March 4th, 2024

Common Sense Health: Do unto others lesson needs retelling

By Dr. Gifford-Jones and Diana Gifford-Jones on February 9, 2024.

What do you hope for each morning as your tired eyes read the news? You try to be a positive person, but day by day, things are getting worse. The world is in an awful mess.

If there is a God, how cruel a deity to let suffering continue. Is it sacrilegious to ask, what exactly will it take to have the Second Coming of Christ? How much bloody war, climate chaos, and civil disintegration is required before we learn to follow a simple and sane edict? “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

The problem is times have changed. The only Christ we can anticipate in 2024 is a “deep fake.” The dumbing-down of social media preys upon any remnants of a moral compass among our political and business elite. How can we teach our children the golden rule when public leaders never abide it?

What are we to do? This Gifford-Jones father-daughter team is running out of creative suggestions. It’s a return to common decency that’s needed. We say, let’s load up on basic human kindness. Let’s utilize this feature of our abilities to a far greater degree than whatever unfortunate leanings we may have toward indecency and unkindness. And until we welcome back the Messiah, could enough of us doing the right thing make enough of an impact to keep the planet from an early end?

This week includes Valentine’s Day. It’s a telling fact that this day to celebrate love, although recognized in many ways around the world, is nowhere a public holiday. It’s a day rich in history, but poor in meaning to us. Like most other things, the concept of love has been commercialized, and therefore cheapened.

But love is synonymous with hope. It is enduring, forever resistant to evil by those who will not relinquish it.

Shakespeare’s eloquence on love is plentiful. But he got straight to the point with this sound advice, “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” It’s not hard to do, but why do so few people live by it?

Here are a few suggestions to help get things started.

One, you will do yourself and others a world of good if you “shower the people you love with love” as James Taylor sang. Use this Valentine’s Day (and every day that follows) to let your love rain! For those who can do it, a switch to a more generous mindset can be life-altering when fighting the downward spiral of depression, for example.

Two, if you adore sharing a chocolate treat, make it high-quality dark chocolate. Cocoa contains fiber, iron, and other important minerals. The antioxidants in chocolate help protect blood vessel walls and inhibit inflammation. But moderation is the key, as chocolate is also a high-fat, high-sugar food and packs a big caloric wallop.

Three, there’s nothing wrong with random acts of kindness, and doing them has been shown to be extraordinarily good for your health. One study showed that the more people spend money on other people, the lower their blood pressure. Another study provided hypertensive people with $40 to spend. Half were asked to spend it on themselves; the other half were instructed to spend the money on someone else. If you guessed the later group had lower blood pressure at the end of the study, you are right. It was equivalent to the effects of being put on an exercise program!

Perhaps we’ve gotten angry with frustration about the world. It’s understandable. But what we all really need is for someone to tell us, “I love you.”

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