Friday, December 08, 2017

Light-bulb moment reveals 5 Ways to Well-being

I had a bit of a 'light-bulb' moment when visiting up at our local hospital this week. I picked up a leaflet entitled '5 Ways to Well-being'. In it I found a list of 5 practical suggestions which might help folk of my advancing years(!) to keep well and content. They also looked to me like the sort of good advice you would expect to find in a book of wisdom - like parts of the Bible - and I was intrigued to the point of wanting to share them with you.

  1. CONNECT WITH OTHERS. I have found that chronic illness isolates the individual from helpful connections with other people. It seems to me that this is a strategy of Satan too - who hates those who trust God with real vehemence - and it is vital to well-being that we make the effort to be interested in others. I remember that a psychiatric nurse of many years' experience said "You don't have to be lonely if you live within reach of a lively church". Isolation saps spiritual energy and builds calluses in the soul. We were meant to be set with other coals in the fire of life. It burns well when all the coals are together but when one is spilled into the hearth it soon goes out. Return it to the rest and it glows again!

  2. KEEP LEARNING. Whether your thing is bird-watching, model-making, or foreign languages, it is so vital to keep learning. Try something new. Return to an old interest. Sign up for that course. Learn a new skill in the kitchen or play a musical instrument. Get to grips with computers and digital gadgets. I studied for a degree and a PhD during prolonged periods of illness and they became my occupational therapy. We were made to learn. (I've got a hankering to learn Mandarin Chinese, now where could I find a course?)

  3. BE ACTIVE. Go for a walk if you can, or get hold of a bike. Step outside and breathe some fresh air (unless you live in a city). Gardening, dance, exercise, football, swimming, whatever turns your light on! Of course, we must not endanger our health by too much activity - or our marriage - but research shows that keeping moving aids both mental and physical well-being.

  4. TAKE NOTICE. I never cease being thrilled and moved by watching the sea. When in Cardiff I often walked alongside the River Taff. I can be touched by the sight of ducks, moved even by the beauty of a sunset (sunrises are long behind me!). Smell the flowering gorse, the salt air, and listen out for bird song. The lessons of what is called 'mindfulness' are many. Among them is the advice to live in the 'now moment'. We need to open our 5 senses to what is around us right now instead of regretting what we don't have. Gratitude should become our attitude too as we focus on the field in which God has planted us. And finally...

  5. GIVE. The Bible teaches us to be gracious and generous with what we have and to look for opportunities to give to others. "It is more rewarding to give than to receive" though receiving is also good fun! Do something for someone else each day.  Maybe a smile in the supermarket queue, or an offer to pack for a mother struggling with little children. Make a brief call on an elderly person. And I like this from the leaflet "Do something nice for a friend or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time or energy. Join a community group." Well, I feel that the ideal community group is the local church, so maybe give that a go again this Christmas.