A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)
Modern life is stressful. The average American’s week is filled with traffic jams, insensitive people, and bad news. Since we can’t be everywhere to experience bad news, we are bombarded with the televised version 24/7. Everything from family problems to money problems chip away our joy. Joy is vital. Scientists support what the Bible affirms: negative emotions negatively affect our health. A broken spirit, a guilty conscience, condemnation, and fear must be eliminated—they dry our bones. Prolonged anger, unforgiveness, rage, and depression cause issues such as:
- Heart and vascular problems (hypertension, dizziness, arrhythmias)
- Skin conditions (acne, hives, psoriasis etc.)
- Headaches (both migraine and tension)
- Gastrointestinal problems (reflux, ulcers, heartburn, constipation, etc.)
- Immune system impairment (fatigue, recurring infections etc.)
I’d say this short list represents dried bones. We must learn to manage our emotions. The mind has the greatest influence over the body. And a sad disposition is more likely to yield to temptation than a cheerful one. On the other hand, managing stressful emotions by choosing joy, happiness, and a merry heart is like medicine to the body. We can control our emotions. We have the power to choose our emotional state.
The mind has the greatest influence over the body….We have the power to choose our emotional state.
My insurance agent, Paul, and I worked together for several years. When I first met him, I was struck by how happy he was. I simply thought he was having a good day. After a few years, I noticed his good days were still happening because this guy was always up so I asked him about it. I will never forget what he told me. He said,
Kyle, I choose to be happy everyday. Many years ago my brother had a minor car accident–just a little fender bender. But he became so angry he jumped out of his car and started screaming at the person who hit him. He was so full of rage he had a heart attack and died on the spot. It was then I decided, I will never allow anyone to make me angry.
As far as I can tell, he didn’t.
We need to learn to choose joy.
Like Paul, we need to learn to choose joy. Joy is ever present and can be tapped into at will. Happiness is not something that acts on you. It is something you choose to activate. It starts in your mind. So if you want to bring your emotions under subjection, try these:
- Eliminate the joy killers from your life (you know what they are)
- Expect the best possible outcome in every situation (why not?)
- Feeling down? Make a list of all things you’re grateful for and thank God.
- Be quick to forgive (life’s too short to waste precious energy on grudges)
- Make a point to encourage and serve others
Your emotions are like your television. If you don’t like what’s on, change the channel.
Your emotions are like your television. If you don’t like what’s on, change the channel. We have the power to switch off negative emotions and replace them with positive ones. Unlike cable TV service, changing emotions is free. Your will is your remote control—use it.