We are emotional beings; we were created by God to be emotional beings: created in His image. As we begin to look at the truth about human emotions and the importance of being emotionally healthy, we must first note that human emotions do not authenticate God’s truth. For example, no matter what emotive response we give concerning the Word of God (for example, the resurrection of Christ), this historical fact does not waiver. Our emotions cannot verify truth. God’s truth is truth no matter our response. However, our emotions do authenticate our understanding of the God’s truth. “In the Bible, truth is supposed to strike the life with positive emotional force. Truth without effect is an unknown within scripture.” (David Eckman) Our response to the Word of God must be motivated by faith; resulting in substance leading to emotions.
Knowing this truth, that is the Word of God, I want to first establish a foundation for emotional health. This foundation is built on God’s Word. It is God’s desire that we are emotionally healthy, balanced, and stable. Through faith in His Word, we can establish, take back, and/or maintain good emotional health. This comes through the power of the Holy Ghost. God tells us in His Word that He will send us a Comforter: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14: 26-27.
This foundational truth is the basis for our emotional health. The Comforter which is the Holy Ghost came to dwell in us and Jesus left us peace; these are the epitome of emotional health and wellness; the essence of spiritual health. God’s Power and His peace. We know that Jesus came to mend the brokenhearted: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” Luke 4:18. A brokenhearted person is someone who is not emotionally healthy. God does not want us to be anxious and in emotional distress over the cares of this world and directs us to cast our cares upon Him for He cares for us (I Peter 5:7). Emotional distress comes when we are anxiety provoked and fretful about life, image, circumstances, etc. But the word of God states in Philippians 4:6-7 Amplified Bible, “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
These scriptures demonstrate for us that emotional turmoil is both a mental and spiritual battle. Emotional distress is steeped in the mind of condemnation and fear: Condemnation which attacks self-esteem, commitment, and motivation; and, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of lack; fear which causes torment. Romans 8:1 tell us that, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” And, 2 Timothy 1:7 (Amplified Bible) tackles the fear ingredient, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” Renewing the mind and keeping it clear of the clutter and garbage that the enemy toss our way is critical to emotional health. Remember the devil came to kill, steal and destroy. He came to torment your mind. Therefore, we must “be constantly renewed in the spirit of our mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:23-24 Amplified Bible
Note the method and strategy of the scripture that helps us to establish and maintain emotional health and well-being (leading to spiritual health). It calls us to trust Jesus to deliver and bring peace; to walk after the Spirit; to communicate with God about our issues; to attend to what is getting into our minds; and to not fear (which means we must trust God). Moving to the Beat of Emotional Health requires using these methods and strategies to overcome not only things we are going through now, but also things from our past which cause problems with our emotions and thoughts. (Joyce Meyers) Emotional health (healing) and wellness also requires letting go and forgiveness. (Mark 11:25-26; 1 John 2:11; Hebrews 12:15) Here are some tips or simple practices you can integrate in your life (a lifestyle change/practice) to help establish, regain, and/or maintain emotional health. You may not use all of them right away, but start off by selecting one or two to incorporate in your day to day routine. If you are doing some of these tips already, then ask God to help you enhance them so that they are more impactful on your life and your emotional health. It is important to note that lifestyle change does not occur overnight. It requires consistent implementation over time to net results and to be integrated in your pattern of life.
- Meditate: Find at least fifteen minutes a day to be alone to free your mind of the clutter of the world around you and meditate on the Word of God. During this time, listen to the stillness of the air or calming music. Do not have music with words or a T.V. or radio on in the room. Try to separate yourself from all noises. Try to practice even and rhythmic breathing during your meditation time.
- Pray: Daily time communicating with the Lord is essential to emotional and spiritual health. This is where you cast your cares upon Him (He does care for you) and where you listen to Him for direction. Prayer is a conversation with you and God. It is a time to ask for help. It is also a time to express to God reverence and honor. It is a time to express appreciation and gratitude. Thankfulness and gratitude are keys to emotional health.
- Move: Go out for a walk or run in your neighborhood, at a park, somewhere out in nature. You can also engage in stretching exercises and other movement exercises that help you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
- Listen to Music: Music is calming, soothing, and impacts portions of the brain that enhances emotional health.
- Keep a Journal: (It can be a prayer journal) this can be a place where you dump your worries and fears. It can also be a place to list things you are grateful or thankful for; activities you have engaged in during the day; or a combination of all of the above.
- Explore your Creativity: Whatever it may be: writing, music, art; engage in something that expands your mind.
- Rest: Not only should you be sure to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night, but also try to rest during the day.
- Nurture Relationships: The people in your life are important to your emotional health. Take care of these relationships. Consideration and appreciation of others is recognized immediately and goes a long way.
- Spontaneous Acts of Kindness: Purposefully being kind to people you know and don’t know, and may never encounter ever again improves emotional health and wellness. There is something about helping someone else that is universally inspiring and motivational. This can be accomplished in many ways, like being kind on the roadway, by letting someone cut in during a traffic jam; or paying it forward, by paying for the person’s order in the car behind you in a drive-through restaurant.
- Count your blessings. Express appreciation and gratitude for the simple everyday things, as well as the momentous ones.
Emotional wellness is critical to overall wellbeing; our overall health. Sometime it is the emotional wounds that sabotages our physical and spiritual health and prevent us from accomplishing the goals we set for ourselves. The next Blog post will focus on the motivation and procrastination. You do know that “Procrastination is the Assassination of Motivation”.