A cheerful heart is good medicine

Lessons learned after 25 years of living with chronic stress

Living with chronic illness for 25 years has taught me some great lessons, which are helpful to all as we deal with life’s stresses, problems, and concerns.

One is controlling and eliminating negative thoughts and self-talk.

It is vital that we have an awareness of our thoughts because they have a direct impact on our relationships, coping abilities, and health – physical, emotional, and mental.

Thinking negatively weakens and depresses us, lowers our body’s immune system, as well as increases pain and stress.

Research has shown that stress can cause certain symptoms or diseases. It has been linked to heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, and liver disease.

Negative thinking causes a negative reaction in our bodies and coping abilities. I can attest to the truth of this because of my sensitivity to stress due to my condition.

But don’t just take my word for it, look at Proverbs 17, verse 22 in the Bible:

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

That being true, what can we do to eliminate negative and hopeless thinking?

Again, I found the answer in God’s Word and created these three steps:

1. Pray and give thanks – bring your problems to God and thank Him daily.

In Philippians 4, verses 6 and 7, we are told:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer and thankfulness transformed my life. As I thanked God for what I could still do (instead of focusing on what I could no longer do), my attitude changed.  I went from despair, to thankfulness, to hope.

2. Replace negative thoughts by focusing on good things – at times you may struggle to think good thoughts.

Read Philippians 4:8 until you can think of at least one thing that applies.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

3. Make a daily decision to think good thoughts – a friend who attends my group for women with illness recently commented that she was going to stop any “negative chit-chat” that she had in her mind. She emphatically stated, “No more negative chit-chat.”

We must make a daily decision to control our thoughts and ask the Lord to help us. As we turn to Him, we will be strengthened and gain new hope and perspective.


Pat Bryan is the Pastor of His Path Christian Centre and the

Academy of Prayer.

Just Posted

Class sizes dropped from among the worst in B.C.

Maple Ridge trustees review statistics

Heavy downpours expected in parts of Metro Vancouver

Heavy rain will begin to ease off Sunday evening as the frontal system moves south out of the area

Another Friday night fire in Maple Ridge

Abandoned house in Silver Valley area burns

Police investigate string of overnight fires in North Delta

Suspected arson caused damage to vehicles, signage in the area, Delta Police say

MacDuff: Memories at the kitchen table

It was tradition to attend the Remembrance Day service with my mom,… Continue reading

Maple Ridge remembers

Remembrance Day ceremony and parade in downtown Maple Ridge.

Crash shuts down Highway 91 in Richmond for hours

The stretch of highway was closed for more than 6 hours due to a multi-vehicle accident

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

VIDEO: Tragically Hip members, Alex Trebek receive Order of Canada

Newest recipients join 6,897 Canadians such as Christine Sinclair, Graham Greene and Mark Messier

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young dies at 64

‘Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many.’

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Most Read