How we deal with our mental health and the mental health of others defines how we live and our relationships. Ignoring mental health is a common mistake. We don’t afford it the same level of importance as we do our physical health. But in truth, our mental health directly impacts our physical health and our ability to function properly.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church because we are members of his body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
So how do we get a handle on it? How do we ensure we’re treating ourselves and others with love, respect, and care? Here are some tips based on Dr. Josh Kruse’s Mental Health Reels that’ll help you better understand and work with mental health.
Why do we do what we do?
Ever wonder why we behave in certain ways? Especially the things you don’t want to do, yet you find yourself doing them anyway? Beneath our actions are clues to what is going on inside. Take a step back and evaluate your actions.
Your Thinking: We start externally, and then we turn internal. What is your thought life like? Your thoughts about yourself, others, the world, and God cause you to act in specific ways. Ask yourself, what thought is that negative behaviour connected to?
Your Emotions: Our thoughts are connected to our emotions. Evaluate your feelings and ask yourself what emotions coincide with those thoughts? Are you feeling hurt, sad, joyful, fearful, embarrassed? Name it to better understand it and work with it.
Your Needs and Values: Below these emotions are our needs and values, and when these needs and values are met or unmet, we feel certain emotions.
Whether we acknowledge our thoughts, emotions, needs, and values or not, they are at work within us, affecting how we behave. Get to know them and work with them so you can have better self-mastery.
What are Boundaries, and Why are they Important?
Think of boundaries as protection. They are the mote or wall around you that protects you, your time, and your relationships. Having boundaries in place is important for everyone, but it is essential when you feel unsafe or helpless.
Boundaries protect the goodness in you and your relationships by keeping negative and unhealthy influences out.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
The 3 D’s of Boundaries can help you implement them well.
Define: Ask yourself, who or what do I need protection from?
Declare: Make it public! Let the relevant people know what your boundaries are so that they don’t mistakenly walk over them and you.
Defend: Remember that these boundaries are in place for a reason. They are necessary and purposeful so stick to them! You may encounter resistance but stand firm and remember that boundaries can lead to a healthier you and healthier relationships.
If boundaries are a new concept to you, then start small. They don’t need to be big to be effective. You can do this! Stick to your guns!
How Can You Support Others with Their Mental Health?
Mental health is something that we all need to care for, and for many people, mental health is a daily struggle. There is a great opportunity to show love to the people around you by supporting them in their mental health.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
Just like it is easy to ignore our mental health, it’s even easier to ignore others, yet they need your help! So how can we make a difficult time more manageable for them?
Be genuine and don’t avoid the topic. Ask them how they are really feeling. Ask them the hard questions, and then listen! Give them the space to be heard.
PRAY! This one is a biggy but often one we forget. Christian or not, ask them if you can pray with them. It may help them connect with God and remind them that they are not alone. God is with them throughout the struggle.
Pray for them. It is not your job to fix them, so be careful not to take that burden on yourself. Hand it over to God. There is power in prayer, and they may not have the words or the capacity to pray for themselves.
No amount of help is too small. Even the smallest acts of support can make a big difference. Consider making them a meal or going for a walk; do normal everyday things with them.
Encourage them to seek help. You can’t bear their struggle alone. Lovingly suggest that they get help. We’d love to help them connect with someone from our team or someone in the community.
Show them God’s love. He cares deeply about them. Remind them that he is with them throughout their journey. Remind yourself of that fact as well.
No Rest = Death
Yes, that sounds very dramatic, but it is also very accurate. We need rest for both our mental and physical well-being. It is crucial for survival. Need we remind you of the sabbath? We have been given the sabbath for rest.
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Let us, therefore, strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
Resting doesn’t just mean sleeping and watching TV. Rest with intention! The 4 R’s of Rest can help you ensure you’re resting properly.
Retreat: Stop and take a step back! Give yourself a break from events, socializing, and any other activities that are draining.
Refuel: Disconnect from what drains you and lean into all the things that fill you up. The things that bring you joy and life. Find what helps you feel rested and relaxed and spend some time focusing on that. Go to God as the primary source of rest and refuelling.
Repurpose: Ask God how he wants you to manage your time and energy, and how you can best serve him. Then set boundaries around that.
Re-engage: Rest is not a permanent state. We rest, and then we re-engage. When you’re ready, jump back in with intention and purpose, fueled by him, following the direction he sends you.
Dealing with Conflict Well.
No matter how much you may try to avoid it, conflict is inevitable. We are bound to encounter conflict in daily life; what is important is how we handle it.
It is important to remember that conflict affects us both mentally and physically. Our nervous system activates in an effort to protect us, and we enter a state of fight, flight, or freeze. It is important for both our mental and physical health that we handle conflict well.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
How you approach a person makes a big impact on the outcome of the conflict. Here are some tips on how to handle conflict well.
Take a deep breath! Calm down before you speak.
Pray! Ask God to fill you with his spirit, with love, patience, gentleness, and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Think about the end goal. What is the desired outcome?
Be gentle! Approach the conflict with kindness and love rather than anger.