Blog #340: Activities for Mental Health Awareness Month

As you may know, May is “Mental Health Awareness Month”. As Christians, we should long for, hope for, pray for, and help people to have strong mental and emotional health. Of course, being Christians, we seek for such through the guidance of Scripture and godly counsel. In the Bible, we read about the church family, If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Corinthians 12:26)

Similarly, we need to rejoice in this truth and speak it softly and persistently to those amongst us who are suffering from depression or mental health struggles: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).

Then, there is this hopeful verse: “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:10).

Quoting from a recent article posted on the website, we agree with this statement: ‘While appreciating the concern and advocacy of secular mental health agencies, we see the vital role of helping people to focus on the “abundant life” that Jesus offers and can give, for it provides for peace and joy.’

In their book on forgiveness, Ed and Joshua Smith discern the vital importance of God’s grace and truth for restoring one’s soul: “The lie-based beliefs we hold in our hearts hinder us from knowing the reality of who we are in Christ and the fullness of His sufficiency. Until the Spirit persuades us of the truth, these lies will dictate how we view our needs, and disappointment will follow. If we believe [in the soul] we are unloved, rejected, empty, overlooked, lacking, deprived, unimportant, and worthless, etc., we will be blinded to the truth and continue to look to others to fulfill us. The truth is that we are already made full in Christ [spiritually] whether this feels true or not. He has provided all we need of love, joy, peace, and all the fruit of the Spirit.”

In the month of May, let’s carry the light of compassion and hope to promote holistic mental and emotional health. Let’s face it: time spent alone with God is the absolute best thing a person can do for himself/herself. Praying and listening to scripture read or worship songs and hymns sung or played does wonders for one’s self-being. Finding a listening ear of a friend is always indispensable. But taking care of yourself is also helpful. Getting enough sleep, eating properly, exercising, going for walks – those are all helpful. As may be, getting professional help from a Christian counsellor.

But, if you want to do some self-help at home, self-help which is a little out of the norm in our society, please consider the following. Using stress-relief tactics from ancient China, Dr. Steven Gundry, MD, gives the following 7 “easy mood-boosting tips” for those who are stressed out.

  1. Sit comfortably. It can help to close your eyes.
  2. Touch the spot between your eyebrows with your index finger or thumb.
  3. Take slow, deep breaths and apply gentle, firm pressure in a circular motion for 1 or 2 minutes.
  4. Inhale as you count to 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, then hold for another 4 count.
  5. Chew gum as a recent study has shown that chewing gum could reduce “stress hormones” in your body by up to 16%. Just make sure that your gum is sugar-free and xylitol based, since sugar can actually trigger stress signal in your body.
  6. Stare at a soothing pattern as research shows that simply looking at repeating patterns and textures can help you reduce stress by as much as 60%.
  7. Grab a tennis ball…and roll around, as tennis balls are actually an excellent self-massage tool. Try positioning one near your shoulder blades, glutes, or calves and slowly roll around – you’ll find it’s amazing for relieving stress and soothing sore muscles.

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