We go to the doctor for an annual visit just to do a checkup. But how often do you consider doing a mental health and spiritual checkup? Here is your chance to do just that! Consider these 7 things as you think about ways to improve your mental and spiritual health.
- Learn to laugh. One of the best ways to lift a down mood is to laugh. The more you laugh the better you feel. Laughter has a list of benefits including better pain tolerance. So, find a funny movie, get together with friends, do fun things that make you laugh more. Proverbs 17:22 tell us that laughter is good medicine.
- Evaluate the words you speak. Are your words positive or negative? When you add bad words to a bad mood, things just get worse. Once you speak, words cannot be taken back. This means we should always think before we speak and not make a bad situation worse. So many Scriptures speak to the words of our mouth. Those words are to be pleasing to God, uplifting others and meant to encourage.
- When you are wrong, own it and apologize. Apologies are signs of relationship strength, not weakness. Apologies are part of relationship repairs. And repairs sustain relationships. Look, we all mess up from time to time, but an apology begins the process of repair. The Bible tells us to confess our sins to each other. And if we have a conflict, go to the person and deal with it.
- Manage stress on a regular basis. We can’t always prevent stress, but sometimes we can. To build stress preventions, focus on beauty, take nature walks, laugh more (see #1) and socialize to destress and have fun. Do not destress with substances as they create their own problems. Look around you. There is beauty to be found. Psalm 118:23 says, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”
- Improve your sleep. Sleep is one change you can make to improve your mental health. The better you sleep, the better your body reboots from the day. And one of the unspoken benefits of sleep is you learn better. So come on all you students. Get that needed rest to function at your best. And we know the importance of rest from Scripture. Jesus, being fully man and fully God, rested and needed sleep during his time of ministry.
- No matter your circumstances, practice gratitude. If you feel stuck, anxious, or even depressed, begin a gratitude practice and watch your mood lift. Every day, speak or write three reasons to be grateful. Focus on what is going right despite problems. It’s a game changer. Always be rejoicing. “Give thanks for everything” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
- Be true to yourself and your beliefs. Yes, actions speak louder than words. Know what you believe and why. A secure person doesn’t have to force their beliefs and choices on others. But a secure person will stand up for what is right in the face of wrong and injustice. Live your life in a way that is congruent with your faith. Don’t be swayed by secular thought. Check everything against Scripture and see how your life will flourish.