal issues.

Family therapy is especially needed with young girls and teens. It is highly recommended for all types of eating problems. Family involvement aids treatment. Family work deals with family dynamics that contribute to the disorders.

Sometimes, not always, medications are used to help an underlying depression or anxiety problem. A psychopharmacologist may provide treatment recommendations to improve mood, control urges to binge and deal with excessive anxiety blocking progress.

Overall, the work of recovery and eventual freedom is a team effort using the resources of many fields. People with eating disorders often deny the seriousness of the problem. Some react with anger when help is sought. Denial of the problem is strong. Face your problem. Help is available. Early intervention leads to success.

 

For more help, Dr. Linda’s Book BREAKING FREE FROM ANOREXIA AND BULIMIA

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