May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Let’s be extra intentional this month to pause and recognize the millions of individuals who are directly and indirectly affected by mental health struggles every day. According to the World Health Organization, one in four people worldwide will experience mental health issues in their lifetime. You or someone you know could be navigating these challenges right now, so we hope the words below bring comfort and support.
If you’re struggling with mental health issues, consider the help a professional can offer. Christian counselors, therapists, and psychologists are trained to understand how the brain works and how to help people process their struggles. In some cases, seeing a doctor can also be helpful if there is an injury or chemical imbalance in your body that’s contributing to the root cause of the issue. Prayerfully consider what the right step is for you and your family or loved one!
Along with seeking professional help, there are several practical things someone can do to improve mental health! We put together a list to spark ideas to help strengthen hearts and minds.
- First and foremost, pray! Pastor Robert teaches that through Jesus, we do not have to live in bondage. He loves us unconditionally, heals our broken hearts, brings complete freedom, and fills us with His peace. Even if you may not feel an immediate shift, God is working on your behalf.
- Claim God’s promises over your life. Proverbs 18:21 says the power of life and death is in the tongue! The words we speak have power, and when we speak the Word of God over our lives and the lives of our loved ones, we are proclaiming God’s promises of comfort and healing with unmatched power. Here is a list of Scriptures to claim over your situation:
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:6–7 (NIV)
- For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. –2 Timothy 1:7
- You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy. –Psalm 30:11 (NLT)
- “‘Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” –Isaiah 41:10
- I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—praise to our God. –Psalm 40:1–3
- “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” –John 14:27
- Find a place where you can process your thoughts and feelings—express them and get them out of your head. This can be with a pastor, counselor, mentor, trusted friend, or even a journal. Speaking or writing out your bottled-up thoughts is a way to practically release the pressure building inside of you. Other ways to express your emotions could be through art, music, or dance.
- Make time to exercise! If your health allows, regular exercise can improve sleep and brain health. The Center for Family Medicine reports that key hormones can be released during exercise to improve blood flow and boost your mood. Exercise can also help release frustration and reduce muscle tension, leaving you feeling more relaxed.
- Eat nutritious food. Don’t give in to sugar and starch cravings—these foods spike blood sugar but can bring you crashing down quickly! Choose foods that nourish your brain and body, level out your blood sugar, and give you energy for longer periods of time.
- Care for someone else who may be struggling. Proverbs 11:25 says we will be refreshed when we refresh others. Encouraging someone else, praying for someone else, or meeting someone’s needs can help you feel better and help shift your focus when you might be feeling stuck.
- Spend a few minutes of the day in the sun! In moderation, sunshine can boost your immune system, supply your body with natural Vitamin D, and increase your serotonin levels. If you can’t get out in the sun, ask your doctor if there are other things you can do to naturally boost your serotonin levels.
- Get to bed early. A good night’s sleep helps your body heal from a long day and helps you manage your mood. Before you go to bed, stretch, take deep breaths, and avoid using electronic screens. These simple steps can help you relax and prepare your body for more restorative sleep.
- Do something you enjoy. Spending time engaging in your favorite activities gives you a chance to enjoy yourself and accomplish a goal! Some ideas could be cleaning or organizing, playing an instrument, doing a puzzle, baking or cooking, spending time with a pet, playing sports, reading, or spending time outside.
- Ask for help. In Exodus 17 we read that Moses had to keep his staff raised in the air so Joshua and the army of Israel could win their battle. Verse 12 tells us his arms grew tired, so his companions brought a stone for him to sit on while they held up his arms. If Moses—the man God used to save Israel from the Egyptians—needed support, then there’s no doubt we also need support from time to time. It’s okay to ask for help from people around you. We were created for community, and there are times when we need another person to support us, encourage us, and remind us of the truth.
This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive—it’s meant to spark ideas and breathe fresh hope into your situation. We want people struggling to know they are not alone; we are all fully known and deeply loved by the Father.
We would love to pray for and come alongside anyone struggling with this journey. Send us your prayer request or text PRAYER to 71010 to connect with one of our leaders.