The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Archive for Religion/Health Studies

Ill Teens with Spirituality Cope Best

Calhan High School seniors in Colorado, USA.
Image via Wikipedia

A new research shows that spirituality may help teens cope with the condition of chronic illness.

The Christian Messenger states:

Two separate studies were done by Michael Yi, MD, the associate professor of medicine, and Sian Cotton, PhD, research assistant professor in the department of family medicine. They investigated how adolescents might use spirituality as a coping tool for their illnesses like inflammatory bowel disease.

They defined spirituality as “One’s sense of meaning or purpose in life or one’s sense of connectedness to the sacred or divine. ”

Patients with IBD experience recurrent abdominal pain, bloody stools and diarrhoea, among other serious problems, and have an increased risk for colon cancer. Some would argue that all of these symptoms can be even more difficult to deal emotionall with when you are a teenager. In fact, research has shown that teens with IBD, this condition without a cure, are at risk for numerous psychosocial difficulties, including increased mental health problems and social stigma.

In the report Yi states, “Personal characteristics like self esteem, family functioning and social characteristics, like level of peer support, were similar between adolescents with IBD when compared to healthy peers, indicating that adolescents with IBD appear resilient.”

“However, health-related quality of life was significantly poorer in general. On average, when compared to their healthy peers, patients with IBD were willing to trade more years of their life expectancy or risk a greater chance of death in order to achieve a better state of health.”

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Blooms Can Perk Us Up!

flowerFeeling blue? If you can, bring in a few flowers from outside, or pick up a $5 bunch at the grocery store – for yourself! If you are able, drop off some to a friend who is hurting. It may help their attitude about life even more than you think.

In a recent study, 81 percent of seniors who participated in the study reported a reduction in depression following the receipt of flowers. Forty percent of seniors reported broadening their social contacts beyond their normal social circle of family and close friends. And, 72 percent of the seniors who received flowers scored very high on memory tests in comparison with seniors who did not receive flowers.

“Happier people live longer, healthier lives and are more open to change,” said Haviland-Jones. “Our research shows that a small dose of nature, like flowers, can do a world of wonder for our well-being as we age.” (Researchers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)

While the study focused on people who received flowers from others, we don’t believe you should wait for others to give them to you. It’s no secret that a splash of color can perk up not only your room, but also your outlook.

But here is a point that is noteworthy: “Seniors who received flowers re-engaged with members of their communities and enlarged their social contacts to include more neighbors, religious support and even medical personnel.”

Interesting, that when the seniors receive flower from others… they even sought out more religious support and medical personnel (no details what “medical personnel” means exactly, but…) it can’t be a bad thing, right?

So next time you are thinking, “What can I bring besides flowers?” remember, flowers aren’t such a bad thing after all. Then again, you can find 505 ideas in my book Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend too. (small plug-sorry!)