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The Biblical Principles that Christians should follow to maintain and improve on mental health.
Nowadays, mental health has become a serious issue of concern affecting almost everyone, including believers. Mental health involves your well-being psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. If you are not well in any of these dimensions, then it means that you might have mental health issues that affect your general productivity and happiness. When you are in perfect mental health, you can realize your abilities, effectively handle normal life stresses, work productively, and contribute positively to your community.
It will greatly influence how you behave, feel or think and hence will also affect the relationship you have with other people around you.
The common mental health illnesses are anxiety disorders and mood disorders like bipolar conditions and depression. Depression has been a very widespread problem, especially in this time of the corona pandemic. Many people, including believers, are in deep stress due to the impacts of the Covid-19 disease. Some have lost their jobs, while others have lost their loved ones to the disease. Some people have even been diagnosed with Covid-19 disease itself, and that diagnosis has caused them a lot of worries and stress while trying to fight for their lives. The lockdown in some countries has also caused stress to some families, especially the parents who are looked up for provision but cannot provide for one reason or the other.
Surely, as Christians, we cannot shy away from this issue since it affects us. Some Christians have undergone depression and ended up committing suicide, among many other unimaginable acts. That has made people question the church’s role in meeting the emotional and spiritual needs of the community.
A colleague of mine recently gave me a story of his friend named Chris, who was believed to be a strong believer and spreader of the gospel of Christ. Chris did an act that even someone who has never heard the good news cannot do. The issue started when Chris lost his job due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He depended on this job alone to provide for his family and fulfill his role as the head. Chris had a young family consisting of three kids, his beautiful wife, and himself. It was a young family of five that was based on the foundation of Christ. Chris could no longer provide for it because he did not have any other side hustle apart from his job.
This lack of capacity to effectively play his role as the head of the family caused him too much stress that even affected his self-confidence. He finally could not attend fellowships or even go to church, and when questioned by his fellow believers, he would only give Covid-19 as the excuse. For one year after losing the job, his wife took over the responsibility of providing for the family.
Unfortunately, Chris and his wife started having serious mental issues due to the new challenge in their life. They were prayerful people before, but they finally gave up on prayers. The devil took advantage because they were already vulnerable. The wife could not respect Chris anymore, and this only made the matter worse. This couple reached the height of bad mental health when Chris murdered his wife and then committed suicide after realizing that his wife had begun cheating on him when he lost his job. People got that information from the suicide note that Chris left behind. The stress and depression of two people resulted in three orphans.
That is a story of two Christians who could not cope up with stress after some inevitable changes. The result was very heartbreaking, and that is why we should always exercise self-care as believers of Jesus when things become difficult. That is because bad mental health will always negatively affect how we think, feel or respond to various things in our lives. We can do several things as believers to invest in our mental well-being.
As believers, one of the best things that we can rely on is prayer. The Scriptures remind us that we should not be anxious about anything, but we should pray and make our requests known to God so that we can have his peace guarding our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7). When we have peace of God, our anxiety which affects our physical and psychological well-being will be gone. Honestly, when we present our sufferings, fears, and sadness to God, He will hear us. The Bible says that if we ask anything from God according to his will, He will surely hear us (1 John 5:14).
Reading and meditating on God’s word also helps us cope with stress, anxiety, and depression more effectively because of the many encouragements and teachings we get from the Bible. We are reminded not to worry about tomorrow and take each day at a time (Matthew 6:34).
That is because the same God who provides for the birds of the air is the same God who shall meet our needs. Such words help us to improve our mental health. We also get encouragement from the Biblical characters like Job and Elijah, who underwent some rough times, but they sailed through because God was with them.
We are surely not alone as believers, and hence we should never sink into the pits of depression. When bad mental health causes us things like anger, God’s word helps us know how to deal with them correctly. God’s word will always give us hope, grace, and joy and ultimately contribute to our mental well-being.
Our eating habits have a lot to do with our mental well-being also. The Bible reminds us that we should not join those who take too much wine or gluttonous eaters of meat (Proverbs 23:20). We are what we eat and anything we eat; we should have control and avoid being gluttonous. Eating too much may make us overweight and cause some illnesses like diabetes or heart disease. Such diseases negatively affect our self-esteem, and we may consequently suffer depression. It is a scientific fact that when we avoid too much alcohol and unhealthy foods and take more fruits or vegetables, we shall ultimately feel better about ourselves physically and mentally.
Physical activities like walking, running, swimming, or gym exercises are very important to our physical and mental well-being. The Bible reminds us as believers that our bodies are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). We should take good care of the temple of God not only by observing holiness but also by keeping fit in all other aspects. Physical exercise helps our bodies release feel-good hormones like endorphins that help us fight anxiety and depression and improve our mental health. When we combine physical activities with the right eating habits and rest, our mental well-being is guaranteed.
In conclusion, we all face storms and challenges of different kinds which interfere with our mental well-being. Let us practice the above principles to remain well mentally and physically.
Our mental well-being will always affect our physical well-being and vice versa.
As believers, if we also go the extra mile of showing gratitude and compassion to others when need be, bad mental health will surely become a thing of the past.
There will be many more articles on mental health and what we should and should not be eating; we’ll be going beyond the basics. Please come back for we publish articles weekly; even if its raining cats and dogs. 😉
Feel free to contact me should you have something to offer or have any suggestions or questions. May God bless you, have a great day!
Originally posted 2021-08-08 00:00:00.