Debra Chew: How To Engage Your Spiritual Nature To Improve Your Health

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - by Debra Chew

If there was a way to improve your health by changing the way you think about things, would it be worth it to you?  So, what if you are clueless about how to nurture your spirit and make choices that will make you spiritually and physically healthier?  There are some simple thought-changing exercises you can do on a daily basis to nurture your spirit and body - and therefore improve your health.  

When we nurture the spirit it has a definite effect on the body.  Dr. Scott Morris, of the Church Health Center of Memphis, encourages people to “realize that the spiritual dimension of our lives affects health just as much as the physical limitations of our bodies and the ever-present fear of disease and aging.”  As we grow in spirit, that spiritual wellness can spill over into physical wellness.  Dr. Morris also agrees with the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, in the aspect of her teachings “that point to a spiritual dimension to life that must be nurtured for improved health.”

I understand that getting healthier means so many different things to so many different people.  I find that when I focus my thinking on some simple daily exercises that nurture my spirit rather than on the physical limitations I might be facing in my body, I can achieve a healthier me. Here’s just one experience that proved this to me.  

As a young woman, I suffered from stomach ulcers from time to time.  This was always medically treated and I would be better, but never completely well.  As I was growing in my spiritual life, I began to think about how I could find relief from the ulcers that had limited me for some time.  It occurred to me that healing the body often begins with changing the thinking.  I had been told ulcers are linked to stress and stressful thoughts, so I started there.  I began to pray when I felt stress.  I started avoiding the resentful thoughts I had been entertaining, and replaced the negative thinking I was doing with kind and joyful thoughts.  It’s been many years now and I no longer have ulcers.  Nurturing my spiritual nature definitely had a direct effect on my physical wellness.      

Here are some of the exercises I find most helpful: 

Prayer.  Prayer helps me grow spiritually and understand more about my relationship to the Divine.  Part of my daily prayer’s focus is concentrating on what it means to be the reflection of God and my belief that God is all good and that there is no opposite of that good.  Sickness and disease are certainly not good.  Mindfulness helps to reduce stress I might be feeling when I turn my focus away from my body to spiritual thoughts.  I express gratitude for God’s goodness and avoid thoughts of resentment when I am praying. 

Achieving balance.  Whew!  In an age when we are constantly on the go with work, family, and life in general, finding balance is almost as tough as reconciling our checkbook!  I make sure that my day includes time for everything on my To Do List but I insist on time for prayer, spiritual study, family and community. 

Being positive. I don’t mean ‘being positive’ like some old cliché …. I mean more along the lines of what Paul counseled the Philippians, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  I find if I am thinking ‘on these things,’ there is no room for thoughts that are unhealthy. 

Even after contemplating my exercises, you might still ask yourself:  Does spirituality really even have a place in how I care for my health? Well, I am not the only one who believes – and has evidence - that it does.  According to a 2007 survey taken by the National Institute of Health, 56 percent of 2,000 practicing U.S. physicians believed that religion and spirituality had health benefits. Many of them have seen it in their practice and in study results. I want those benefits!  In the course of my busy life, I want to make sure I am feeding my spirit…nurturing my spirit…and thinking good things that will make me spiritually healthy and therefore physically healthy.  You can, too.   

Debra Chew is a self-syndicated columnist and writes about the connection between thought, spirituality and health.  She has been published in the, Memphis Commercial Appeal, and in the UK.  She is a Christian Science practitioner and also the media and legislative liaison for Christian Science for TN.  You can contact her at

Morning Pointe Prepares For March 26 Cornhole Championship Game

The Morning Pointe of Chattanooga assisted living and Alzheimer's memory care communities are advancing to the first annual Cornhole Championship Game, taking place at Grace Baptist Academy, 7815 Shallowford Road, on Monday at 5 p.m.    After more than 10 weeks, the residents at all five Morning Pointe communities in Chattanooga, Collegedale and Hixson have ... (click for more)

Tennessee Legislature Approves MOC Bill

Physician members of the Tennessee Medical Association are praising a new law that will ease the mandatory requirements for doctors to maintain specialty board certification. The Tennessee General Assembly unanimously approved the measure after a two-year effort by TMA to persuade state lawmakers to take action on what has become a hot button issue for physicians across the U.S., ... (click for more)

Sheriff Hammond Says $4 Million Needed To Put SROs In All Hamilton County Schools

Sheriff Jim Hammond on Thursday night told members of the County School Board that $4 million is needed to provide School Resource Officers for all of the 79 schools. He said currently there are 31 SROs in 29 schools, leaving 50 uncovered. School Board member Rhonda Thurman said she believes the community could come together to provide the necessary funding. "It's something ... (click for more)

Judge Philyaw Denies He Did Not Reappoint Magistrate Because She Was Gay

Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw told a federal jury on Thursday that the fact Elizabeth Gentzler is openly gay had no part in his decision not to reappoint her as a magistrate. "Absolutely not. I have a lot of gay friends, family and acquaintances," he said. However, a court officer at Juvenile Court sided with Ms. Gentzler. Jimmie Cannon said, "Ninety-nine percent ... (click for more)

Avoid Underage Drinking And Other Prom Drama

My high school prom took a dramatic turn when two guys got their tuxedo jackets mixed up. One of them belonged to my date, who kindly offered to keep my wallet in his pocket. That’s the jacket another young man mistakenly grabbed off the back of a chair before heading to an underage drinking party that got shut down by police well after midnight—as kids scattered in every direction.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘In God We Trust …And Protecting Our School Children

On a day that the Tennessee Legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill that would prominently display the words “In God We Trust” in every school building in the state, the Hamilton County School Board gave my boy Bad Little Johnny cause to get a magic market and scribble underneath, “but ‘Everybody Else Is Gonna’ Need A Pistol!’” Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond, who was ... (click for more)