“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”
There are countless scientific studies designed to find out how diet, environment and our habits influence our health. These studies urged us to eat this, not eat that and generally give up bad habits.
Now a study of almost 3,000 people between ages 53 and 85 shows that depressed people in this age group are far more likely to die from heart disease than those who show no sign of depression. The study not only measured severe depression, which often requires its own medical care, but also people who reported feeling helpless, hopeless or apathetic. Study participants were also checked for any signs of coronary heart disease at the start of the study. Then they were tracked for four years. Those with even mild signs of depression died of coronary disease at a much higher rate than those who reported no signs of depression. This was even true for those who had no coronary disease at the beginning of the study. They also noted that the subject’s weight, blood pressure, smoking and alcohol use had no bearing on the results.
Scripture reminds us to rejoice in the Lord and His salvation, but only a minority ever do. While severe depression may need medical care, that minority can attest to rarely feeling depressed when they remember what God has given us in His Son, Jesus Christ. p.a.b.
Father, fill me with the joy of the salvation I have through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Science News, 3. 31: 2001, p. 205, “Depression linked to heart deaths.” Lithograph: A man diagnosed with melancholia and at a risk of suicide, 1837. (CC BY 4.0)