(This is the 3rd post in a series about mental health, the 1st was Fighting the Blues – Knowing Your Warning Signs, and the 2nd was Fighting the Blues – How to Get Healthier – Mentally)
Staying mentally healthy can be just as difficult as getting mentally healthy. It’s like trying not to gain weight after a successful diet program. You must be vigilant.
Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, so you are aware you are going to have to take care mentally. Other times, feeling down seems to sneak up on you, and it feels illogical because there isn’t actually anything wrong.
Here are a few things I have learned, and need to remind myself frequently, to maintain good mental health.
1. Find your passion and life and go after it – Go after, seek, fight for the things that bring you life, things that are life-giving for you, the things that you are passionate about, the things that make you feel. For me, this is my family and quizzing.
2. Help someone else, BUT, be careful not to get dragged down into someone else’s negative world. Sometimes it is easier to help someone who is not part of your everyday ‘real life’. For example, I write to a bunch of Compassion kids, mostly teens from all over the globe. I love to encourage them and feel good when I have written them short notes of encouragement.
3. Physical and spiritual health go hand in hand with mental health, you need to keep those aspects in your life healthy as well. Go for a short walk, listen to Daily Audio Bible podcast, read a Psalm etc. This is where you find hope.
4. Choose your friends carefully – this is part of setting boundaries and sticking to them. You can be kind to everyone around you without being friends with everyone. Choose to be with people who build you up and who have a positive spirit about them. Know when you need to retreat away from people to rest, but also know when you need to be around people, to be fed and built up.
5. Be grateful – I’m going to quote Ann Voskamp again – but you need to CHOOSE to be grateful, EVERY DAY, ALL DAY. Everyone can find 3 things to be grateful for everyday. You have control over the thoughts in your head, and your thought life drives your feelings, which drives your emotional state. So redirect the negative thoughts and replace them with a grateful thought.
6. Choose grace – don’t be so hard on yourself. Just because someone says or thinks something negative about you, doesn’t mean it’s true. Just because someone blames you for something, doesn’t mean it’s your fault. Choose to accept responsibility for your actions, if required and move on. You have a Heavenly Father who knows you intimately, He already knows all your faults and weakness, yet loves you overwhelmingly. He is the only one I need to please.
Psalm 139:1-3 He Knows our Thoughts
139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
2 Corinthians 10 Take Every Thought Captive
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,