Can bouts of depression and anxiety cause physical illness?

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: Can bouts of depression and anxiety cause physical illness? -- H.W.

A: Science has confirmed what the Bible taught centuries ago. There is a close relationship between our minds and bodies. Proverbs puts it this way: "A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones" (17:22).

But there is also a close relationship between our mental and physical health and the health of our spiritual lives. Guilt, fear, jealousy, bitterness, futility, escapism -- these and a host of other problems are spiritual ills, brought about by the disease of sin. Like poison, they can sicken us in mind and body. There are many things that cause depression but anxiety is certainly one culprit and the more you feed anxious thoughts the more they grow.

But when Christ comes into our lives, He removes our guilt and takes away our fears. He gives us love for others and a new purpose in life. His joy and peace neutralize sin's poison -- and that promotes emotional and physical health.

Does that mean our emotional and physical problems will vanish? Not necessarily. But like a spring of pure water, God's peace in our hearts brings cleansing and refreshment to our whole being.


The Bible is filled with passages that bring comfort and joy. Read them and dwell on them. If you want comfort in sorrow, light in darkness, peace in turmoil, and rest in weariness, the Lord offers it all through His word. "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts" (Colossians 3:15).

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved" (1 Thessalonians 5:23).


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)



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