"Your Brain, Your Body" seminars show the condition of the mind affects the health of the physical system

Women's Ministries presents a women's health track of lectures at the Third Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle held in Loma Linda, California.

[California] The Women’s Ministries Department of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church participated in the Third Global Conference of Health and Lifestyle at Loma Linda University in California, July 9 to 13, 2019, by hosting the women’s health track, “Your Brain, Your Body.” The health conference, hosted by the Health Ministries Department of the Adventist Church, focused on the relationship of the mind, body, and spirit.

Ted N.C. Wilson (shown above), president of the worldwide Adventist Church, spoke for the Sabbath morning worship service. His wife, Nancy Wilson (far right), a health professional, attended the women's health track and posed for a photo with Vicky Griffin (center), director of Health Ministries of the Michigan Conference and one of the presenters, and Raquel Arrais (far left), host and associate director of Women's Ministries of the Adventist Church.

The abstract published in the program for the women’s health track states, “Mental health problems, particularly depression, are major causes of disability for women of all ages. While causes of mental ill-health may vary from one individual to another, women’s low status in society, their burden of work, and the violence they experience are all contributing factors…. Studies show that our Seventh-day Adventist women are not immune to these problems.”

The women's health track abstract continued, “While women are less likely than men to suffer from alcohol and drug use disorders, they are more susceptible to depression and anxiety. An estimated 73 million adult women worldwide suffer a major depressive episode each year. Mental disorders following childbirth, including postpartum depression, are estimated to affect about thirteen percent of women within one year of delivery.”

Ellen White reminds us, “The condition of the mind affects the health of the physical system. If the mind is free and happy, from a consciousness of right doing and a sense of satisfaction in bringing happiness to others, it creates a cheerfulness that will react upon the whole system, causing a freer circulation of the blood and a toning up of the entire body. The blessing of God is a healing power, and those who are abundant in benefitting others will realize that wondrous blessing in both heart and life” (Counsel for the Church, p. 216).

The women’s health track met two afternoons during the conference, July 10 and 11, and each day experts made presentations, first on behavioral addictions and co-dependency, then on depression and the connection of stress, diet, and lifestyle to the mind and body.

Dr. Katia Reinert, associate director of Health Ministries of the Adventist Church and one of the presenters (shown left), skillfully mediated the discussion by the “Your Brain, Your Body” panel, comprised of Dr. Julian Melgosa, Vicky Griffin, Dr. Helgi Jonsson, Raquel Arrais, and Erica Jones.

Dr. Peter Landless, director of Health Ministries of the Adventist Church and organizer of the conference, believes that the wholistic message of the Adventist Church should be discussed more because it shows how each aspect of our existence influences the other. These aspects of integration are also current global lifestyle issues and the Church is poised to be at the forefront.

Women's Ministries wishes to thank Loma Linda University for their excellent hospitality, food, and organization. They also wish to thank their sister General Conference Department of Health Ministries for understanding the great need for more awareness for women's health and for inviting them to be part of the Global Conference on Health.

This is the third time Women’s Ministries hosted a women’s health track at the Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle.

The First Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle of 2009 was held in Geneva. The overwhelming response to the seminars in the women's health track about depression in women, presented by Dr. Katia Reinert and Vicky Griffin (shown right), gave cause for Women’s Ministries to develop the women’s mental health resource training manual, "Thinking Well, Living Well."

The Second Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle of 2014, also held in Geneva, launched "Thinking Well, Living Well” during the women’s health track. Presentations made at the conference were based on selected seminar modules from the training manual and, for the most part, were delivered by the authors of the modules.

Reinert, Griffin, and Melgosa are contributors to “Thinking Well, Living Well,” and often share their expertise in Women's Ministries resources and events. Women's Ministries is grateful for the professional impact they make on the world and for their continued support through women's health research.
Download Thinking Well, Living Well

Read more at Adventist News Network: ANN, July 9, 2019
Photos by Raquel Arrais
Published in the Mosaic newsletter, 2019 Q3, Summer issue

Women’s Health Track List of Seminars

Your Brain, Your Body
The Connection Between Mental and Physical Health and Its Impact on Women’s Lives

“Behavioral Addiction in Women,” presented by Dr. Julian Melgosa, associate director of Education for the Adventist World Church (shown right)

“Codependence and Healthy Boundaries,” by Dr. Katia Reinert, associate director of Health Ministries for the Adventist World Church

“Mind and Body Connection: Stress, Diet, and Lifestyle,” by Vicky Griffin, director of Health Ministries for the Michigan Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

“Depression, Anxiety, and Common Thinking Distortions Among Women,” by Dr. Julian Melgosa, associate director of Education for the Adventist World Church

Additional Panel Experts

Helgi Jonsson, director of Health Ministries for the Trans-European Division

Erica Jones, associate director of Women's Ministries of the Adventist Church in North America

Raquel Arrais, associate director of Women's Ministries of the Adventist World Church

Why Do We Get Depressed?

Exploring the causes and paths to restoration

Torben Bergland and Helgi Jónsson

Source: https://www.adventistreview.org/1701-32

Significant paragraphs from the article in the Adventist Review are excerpted below:

We may experience depression when the discrepancy between what should be and what is becomes great, when what we were created for and truly need is not matched by what we have and get. When our souls and bodies are malnourished or injured physically, mentally, socially, or spiritually, painful feelings and the experience of emptiness may ensue.

Depression is a range of disorders characterized by a depressed mood and a lack of interest and energy. Depression slows thinking, impoverishes feelings, and disturbs bodily functions such as sleep and appetite.

Women appear to experience depression more often than men. And depression is more prevalent in high-income countries than in low-income ones. Money does not protect from pain, emptiness, and despair. As many as one person in five will suffer clinical depression during their lifetime, and many more will experience symptoms of depression. If someone has dealt with depression once, there is an increased risk of having to do so again. Therefore, it’s important to assess what makes one vulnerable to depression, and counter that if possible.

In depression the brain gets stuck in vicious cycles of negative thoughts and emotions, each feeding the other and leaving little or no room for the positives. Negative thoughts and emotions take over the inner life and cram out optimism, energy, interests, pleasures, and hope. What provides meaning and enjoyment in life fades. In the depressed state the brain is sensitized to pick up on whatever is negative. A sad face, an unfortunate comment, the rain, bad news—whatever resonates with the depressed mood is noticed and amplified.

Meanwhile, a smile or small kindness, a wonderful dinner, beautiful flowers, an upcoming holiday or family reunion now lack luster. This negative bias makes it difficult for the depressed person to sense, feel,and think about what is or could be positive. The sense of life—all that gave life color, taste, meaning, and content—may feel like a thing of the past, never to be enjoyed again.

As Aaron and Hur held up the hands of Moses during the long hours of battle (see Ex. 17:12), the depressed may need others to hold up hope in their hour of battle.... Fortunately, with the right help and support, [depression is often overcome].

In the cosmic battle between good and evil, even though we may not understand why, God often refrains from intervening in the present. However much He wants to, He cannot spare us from the consequences of living in a broken world. Whatever our burdens in life, we should still seek comfort and strength from God and fellow humans, and bear one another’s burdens (see Gal. 6:2).

To Train Every Power of Mind and Body

“God has given every human being a brain. He desires that it shall be used to His glory…. We have none too much brain power or reasoning faculties. We are to educate and train every power of mind and body—the human mechanism that Christ has bought—in order that we may put it to the best possible use. We are to do all we can to strengthen these powers, for God is pleased to have us become more and still more efficient colaborers with Him” (Ellen G. White, in sermon at St. Helena Sanitarium, January 23, 1904, published in Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 100).