Has your health unexpectedly worsened? Then you know how exhausting a health problem can be—mentally, emotionally, and financially. What can help you cope? How can you assist a family member or a friend who is dealing with a health problem? Although the Bible is not a medical textbook, it contains practical principles that can help you make the best of a challenging situation.
Tips to help you deal with a health problem
Seek medical treatment
What the Bible says: “Healthy people do not need a physician, but those who are ill do.”—Matthew 9:12.
How it applies: Seek the help of medical professionals when necessary.
Try this: Get the best medical care available to you. At times, it may be wise to seek a second opinion. (Proverbs 14:15) Communicate clearly with health-care professionals—be sure that you understand them and that they have a clear picture of your symptoms. (Proverbs 15:22) Learn about your illness, including all your treatment options. When you understand what to expect, you will be better prepared to deal with your situation emotionally and to take responsibility for your care.
Maintain healthy habits
What the Bible says: “Exercise is good for your body.”—1 Timothy 4:8, Contemporary English Version.
How it applies: You benefit by maintaining healthy habits, such as regular physical exercise.
Try this: Stick to a regular exercise routine, follow a healthy diet, and get enough sleep. Although you may be adjusting to your new health problem, experts agree that investing time and energy in healthy habits is well worth the effort. Of course, make sure that whatever you choose to do takes your health condition into account and does not conflict with your medical treatment.
Seek the support of others
What the Bible says: “A true friend shows love at all times and is a brother who is born for times of distress.”—Proverbs 17:17.
How it applies: Your friends can help you get through difficult times.
Try this: Talk to a trusted friend with whom you can freely express your feelings. Doing so can help you bear the emotional and mental strain your change in health has caused. Friends and family likely want to help you in other ways, but they may not know what to do. So communicate clearly what you would find to be especially helpful. Be reasonable in what you expect, and always be thankful for the help they provide. At the same time, you may need to establish some ground rules, such as limiting the frequency and duration of visits, in order to avoid being overwhelmed by the efforts of well-intentioned friends.
Keep a positive attitude
What the Bible says: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit saps one’s strength.”—Proverbs 17:22.
How it applies: A positive and hopeful attitude can help you to stay emotionally balanced and to cope with a stressful health problem.
Try this: As you adapt to your new situation, focus on what you can do, not on things that are beyond your control. Avoid comparing yourself with others or with the way you were before your health problem surfaced. (Galatians 6:4) Set goals that are reasonable and reachable—these can help you to look toward the future with optimism. (Proverbs 24:10) Do things for others, as your circumstances allow. The happiness that comes from giving can help you to limit negative thinking.—Acts 20:35.
Will God help you deal with a health problem?
The Bible shows that Jehovah God * can help a person cope with health problems. While we cannot expect to be miraculously cured, those who worship God can receive his help in the following ways:
Peace. Jehovah can provide “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians 4:6, 7) This peace, or inner calm, can help a person avoid becoming overwhelmed by anxiety. God grants such peace to those who pray to him and express their anxious concerns.—1 Peter 5:7.
Wisdom. Jehovah can provide wisdom to make sound decisions. (James 1:5) A person acquires such wisdom when he learns and applies the timeless principles found in the Bible.
An encouraging hope for the future. Jehovah promises a future when “no resident will say: ‘I am sick.’” (Isaiah 33:24) This hope helps many to stay positive despite experiencing even the most serious health problems.—Jeremiah 29:11, 12.