A Cheerful Outlook = Good Mental Health

“A merry heart does good, like medicine. But a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22)

A cheerful, positive outlook is a great antidote for depression, despair, and stress. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was criticized for his humor. He answered his critics, saying, “With the fearful strain that is on me, if I did not laugh, I should die!” When you are confronted with challenging circumstances, remember to keep your sense of humor, it is a great stress reducer.

Cheerfulness is not only good, but it is good for you! Solomon said it does good like a medicine (Proverbs 17:22). Much has been written about the dangers of stress as it relates to one’s physical and mental health. Dr. S.I. McMillian, in his book “None of These Diseases,” reports: “Invisible emotional tension in the mind can produce striking visible changes in the body, changes that can become serious and fatal.” He says that such conditions as vomiting, diarrhea, asthma, and arthritis and “scores of other serious diseases are triggered or aggravated by tension in the mind, i.e., stress” (1992, p. 98).

A cheerful disposition comes from a rich and positive outlook on life. Jesus announced: “I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The word “abundantly” indicates that which is above measure or “going beyond what is necessary” (Arndt & Gingrich Greek-English Lexicon, 1952, p. 657). Christians have reason to be happy above the ordinary. Jesus came that our lives might be “abundant,” rich, and full.

Firm faith in God helps one to be optimistic and cheerful. From doubt comes fear and gloom. David said, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). Fear must be replaced by faith. We must remember that God exercises His providential control over the affairs of men so that we are able to cope with life’s difficulties (1 Corinthians 10:13).

As God’s children, we can be of good cheer. He made this point to His disciples when He said: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Christians are often faced with turmoil in the world. However, since Jesus has overcome the world, so also do his followers. In Christ Jesus, the Christian has the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

Copyright 2020 Christian Family News: Dan Flournoy