The Dark Side Of Self Defeating Jealousy

 The Dark Side Of Self Defeating Jealousy

A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.
— Proverbs 14:30

It could be your neighbor’s new car or maybe it was your fifth-grade teacher praising your best friend, but not you. There are so many scenarios that can catch us off-guard and bring out one of the ugliest traits that we are all susceptible to — the experience of jealousy. Whoever came up with the expression “eat your heart out” in reference to producing jealousy in another person was speaking a truth. In Proverbs we learn “envy rots the bones.” Jealousy destroys us from the inside out.

But there is a flipside to self-defeating jealousy. The very same verse begins, “A heart at peace gives life to the body.” Literally translated from the original Greek, “a heart at peace” is called “a healing heart.” The sages explain that a healing heart is a soft heart, one that accepts and forgives and is kind and generous.

A healing heart is the exact opposite of a jealous heart. A jealous heart wants what others have. A healing heart is happy for others when they succeed. A jealous heart is never satisfied. A healing heart is always content. A jealous heart is focused on its own personal gain. A healing heart looks out for the well-being of others.

Yet, for all jealous people do to better their own lives, they only bring ruin upon themselves. In contrast, kind, content, and generous people will bring peace and healing to themselves and to others. People with such a positive and peaceful attitude allow the body to function properly while spreading peace and health to those with whom they interact.

Of course we’d all prefer to have a healing heart over a jealous one. But how can we avoid jealousy?

The following story can help us. Once there were two eagles who would fly together. One eagle was able to fly higher and faster than the other, making the less adept eagle very jealous. One day, the jealous eagle spotted a hunter and asked him to shoot the other eagle. The hunter said that he could, but needed a feather for his arrow. The jealous eagle was happy to oblige, plucking one of his own feathers.  The hunter missed and needed another feather, and then another and another. The jealous eagle supplied so many feathers that soon he didn’t have enough feathers to fly. The huntsman turned around and shot the eagle who could no longer fly or escape.

This story shows us how to avoid jealousy — by knowing deeply that it harms us most of all. When we feel jealousy beginning to grow and fester inside us, we must allow our hearts to be healing hearts, bringing life and joy to ourselves and those around us.



Peace Or Possessions

Peace Or Possessions

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.
— Proverbs 17:1

I have a friend who made a living out of building custom luxury homes and then selling them. In between the time that the houses were built and sold, my friend and his family would live in them. This was a practical decision that saved the family much-needed money. I once asked his wife if she enjoyed this by-product of her husband’s business. She said, “You know what? I have lived in simple homes and in luxury homes and this is what I’ve learned: When you close your eyes at night to go to sleep, they are all exactly the same!”

It dawned on me that we don’t really live in our homes; we reside in our bodies. Our house can be simple and humble or elegant and luxurious, but at the end of the day, none of that dictates how we feel. How we think, what we believe, and whether or not we have peace is what determines how we feel when we close our eyes at night. Our bodies are with us all day and all night; they are our true abode. The things we place in our heads and hearts are far more important than the things we have in our homes.

This is what King Solomon meant in Proverbs when he wrote: “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” It’s better to possess little but live with peace and quiet than to attain all that there is to have but live in a state of turmoil. The sages taught that this rings true in regards to our actual homes – they need not be lavish, but they do need to be peaceful. It is also true for our bodies – we don’t need a lot, but we need peace of mind to be happy.

Our generation is in need of this wisdom more than any other. Ironically, because we have the ability to have more, we stand the risk of being less happy than previous generations. In fact, studies have shown that our generation is more melancholy than ones before us who have lived with less. Moreover, studies have indicated that people in countries with the highest standard of living did not correlate with the happiest people, but sometimes countries with far less at their disposable contained some of the happiest people in the world.

Let’s remember that peace of mind is more satisfying than anything that we put in our stomach. Good relationships with our loved ones is far greater than anything that money can buy. Everyone wants to find happiness, but only some will look in the right places.


Cancer Signs!?

Are You Ignoring These Cancer Signs?

That nagging cough you just can’t shake; that small sore that just won’t heal; that new mole that looks a bit strange—these issues may seem too trivial to bother your doctor about.

Indeed, more than half of adults shrug off these issues as minor inconveniences and don’t make an appointment with their physician to get them checked out, according to a recent survey of 1,700 U.K. adults, published in the journal “PLOS ONE.”

But disregarding these seemingly small symptoms could potentially lead to big health consequences—they’re all possible indicators of cancer.

The survey was funded by Cancer Research UK, a charity that provides money for cancer science and research, and was conducted by a team of researchers from the University College London, led by senior research fellow, Dr. Katriina Whitaker. The respondents, all of whom were 50 years old or older, were given a list of 17 symptoms and asked to indicate which ones they’d experienced in the last three months, and whether the onset of the symptoms led them to seek medical attention.

