23 Aug 2020

Mental Health – Emotional Wellbeing

This pandemic has exposed our mental state or emotional state. We are stuck in our homes. There is no way we can take a chance to go out for a breather. There are times when our family members are sick, and we are unable to help them as we could have in a normal circumstance. These are times when all kinds of emotions come out. We become frustrated, anxious, stressed out, fear grips us about our future, Joblessness or pay cuts make us vulnerable to depression. Also, being a Christian adds into the pressure that we cannot behave in a certain manner because we know Jesus. As subtle this thought looks, so is the consequence of it. We have certain burnout symptoms, which we keep ignoring till it affects us completely.

Before we investigate what is emotional health, we need to identify what is not healthy. Just like we take care of our body, we need to take care of our mind. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, MIND, strength, and soul.

  1. Pent up emotions: When we start doing that, we are accumulating a lot of disasters. Passive Aggression is one of the most dangerous emotions.
  2. Former affects us even now: We take decisions based on the past emotions or feelings and no new rational methods are introduced. We don’t allow others to grow in faith or dependency on God because we want to take control.
  3. Workaholism: Working ourselves to tiredness, so that we forget the pain or hurt. Keeping ourselves busy is different from workaholism. It’s a way of escapism, rather than dealing with the problem. Even sitting idle for a long duration of time causes a lot of unhealthy outcomes. We need to balance it out.
  4. Refraining Self care: It looks selfish, it is not biblical, (Even Jesus took time out), feeling guilty because of a good laugh, is not unhealthy or a sin. It’s always good to keep it in perspective.
  5. Projecting to be strong: Only God is strong. He can only give us the strength. It’s two different aspects, projecting means, we are not strong, but we look strong and on the other hand we are really able to take on problems cheerfully. Even Jesus broke down in the garden of Gethsemane.

If we continue with our unhealthy behaviours then we’ll either harm our body or get into a psychosomatic disorder. So what is emotional health or well being? We will be looking at it on a weekly basis as a series.

How do I recognize that my emotions are harmful and not helpful? Anything extreme and obstructing our daily functioning is not healthy. Be aware that the Enemy is out to steal kill and destroy. He attacks the mind which eventually affects our health.

A useful definition of emotional wellbeing is offered by the Mental Health Foundation: ‘A positive sense of wellbeing which enables an individual to be able to function in society and meet the demands of everyday life; people in good mental health have the ability to recover effectively from illness, change or misfortune.’

What many don’t realize is that common symptoms like stress, anxiety, and depression are also tied to mental health. Among Christians, it’s easy to dismiss these emotions as personal flaws in our moral character, but nothing could be further from the truth.

For Christians, practicing emotional self-care can be extremely difficult. Things which benefit our mental health can often feel selfish or self-indulgent, so we avoid them out of guilt and misplaced shame. Yet our mental health affects how we think, feel and respond on a daily basis. It can even take a toll on our spiritual life if we’re not careful. It’s important to remember that God does not want his children to suffer unduly, and we cannot be faithful disciples if we’re avoiding our own problems. So if you find yourself overburdened with anxiety or worry, here are 5 ways you can invest in your own mental well-being.

  1. Pray

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14

Prayer should always be our first approach to any problem. Before we set out to face our inner demons, it helps to take a moment and return our hearts to God. Scripture tells us that the Lord hears our prayers and will walk with us through any trial (Psalm 102:17), so we shouldn’t worry about standing alone. God knows our fears, he knows our suffering, and he loves us through it all. That knowledge alone can be very encouraging.

So take a moment and present your troubles to God. Tell him about your anger, your sadness, and your fear. Don’t be ashamed, because he wants to hear your worries. Who knows? By the end, you may discover your burden has grown a little lighter.

  1. Lean on Your Community

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2-12

Never be embarrassed to share your struggles with other Christians. The Church was created so that fellow believers could nurture, protect, and inspire one another as they pursued Christ. Many  put on a showy display of being happy, wholesome individuals when inside they’re barely holding together. This type of thinking is neither healthy nor holy.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s ok to reach out to your community for help. Find someone within the congregation whom you trust and let them know what’s happening. No Christian was meant to go through life alone. So instead of toughing it out, lean on your fellow believers and remember we’re all strongest when we work together.

3.Read Your Bible

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

This one should be an easy verse. Scripture is filled with multiple, encouraging passages for anyone going through a rough period. For starters, it helps to know several Biblical figures also struggled with depression and anxiety. Job was so miserable he cursed the day of his birth (Job 3:1). A dejected Elijah actually went into the wilderness and begged God to kill him (1 Kings 19:4). Even Jesus knew how it felt to suffer mental anguish (Luke 22:44). If you’re feeling depressed, just know you’re in good company.

Thankfully, the message doesn’t stop there. The Bible teaches us that God will give us strength (Isaiah 40:31), provide shelter (Nahum 1:7), and walk with us through these dark times (Psalm 23:4). His message is one of hope, grace, and ultimately, joy. Whatever this world may throw at you, remember that Christ will see you through.

  1. Practice Gratitude

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

There’s an old song for children which goes, “Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done.” It’s a fairly useful piece of advice. When you’re angry or upset, it’s easy to forget all the good things which are happening in life. So it always helps to pause and count your blessings. Do you have a roof over your head? Clean drinking water? A family who loves you? That’s more than most have.

Counting your blessings may not mitigate your suffering, but it will remind you things aren’t as bad as they seem. Practicing gratitude is one of the most effective ways of staving off bitterness and depression. It might even be worthwhile to combine this step with #2, and create a journal of gratitude to revisit when you’re feeling low.

  1. Rest

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” – Genesis 2:2

This may be the hardest entry for Christians to accept. Our modern society moves at a blinding speed, and we’re constantly told to work longer, achieve higher, and contribute more often. Even on the weekends, our schedules overflow with tasks like doing laundry, cleaning the house, fixing the car, or shuffling the kids off to sports practice. We have effectively forgotten how to rest.

True relaxation is necessary for a healthy mind. If even God was willing to take a break, so should you! Spend some time reading a fun book, do a puzzle, take a nap, go see a movie, or grab a massage at your local outlet mall. Self-care isn’t necessarily selfish, it just ensures you’re not burning yourself out. So take the afternoon and treat yourself.

There are other ways we can take care of our emotional well – being is just trust God to heal. Rejuvenate, laugh, most important factor is forgiveness. Love and forgive. Most of our ways of forgiveness is very different. We forgive children very instantly, because we know that what they do is very unintentional or we are far more grown up to hold a grudge against a child. Similarly, when we practice this with adults, we will be able to forgive better. Jesus said on the cross, ‘Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.’ He considered the same that we do for children. Forgive and allow God to intervene.

Sandra wife of Virjil .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

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