April has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Shenandoah University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from James Madison University. As a pharmacist, she is more comfortable discussing the colon in our body, than the colons in punctuation.
When not on the sport field sideline, April escapes to her craft room. She enjoys sewing, quilting, card making, and creating stained glass. Visit April at www.RedChairMoments.com.
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Maria lifts the spirits of the children by encouraging them to sing a list of their favorite things. As I type these words, images of Maria jumping on the bed and dancing in the curtains waltz through my mind, as she sings "My Favorite Things" (Go ahead and sing.)
Rodgers and Hammerstein's song has scientific evidence to support this notion: What you think can influence how you feel.
I recently attended a continuing education seminar titled PTSD, Trauma, and Anxiety Disorders. I won't bore you with the details of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary- Adrenal Stress Axis (HPA). However, I want you to understand a key component of stress is the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol regulates blood sugar, blood pressure, anti-inflammatory response, immune system, metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, and mood.
Research shows that chronic stress causes an imbalance of cortisol levels and is a major cause of anxiety disorders, trauma disorders (like PTSD), and depression. In our information age, the most common cause of chronic stress is physiological stress caused by our thoughts, not actual physical problems. All that to say:
Most stress is in our head.
Untreated chronic stress can also cause:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Stomach Ulcers
- Accelerate aging
- Cognitive impairment and dementia
- Immune deficiency (increased risk of pneumonia and flu)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sleep disorders
- High blood pressure
We live in a world of constant information and multitasking. Studies show mindfulness meditation reduces cortisol levels, thereby reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. Meditation improves cognitive function, ability to focus, memory, and mood. As a result meditation reduces all the factors listed above.
"Be still and know that I am God." (Psalms 46:10, NIV)
Thousands of scientific research dollars have been spent determining what the Psalmist wrote thousands of years ago.
I personally prefer the New American Standard Version: "Cease striving and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10, NASB). Cease striving.
Friend, no matter what situation you're facing, "God is seated on His holy throne" (Psalm 47:8). He can't be dethroned, voted out, or impeached. He is a thrice holy God who invites you to enter a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Now that is worthy of meditation.
Peace be with you,
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