Ten of the 17 symptoms were well-known signs of cancer:

  1. Change in the appearance of a mole
  2. Persistent change in bowel habits
  3. Persistent change in bladder habits
  4. Unexplained cough or hoarseness
  5. A sore that does not heal
  6. Persistent difficulty swallowing
  7. Unexplained weight loss
  8. Persistent, unexplained pain
  9. Unexplained lump
  10. Unexplained bleeding

Most people didn’t connect these symptoms with cancer. Instead, they chalked their concerns up to other medical conditions—arthritis, cysts, infection and old age. “Even when people thought warning symptoms might be serious, cancer didn’t tend to spring to mind,” Whitaker points out in a press release. “This might be because people were frightened and reluctant to mention cancer, thought cancer wouldn’t happen to them, or believed other causes were more likely.”

To prevent respondents from figuring out that the survey subject was related to cancer, the other seven symptoms on the list were not typical cancer indicators:

  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Dizziness
  3. Headache
  4. Sore throat
  5. Feeling your heart pound or race
  6. Feeling tired or having low energy
  7. Chest pain

These non-cancer symptoms, though far from harmless, were perceived by many respondents as being less threatening than the ten potential signs of cancer. However, of 53 the percent who reported experiencing a cancer “alarm” symptom, only two percent actually sought medical attention for it.

Whitaker does caution patients against being too alarmist, “Most people with potential warning symptoms don’t have cancer,” she says. But she also points out that there are benefits to having any concerning health problems checked out sooner, rather than later—even if cancer isn’t the cause.

This is especially important if you or your aging family member have pre-existing health issues such as diabetes, heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Notifying a doctor of any significant or prolonged change in health status is critical to receiving the optimal level of care possible.

“Making that doctor’s appointment is important,” Sara Hiom, the director of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, “it’s not a waste of time for the GP [general practitioner] or the patient—it could really save your life.”

Don’t think “it” can’t happen to me…….because it can…and does!

(for Texas Medical Center (Hospice)….Houston, Tx.)      (D.J.Saker)

5 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

5 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is a pretty common condition. Sadly, very few people realize that their health is at risk, so they choose to ignore the side effects. Even though milk products have substantial quantities of vitamin D, that’s still not enough to maintain bone strength and stay healthy.

In fact, the main source of this vitamin is not food, but the sun. Only natural sunlight provides enough vitamin D for your body to look and feel good. Unfortunately, older adults don’t get out much, and because they spend a lot of time indoors, it’s easy for them to become vitamin D deficient.

Here are five clear signs of vitamin D deficiency to watch out for:

  1. Weak muscles: In aging adults, vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to weak muscles. Older people are susceptible to developing a vitamin D deficit due to several factors such as diminished exposure to direct sunlight, insufficient dietary intake, less-than-optimal intestinal absorption, and reduced skin thickness. Weakening of the muscles because of vitamin D deficiency can manifest in different ways. In general, older adults feel a heaviness in their legs and difficulty with standing up and climbing stairs. The good news is that supplementation can help older adults compensate for these insufficiencies, and thus get back on their feet.
  2. Mood changes: Vitamin D is not your average vitamin. In fact, it is a hormone. After vitamin D has been absorbed by the skin, it relocates to the kidneys and liver, where it is then transformed into an active hormone. This hormone helps assimilate calcium, and keeps the bones, muscles and teeth in excellent condition. Studies have shown that vitamin D is also responsible for activating genes that control the release of neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine); thereby affecting the functions of the brain. Seniors who feel depressed and tired all the time may actually suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. 
  3. Weight gain: Research claims that, together with a hormone called leptin, vitamin D helps regulate body weight. Leptin is manufactured inside the body’s fat cells and works by delivering signals to the human brain, basically letting a person know that they’re full and they can stop eating. Vitamin D controls leptin levels inside the body, making sure that the right signals are sent to the brain. When someone is deficient in vitamin D, these signals get disrupted and the body doesn’t know when to stop eating. This can make people overeat and gain weight.
  4. Fatigue: Many older adults who feel tired don’t realize that they might have a vitamin D deficiency, so they choose to ignore their symptoms. Someone who has stiff joints and is constantly feeling fatigued might want to boost their intake of vitamin D (especially if they don’t go outside much or don’t eat many milk products). Apart from fatigue, vitamin D deficiency may also trigger pain in the legs and difficulty moving around the house.
  5. Stomach problems: Vitamin D deficiency may lead to inflammatory bowel disease, which is a chronic illness that causes swelling and irritation in the digestive tract. This condition is split into two main types: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Older adults are more predisposed to developing inflammatory bowel disease because they’re susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. Gut problems are unpleasant and they can also tamper with the fat absorption process. Since vitamin D falls into the category of fat-soluble vitamins, insufficiencies may trigger severe gastrointestinal problems.

Vitamin D is an extremely important nutrient that the body needs to function properly, and insufficiencies may trigger severe health problems. Older adults who don’t go outside much should make a lifestyle change if they want to preserve their health, maintain strong bones and have a healthy digestive tract.

Expose yourself to more natural sunlight, especially in the morning. Take relaxing walks to the park and enjoy the beautiful weather. This will boost your mood and keep your bones strong and healthy. Vitamin D supplements may be advised if your deficiency is extremely severe, but it’s a decision you’ll have to consult with your physician before staring a treatment.