May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. It also coincides with Asian American Pacific Islander heritage month so people might end up focusing on that. However, more than ever, people are recognizing that mental and emotional health is important all year round. We in the West are certainly realizing that truth.
Pastor David Jeremiah of Shadow Mountain Community Church has often said that the body and soul are so close that it catches the other’s disease. I don’t know he was quoting from someone else, but for now, I’m going to attribute it to him.
There is so much truth in that statement. For example, just doing 15-30 minutes of strenuous exercises that the AMA suggests does help! There are days when I feel moody and depressed; lifting weights also lifts my spirits. Five rounds of 90 seconds of shadow boxing also fights off negativity.
These are simple things we can do self-help, self-treatment. And if you need professional help, I highly encourage you to seek it. As for medication, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, medication DOES help some people. On the other hand, have we rushed to prescribe medication? There is an opioid crisis that was created by unethical drug developers who got rich and everyone else got hooked.
Lastly, what we dwell on affects mental health. This is a duh! statement but the issue is whether YOU practice it.
Do you dwell on things you can’t control??
Here is a list of things you can’t control:
- The weather
- The traffic
- Other people – their emotions, reactions, actions, priorities….
We might laugh at #1 and #2 and recognize the truth of #3, but this is where we spend the most time and energy! More accurately, this is we waste our time and energy.
I am indebted to Amy Morin who wrote: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. Number 4 on her list:
Focus on things they can’t control.
If you want to be mentally healthy, have a checkup the way you go to a doctor for the body. What is really in our mind? Is there something you are repeating over and over?
- Is it negative self-image?
- Is it fear? There are so many types of fear – both rational and irrational.
- Is it anger? Thoughts of vengeance and revenge?
- Is it bitterness? Resentment?
I started with the negative because many of those thoughts have very serious consequences. Think about it: why are there so many incidents of suicide, road rage, mass shootings? Cutting? Eating disorders?
There is hope! Just as your doctor treats your broken limb, there can be healing for your mind.
- Rejoice! Count your blessings
- Christians have the presence of Jesus Christ. He is closer than you think.
- Christians are also commanded to be anxious for nothing but pray.
- Christians have the peace for Christ which surpasses all understanding.
- Apply the THINK principle:
- Is it True?
- Is it Helpful?
- Is it Inspiring?
- Is it Necessary?
- Is it Kind?