Healthy Habits: doing it from the heart!


By Lindell Joseph
In a recent needs assessment at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City, many reported wanting to live a healthy life through healthy aging, eating healthy, exercising and having strong spiritual health.


This is reaffirming because this is the Christian life. The key to this is commitment. Webster defines commitment as the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause or activity. A biblical definition can be found in Colossians 3:23, which states, “whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others”.

Our current environment does make this difficult. I remember starting 2023 with the need to do all of the above but I continue to struggle. I still have not used all my resources of friends and family to fulfill my goals of being healthy in body, mind and spirit. There are many approaches we can leverage to do it from the heart. I think the “act of reflecting” on Scripture called Lectio Divina, is helpful and different versions can be employed.

What are the three acts for reflecting on body, mind and spirit?
1. What do I hear from this passage?


2. What does it mean in my life?

3. What must I do differently?

Here is an example of me reflecting on Scripture for behavior change for healthy habits.

Body: 1 Corinthians 6:19 states, “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”

What do I hear? I am not being consistent.

What does it mean for my life? Based on my physician’s recommendations, I am supposed to exercise three to five times a week, but this is not happening.

What will I do differently? I am going to put reminders in my environment such as a stretch band on the doorknob of my room.

Mind: Romans 12:1 states, “do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”

What do I hear? I am supposed to be more disciplined.

What does it mean for my life? I need to do less on social media.

What will I do differently? Reduce my screen time on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Spirit: 1 Colossians 5:15-16 states, “rejoice always and pray without ceasing.”

What do I hear? I need to continuously thank God

What does it mean for my life? Being idle can be a distraction to my relationship with God.

What will I do differently? When idle, I need to reflect on the goodness of our loving God and the joy of our natural environment.

I hope this example can guide you with your personal reflections on healthy habits.

(Lindell Joseph, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a nurse, professor, and director of the MSN/CNL program at the University of Iowa College of Nursing. She is a parishioner of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City. She is a lay Carmelite who co-chairs the Healthy Habits Ministry at her parish.)

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