Virginia Harris, C.S.B. – A Model for Self-Care in Healthcare – Daily Bread – 05/01/2013

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A stronger desire for knowing more about one’s spiritual identity and relationship to the Divine and all its goodness is a powerful prayer that relieves stressful thinking. Persistent prayer that affirms one’s inseparable relationship with the Supreme creates an atmosphere of spiritual dominion that can overcome a feeling of uncontrollable satisfaction or addiction to smoking, drinking, or overeating.

 

 

Virginia Harris, C.S.B. – A Model for Self-Care in Healthcare

A Model for Self-Care in Healthcare

Posted: 28 Apr 2013 07:48 PM PDT

 

There has been much discussion in the news recently about the distressing state of the US healthcare system: too much money being spent, too little healthy progress being made. One apparent area receiving focus is the need to have patients take more responsibility for their health in preventing disease. In fact, say healthcare professionals, 75% of healthcare costs stem from preventable lifestyle choices that require too much costly medical intervention. Costs are a tricky business for those in healthcare to navigate as there is a need to maintain transparency wherever money is concerned – this company could help those in the industry stay on top of their compliance.

To decrease costs, goes the reasoning, more attention needs to be given to individual self-care that prevents the development of disease in the first place. In other words, decrease disease intervention with disease prevention. Makes total sense.

Primary care doctors are typically the medical resource for personalized preventive information and support needed to change lifestyle behavior, but doctors are already over-stretched by attending to sick patients. The situation appears to be a ‘catch-22.’

As a spiritual healthcare practitioner of Christian Science, I have thought and prayed a lot about this healthcare conundrum facing our citizens for quite some time. Recently, the documentary Escape Fire underscored the dire situation. I ask myself, how can the study and practice of Christian Science provide a healthy, effective contribution in the area of self-care for preventing diseases stemming from lifestyle behavior?

What I have observed with my patients and students over many years is that this method of spiritually-based self care puts the individual in full responsibility for care of their body; this method is preventive as well as curative; and it results in less medical and pharmaceutical engagement.

Why does this spiritual approach have such a tangible, positive, physical effect? It is generally accepted that the choices we make and the behaviors we have begin with thought: whatever motivates or influences us comes from what is controlling our thinking. What can one do, then, to get control of thought in the first place?

Today self-care largely means changing personal habits: better diet, more exercise, caring more holistically for the body. All of that is important to do. But the component that I feel is even more important, or that should serve as the foundation of thought from which the other changes come, is that of prayer and meditation. This is how one gains positive control of thought. Studies show the benefits of such practices. Escape Fire, for example, had a whole concluding section on the healing effects of meditation and self-care.

We live in a fast paced, demanding world. I recently read that in the 1800’s thinkers of the day thought nothing of taking several hours a day in prayer. Can you imagine that today? I have patients who find it difficult to commit to 5 minutes a day! And yet, nothing can be more important than centering one’s thought – aligning it with the Supreme – as the foundation for actions. To me, this is why the self-care aspect of our healthcare is vital. Finding the space in our lives to pray and meditate affects everything else: our relationships, our physical and mental well being, the choices we make, our parenting, our finances and our contributions to humanity.

A stronger desire for knowing more about one’s spiritual identity and relationship to the Divine and all its goodness is a powerful prayer that relieves stressful thinking. Persistent prayer that affirms one’s inseparable relationship with the Supreme creates an atmosphere of spiritual dominion that can overcome a feeling of uncontrollable satisfaction or addiction to smoking, drinking, or overeating.

True satisfaction comes from a yearning for closeness to the ever-present and sustaining infinite and its abundant goodness, and it makes one want to be and do better…to be consistent with the image and likeness of the divine creation. And everything in the divine creation supports this yearning, by providing the means and the power to fulfill the heart’s right desire.

In Science and Health, the complete description and authority on Christian Science, the author Mary Baker Eddy writes much about how to prevent the development of disease, as well as how to cure it. She says, “Let the slave of wrong desire learn the lessons of Christian Science, and he will get the better of that desire, and ascend a degree in the scale of health, happiness, and existence.”

I believe Christian Science offers an effective self-care model for any individual who truly desires to take responsibility for their health.