Instant Change

Something Has to Change: Episode 22

Meggan Stephens

5/15/20247 min read

low light stage microphone photography
low light stage microphone photography

Happy Journal

Journaling, as mentioned in previous episodes, has proven to be an effective practice for improving mental health, boosting memory and self-awareness, as well as enhancing critical thinking skills. Stephen quickly touches on the topic once again in regard to becoming your own life-line. He encourages the audience to keep a "happy journal," documenting food consumption, sleep, media, and social interaction habits during the times you feel at your peak happiness level. In doing so, you give yourself a reference to look back on when you're at your lowest points. Too often, we pay little attention to the practices that build us, and the practices that destroy us. Keeping a happy journal and looking back on it can make you a testament to yourself, shining light on your own patterns of thinking that affect your mental and emotional state.

Food & Mental Health

If you've ever began a weight loss journey, you'd know one of the first focuses is to log your food intake. This is because you may feel as though you're not eating much when in fact, you're either overestimating or underestimating the amount of food you're actually consuming. Not only is it easy to lose track of how much you're eating, it's also likely that you're not paying much attention to what you're eating. Even more so, the effects of what you eat and its relation to your mood and mental health are likely unnoticed as well.

Food holds immense power. The world knows this, and it's displayed in movies and television shows such as The Hunger Games or Survivor. It's astonishing what one would do when faced with starvation, or even just dieting. As far back as the Old Testament, in Genesis 25:29-34, we see Esau, in his hunger, forfeit his birthright for a bowl of stew. Just at Esau surrendered his birthright in a moment of weakness, we often surrender our physical and mental health for our comfort foods.

Food affects the structure and function of the brain, and ultimately affects the mood. What you eat has a direct relation to how you feel and the way you think. Food is fuel for the brain, yet we focus on eating more for pleasure rather than fuel. There's a common misconception that what is good for you doesn't taste good. If this is your mindset, it's probably time to retrain your pallet.

Food & Science

Over the last five years, science has shown the rate doubled in childhood mental illness. You may wonder why your child is hyperactive, moody, or depressed. This is due to poor nutrition. Much of our diets today consist of added sugars, processed foods, dyes, preservatives, and pesticides. Let's face it, we're consuming poison at rapid rates and are left feeling just that, poisoned. With this being said, we're brought back to the laws and gravity of God in the Old Testament which show the diet given to the children of Israel.

It's easy to see a diet as restricting, limiting even, but when you place your focus on food for fuel rather than food for pleasure, you begin to feel different both mentally and physically. Once again, science proves the Bible to be true with research that shows a healthy diet to be beneficial to both the brain and body. Science also has proved a change of diet to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

When beginning your healthy diet and lifestyle change, start by avoiding added sugars, refined grains, and processed foods. Begin to pay attention to how you feel before, during, and after you eat certain things. Document when certain foods affect you negatively, and when they affect you positively. This will help you to become more self-aware of your body and your emotional state of being.

Emotions & Physical Health

The body was initially designed to live forever. It was never meant to be ridden with sickness and disease. That is until Eve ate the forbidden fruit and we were cut off from the Tree of Life. Call it what you will, but sin has consequences, consequences affect emotions, and emotions affect physical health. Deuteronomy 28:58-61 speaks of the dreadful and fatal consequences associated with direct disobedience to the laws and teachings of God. If you're suffering from lingering sickness and severe disease, but call yourself a believer in the One who heals, it's important to dig deeper into your faith and understanding.

Every emotion affects an internal organ negatively or positively. For example, the emotions of anger, bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness directly affect the liver in a negative way. The liver is the detoxification organ of the body. Living with these emotions long-term can cause the liver to fail, leaving the body full of toxins and open for various sicknesses and diseases. Anger, frustration, and impatience not only affect the liver, but also the immune system. If you find yourself becoming sick often, it's likely due to a weakened immune system. This should prompt you to check your heart and mind to see what emotions are dictating your daily walk.

