There are so many different ideas floating around about the spirit-mind-body connection, which may feel a little daunting. I myself have been pouring over scriptures and research trying to understand just how the spirit and the emotions impact the physical body, and how to teach people to take advantage of such powerful truths.
On accident, as seems to be God’s way, I stumbled across this section of Proverbs 4:20-27. Verses 20 through 22 say (emphasis added):
“My son, be attentive to my words; incline my ear toward my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.”
That caught my attention. Could this really be the secret that everyone has been studying and teaching and looking for? I believe yes! The following verses highlight some very powerful truths that have been repeated time and again, through various ways, and even in secular science experiments. Yet, as it is with such truth, it is put in such simple terms. Let me elaborate on them a little:
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
This is referring to our emotional and mental wellbeing.
Your heart is so valuable, so powerful, and so intertwined in everything you do. It overflows into your thoughts, speech, and actions. It was designed for love, faith, peace, and patience.
Your heart is one of the biggest connections between your spirit, soul, and body. Not only is your heart a physical organ, is it also the seat of your emotion. This is a connection between the mind and the body. In addition, your heart is where you can give over control and let Holy Spirit influence you. It is your ticket to freedom, your avenue to Jesus, and I believe the most powerful indicator of where you are spiritually. This makes your heart one of the only things that is physical, mental, and spiritual. It’s no wonder your heart is the source for all life!
To keep, or guard, your heart does not mean to be guarded or standoffish. It means to nurture what God places there, to check what’s going on there when something else is out of whack, and most importantly to not let your emotions overrule your knowledge of truth.
It is so easy to let worry and anxiety into our heart, but we must stand against it! 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God does not give us a spirit of fear—anything God brings is good, so fear is NOT good, and not from God!
Research shows that when we operate in anxiety, fear, or anger, our body responds by winding up DNA, actually cutting off some of our genes so that we cannot access them. Your gut responds to stress by actually not digesting all the nutrients from your food. Your body releases stress hormones that cause you to gain weight, catabolize muscle, and lose sleep. All these terrible things come from allowing emotion to run rampant in our hearts. This fear can branch from a just a feeling into terrible thoughts and dreams, and eventually, if we let it, can form habits in our mind that make it easier and easier to respond in fear. This can even alter your belief systems to say that God isn’t good, or isn’t big enough, or can’t help you.
You have authority over your emotions to overrule what feelings come and go, and to stand on the truth that fear, hate, and anger have no place in your life. Replace those feelings with hope, joy, and love: it’s a battle, but you choose what you feel!
“Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.”
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can steal my life.
That’s what the rhyme should say! Words do not just brush off and not impact us. What you say has power!
When you speak something out loud your brain actually listens to what you are saying and tries to replicate that in the body. Positive speech really does make a difference!
You don’t have to become your own cheerleader, but intentionally speaking love over yourself and others has a huge impact on the atmosphere around you.
When God created the world, he spoke it into existence (Genesis 1-2). Genesis 1:27 says that God created us in his own image. As his children, we have the same power in our voice as God displayed when creating heaven and earth.
Jesus showed us again in Mark 11:23 the power of speaking and believing: “…if anyone says to this mountain ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes what he says will happen, it will be done for them.” It wasn’t just faith, it was speaking out loud to the problem and telling it to move.
Our speech can make or break not only our own lives but the lives of others. Why do you think there are so many children who have been bullied into suicide? Because kids didn’t know how powerful their words were, and they spoke death over someone until it came to pass.
Even when you don’t believe what you’re saying, faith comes through hearing (Romans 10:17). Speak life over yourself. Thank God out loud for your life. Speak out loud what you’re believing for, and especially speak out what God says about you!
These things will impact your spirit, emotions, and physical body.
“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”
This section is both spiritual and mental.
Focus straight forward. Don’t look back at the past, it doesn’t exist anymore. Don’t look at the people around you: comparison steals your joy. Just look ahead, envisioning the future. Keep your eyes fixed on what Jesus has completed for you and ignore the shame that tries to creep in when you don’t live a perfect life.
Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on things above [the things of heaven], not on earthly things.” We can choose to focus on things going on around us, or we can focus on Christ and what he says. I find my spirit can get very heavy when I start to focus on the negativity in the news, and all the wrong things going on the world. I often catch myself being saddened by all the evil in the world. But when I ignore that and focus on Jesus, on all the good he brings and the fact that he is working, my whole outlook changes. I very rapidly leave depression and find joy in very small things in life.
Mentally, focus and looking forward is often used in athletics as a mental coaching exercise. When you let your mind wander intentionally to the dreams and visions you have for yourself, imagining your future success, you are impacting your brain’s habit pathways to set you up for achieving these things.
Studies find that athletes who spend a few minutes meditating and envisioning their game play with proper form and great success actually play much better. I have experienced this myself! Before Volleyball games in High School, I would spend about 10 minutes envisioning how I would pass, how I would hit, and how I would serve. I found that I had a greater accuracy, better form, and was even more motivated to do well.
When I spend time envisioning my dreams and goals before bed at night, the next morning I find a renewed energy and perseverance to avoid unhealthy and unloving actions, and even have more joy and energy in the things I’m doing.
Focus and intention can very rapidly change your life. A good friend of mine always says: “What you focus on you bless, and what you bless increases.”
Let’s bless goodness and love and increase joy!
In this one small passage, we have learned that the three basic keys to health are:
1) Keeping control over your emotions.
2) Speaking life
3) Focusing on life and goodness, on Jesus, and on our bright and brilliant future.
How amazing God is for giving us a life-manual that teaches us everything we need to know!
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)!
Thank you, God!
Use what you have—your mind and your authority—to build the life that you want. It's not just about your fitness level or body fat percentage, but what is inside you that is a measure of your health.
Need help with mental or spiritual coaching? Please contact me! I write personalized programming focused on your needs and goals. I would love to work with you!