- November 25, 2020
- Lydia McCord
Mental health… where to even begin. This topic is widely distorted and neglected but incredibly important.
I’d say it’s common to take note of physical and spiritual health, emotional maybe not so much, but mental I think even less so.
I think with all four of these areas though, there are 4 areas that are important for each. I think those areas are: fuel, exercise, rest and community. So let’s look at mental health and how these four might play a role.
What do we feed our minds?
Just like feeding our bodies, our minds consume and digest things as well. What are we putting into them? Is it creating a healthy mind or a sick one? Is our mental diet equivalent to foods that are homemade, freshly picked and rich in vitamins? Or something we’d grab in a drive thru that’s been genetically engineered, frozen, reheated and fried? Let’s just be honest here, are we spending hours watching the Kardashians or having deep meaningful conversations with other people? Are we playing candy crush or reading something that challenges us? Because this right here, our brain food WILL have an impact on our brain health. How could it not?
Do we exercise our minds?
Do we challenge our minds and stretch them? I’m not just talking about playing word games, no. Are we doing things like questioning our assumptions? Listening to others? Being patient? Having discipline in our thought lives? Or do our minds, like an undisciplined, lazy body, just sit around, never growing stronger, never being challenged, never burning off the fat, never going hiking through the woods to get to the top of a mountain and take in a new view? Let’s exercise our precious, powerful minds.
Do we rest our minds?
Our minds work incredibly hard for us. We process so much information every day not to mention our brains just needing to tell the rest of our bodies what to do around the clock, they’re constantly at work. Do we give our minds true rest? Not just entertainment or zone out rest but time when we turn off the excess noise and let our minds stop processing it all for a while and just… rest? Our hard working minds need that rest.
Last but far FAR from least, do we talk to others, at least one other, about what’s going on in our minds?
Thoughts that come into our heads can be incredibly deceiving and can easily lead us to make terrible decisions quickly. When we voice what is going on in our minds, sometimes that is honestly enough- to hear the thoughts out loud. When that’s not enough though, it’s nice to have another person there to say, no, that’s not right. Or, yes, that is. Or even just hear us out so we are not the only ones alone with our thoughts. They are powerful and when we give them our attention they can lead us down dark spiraling staircases or up towards the Son.
I want to get us thinking about mental health, especially in the church where we should be caring for whole people (and mental health is included in a whole person). It is something that is a part of each of us. It’s incredibly important to take care of our mental wellbeing as well as support others in doing so. It need not be taboo or side stepped. We must drag it out into the light and treat it like the vital thing that it is.