By Wanda Chipeur and Kay Kuzma
|Photo by Pixabay|
Dr. Karl Menninger was once asked, “If you knew a person was heading for a nervous breakdown what would you suggest?” Everyone expected that the famous psychiatrist would say, “Make an appointment with a psychiatrist as soon as possible,” but he didn’t. Instead he said, “Lock your door, go across the railroad tracks, and help someone in need!”
This answer is profound. It’s the outgrowth of God’s second greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It is the essence of what separates the sheep from the goats at the final judgment when the king says, “When I was hungry you fed me; thirsty, you gave me something to drink; a stranger, you took me in; naked, you gave me clothes; sick or in prison, you visited me.” It’s the gospel in action—the Good Samaritan helping the hurt man on the highway.
God designed the human operating system to function best when serving others. We are wired for relationships. Basically, people need people if they want to be healthy!
Research supports this. If physical habits such as eating breakfast, keeping a proper weight, not smoking or drinking, sleeping adequately, and exercising affect longevity, what about social habits? In a survey, there were four items on the questionnaire that might give an indication as to a person’s social health: if married, having close family and friends, membership in a church, or belonging to a social club. The results were startling. Those individuals who had these strong social networks lived longer than even their physical health habits would predict.
People who complain about being lonely as often people who are depressed. They may be married or single but they keep to themselves; they don’t join into social activities; they’re not outgoing. Instead, they’re self-centered.
If this description fits you—and you want to avoid the blues and live a little longer—volunteer your services to a nursing home, community service, or soup kitchen.
Isn’t it ironic! The hardest thing to do when you’re depressed is the very thing that can help you the most: Get up, get out, and get busy helping others.
What can you do today to strengthen your social network—and your health?