If you come to realize you're an angry or bitter person majority of the time, it's likely that your relationships are also fueled by these same emotions. Jesus commands us in Matthew 5:44 to love our enemies and again in Matthew 6:14-15 to forgive as we've been forgiven. Although we tend to think that our anger and bitterness is justified, the reality is that it doesn't really affect the other person at all, but instead brings death and destruction to ourselves.

Different emotions affect different internal organs. Another example is anxiety, stress, and worry. These emotions affect the stomach and digestive system. I have found this to be true in myself on multiple occasions, especially during my high school years. If ever I had a big test or presentation, I'd develop an upset stomach. I've experienced this as well with big court dates and pretty much any situation that had my nerves shot. Those who live in constant worry with high stress levels will undoubtedly have gut health issues. Jesus commands us in Matthew 6:25-34 to take worry over nothing for it can not add a single day to your life. In fact, it depletes you of life.

Regenerate Your Organs

You may come to realize that you deal with negative emotions often. As a result, you may also suffer from sicknesses associated with those emotions. There are a few steps that can be implemented to improve your emotions and overall physical health. Remember, small steps lead to great distances, and the more you practice, the better you become. You can begin to heal your organs by practicing joyfulness, hopefulness, and gratitude. Learn to loosen up, laughing in the moments when laughter is due. Slow down and take in the little things, expressing joy and gratitude through your love and affection in relationships. Breathe in the fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, and the wind in your hair, and just be grateful for the breath in your lungs.

Forming Habits

Over and over, this series has discussed habits. A habit is an automatic repeated behavior. It's when you've done something so many times that you no longer pay attention to the behavior of what you're doing. Everything you do, and even the emotions you feel on a consistent basis are based on your habits. From the time you wake up until the time you go to bed, you're completing a series of habits. If at any point you go through a day without fulfilling one of your habits, you will feel unbalanced, or out-of-wack. It's important to take notice of your daily practices, how they're benefitting and how they're destroying you. Some of our habits are completely useless altogether and serve no real purpose to our physical or mental health. Begin to examine why you do the things you do and why you feel the way you feel.

When forming a habit, there are three things that must be done. The first is to create a trigger, or a reminder to do something. For example, if I want to go to the gym Monday-Friday, I can create multiple triggers to lead me there. I can set an alarm on my phone, write a note on my mirror, or have a gym partner to hold me accountable to going. Next is the action step. When the trigger comes, all excuses must be vanquished, and action must take place. The final step is to recognize the benefit of forming the habit. With going to the gym multiple days a week, there will be noticeable benefits to both mental and physical health.

Something Has to Change

The "something" that has to change is how we expect change to happen. When wanting to stop, start, or change something, it must be done completely in the moment, not gradually over time. We live in a false reality in this way, comforting ourselves by thinking that change takes years when in reality, change can happen in an instant. Once your mind is made up, it becomes a little easier to walk in the change you've made despite every challenge that follows. We overcomplicate it, but it's quite simple. Change your habits and you will change your life.

3 Things to Remember:
  1. Food affects your mood.

  2. Emotions affect your organs.

  3. Habits can be made but can also be broken.

In this day and age, a plethora of knowledge lies at our fingertips with the internet being just one click away. Though much ground has been covered in twenty-one episodes of Something Has to Change, a mental health and wellness podcast series presented by Contemporary Speaks, there is always more to learn. After all, no one wants to be a people who perish from lack of knowledge. What you don't know is actually killing you.

In Episode 22, the host, Stephen, reveals how science proves the Bible to be true in regard to food and its relation to mental health, emotions, and physical health. By connecting these concepts through science and Scripture, Stephen is hoping to peak the interest of the listener to use the many available resources to self-educate. By taking control of your mind, health, and education, a world of possibility is opened to you to experience the change you want to see.

Want to dive deeper?

Watch the full episode