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I.C. MURRELL — Health begets happiness

If you think what goes into the body can help or harm your body, you’re correct. But consider what goes into the mind …

Speaking from nearly 40 years of experience in countless environments and settings, what we see and what we hear can leave a lasting impact on how we think, because what we sense is trapped into the mind.

A good conscience gives each of us direction, but the mind is the most powerful tool we all have. Minds have generated ideas for building up strong families and communities and imagined ways to disrupt peace.

Therein lies the complexity of the world in which we live, thus the need for continued information and education on mental health. Some are lost in the complexity, and circumstance tends to be no help.

Without an advanced degree, that is where I relate the most.

Growing up, either a lot was expected out of me or I wasn’t going to amount to much. I suffered a lot of mental blocks and a lack of concentration at times. I needed a little more time than others to finish a class assignment or a little more coordination and muscle to score a few points in basketball.

My relationship with my own family often felt shaky; I wasn’t always empowered to fill out in my own personality, and I had to value individuality much more to become useful.

The feedback from a young age shaped the way I viewed life — never mind the socioeconomic woes, violence and aggravation around me. I can’t tell you how many times throwing in the towel was an option:

  • At age 15, I crossed the street in my neighborhood as usual walking to school, but I stopped for a moment waiting for a car to hit me. After 2 minutes, none came, so I walked and decided to go through the day.
  • At 24, I was still adjusting to a leadership change at work, not making a livable wage, and I lost fervor for even wanting to go on. For some strange reason, I told my boss. His response: “You have to get help. Treating depression is no different from taking aspirin for a headache.”

No headache has lasted the 32 years I warred against signs of mental illness, but I took the directive.

Even in my moments of encouragement on social media, relapses do occur. They’re my calls for others to join me in making the complexity much more simple and turn chaos into confidence.

But, what is this feeling in my mind lately that I must feel a little more emboldened?

What is this feeling all over my body that I must press forward?

Above all, it’s through faith that I win. That is not to place less importance on diet, medicine and counseling.

Adversity, even in the lowest degree, hits me every day and it continues to shape my experience. It has produced my fearlessness, strengthened my mind and sharpened my leadership. Whatever lies in my future fuels my drive for health and happiness and shapes my purpose.

The past, no matter how recent, does not have to hinder the pursuit of happiness. If you are struggling to find happiness, reach out to a licensed professional or tell someone you do trust.

Don’t worry about what you “have” to do. You have your overall health to consider.

Others are counting on you. You just never know who.

I.C. Murrell is the editor of The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at 409-721-2435 or at

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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