Mental health is often talked about, but what is it really? Mental Health is a measure of how effectively we function in our daily lives. It is the ability to maintain healthy relationships, adapt to change, and cope with adversity. Someone in a healthy mental state is more flexible and able to roll with the punches when life throws its typical curveballs.
Mental Illness is a diagnosable and treatable condition involving changes to a person’s emotions, thinking or behavior. These are often crippling conditions that cause serious distress and difficulty in functioning at work, in social circles or family life. Not all mental illnesses are apparent on the outside. Many people with a mental illness continue to function daily with or without the support of therapy or medication.
We all know the effect that healthy eating, exercise and rest have on our bodies. But did you know caring for your physical body can also affect your mental health? Studies show a correlation between good habits around diet, exercise and sleep, and improved mood, thought patterns and mental well-being. Just a few good decisions in this area can start improving your mental health today.
When it comes to serious mental health conditions such as debilitating anxiety, clinical depression and others, environmental stressors can be a trigger; however, there is often a biological factor that contributes to these symptoms. These are real illnesses that affect the brain and its ability to function as God designed it to. It is a complex condition that may need treatment to improve.
One way to improve your mental health is to practice gratitude. Take a minute to jot down 10 things you are thankful for right now. What have you seen God do for you in your family? At work? How has he met your needs this week or this year? Take a moment to thank Him for each one of His big and small blessings.
If you are dealing with depression or another serious mental condition, you may feel like God has abandoned you. Perhaps you have prayed for him to take away your confusing feelings, to no avail. Dear friend, know that your heavenly father sees you and desires for you to be healed and whole. You are not alone. In fact, walking through this trial can deepen your relationship with God, as you lean on him for strength.
In the first chapters of Genesis, God made us in his image, put us in communion, and gave us a mandate to steward the earth. These first actions in the garden point to God’s plan for a healthy lifestyle. Part of good mental health is knowing that we were built to be in relationship with Him, to seek His ways, and to be about His purposes.
If someone you know is struggling with mental illness, you may notice some of the following signs. Sudden changes in eating habits, personality or sleep. Feeling sad or withdrawn for long periods of time. Overwhelming anxiety or fear. Thoughts of harming oneself or planning to do so. All these may be cries that your loved one needs help.
While there is nothing inherently addictive about the phone you carry with you daily, every app is designed to keep you engaged by loading the brain with dopamine at every like, notification, or message. This taxes the reward center in the brain, contributing to depression, addiction, anxiety, and other mental health diagnoses. A detox may be just the thing your brain needs to reset, leading to more joy in your daily life.
If you find yourself struggling with feelings of depression, overwhelming fear, panic, or entertaining thoughts of self-harm, it can feel very scary to seek help. The enemy’s goal is to keep you trapped in silence. But you are surrounded by those who love you and want to see you thrive. Find a trusted friend who will listen, pray with you, and help you seek out resources.
No doubt we live in a stressful world. We are working more hours, saying yes to more commitments, and maintaining more social connections than ever before. Stress takes its toll on the body and the mind. It may be time step back and de-stress your lifestyle. By choosing to set better boundaries and leaving room for margin in your day, you can leave stress behind and find peace.
If you are struggling with troubling symptoms that you think may point to a mental health disorder, we want to encourage you – you are not alone. Statistics show that mental health struggles are more common in recent times and are often present even when not apparent. Openness and connection may be what you need to find healing.