Mental Health struggles have skyrocketed in recent years. Some of the increased numbers may be because it’s more accepted to talk about mental illness than it used to be, so people are reporting it more often. The pandemic of 2020 contributed to the problem, no doubt, but struggles with mental health have been around a very long time. While recognizing that some mental-health issues need to be handled by a trained professional and might require medication, sometimes just letting the Word of God speak truth over you can improve your mental health.
First of all, let’s answer the question: what does good mental health look like? Here are a few markers:
- You have a general sense of happiness.
- You generally feel calm, content, peaceful, and hopeful.
- You have the ability to calm yourself when stresses, disappointments, grief, and other hardships come.
- You can make and maintain good relationships with others.
This is not an exhaustive list, and no one experiences these things 100% of the time, but if you can look at your life overall and say these things are true, then you are probably experiencing good mental health.
But what if you can’t say these things are true about you most if not all of the time? Let’s take a look at 6 truths about who you are that will help you begin to feel mentally stronger, and hopefully begin to notice those markers in your life much more often.
Believing You Are of Great Worth Makes a Difference
Many mental health issues can arise because of childhood trauma. When all you hear growing up is negativity, insults, and abusive language, your mental health is going to suffer. In conjunction with getting trauma therapy, meditating on what God’s Word says about who you are can begin to retrain your brain and move you toward a healthy self-image.
Luke tells the story of a tax collector named Zacchaeus. The Jews all hated him because he collected taxes for the Roman government. But one day when Jesus was coming through town, He noticed Zacchaeus. He called to him and went to his house that day. Jesus sees you, He knows you, and He loves you.
Listen to a short segment of this meditation from Abide based on Luke 19:5-6 about how valued Zacchaeus—and you—are to God.
Knowing You are Cared for Aids Your Mental Health
Isolation, especially in times of need, can make you doubt whether anyone cares about you and what you’re going through. This can wreck havoc on your mental health. Feeling alone in your struggles can cause you to withdraw even further. But the moment someone reaches out, asking how you’re doing and if you need to talk, you can find a spark starts to ignite in your heart.
In 1 Kings we read the story of the prophet Elijah. He had just come off an amazing victory against the prophets of Baal, and he was tired. Then he gets a threat from King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel. She threatens to kill him, and despite what he had just seen God do, Elijah was afraid. But chapter 19, verses 7 and 8 show us God’s great care for him: “The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’ So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.”
God knew exactly what Elijah needed, and He knows what you need too. Let the words of this meditation from Abide remind you of how much God cares for you.
A Listening Ear Can Brighten Your Outlook
Along with being treasured and cared for, being listened to can make a huge difference in your mental health. Recently the beloved Muppet Elmo took to X (formerly Twitter) to ask the simple question: How is everybody doing? The post was inundated with more than 13 thousand responses from people just needing to be heard. If a little red fictional creature can generate that much response, just imagine how a real live person taking your hand and asking how you are can help you.
Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?— Elmo (@elmo) January 29, 2024
Luke 24 tells the story of Jesus, after His resurrection, meeting two men on the road to Emmaeus. He asked a question and then just listened to their response. They were highly emotional after believing that Jesus had been killed and they would never see Him again. The Spirit of God kept them from recognizing Him. But after Jesus broke bread with them, their eyes were opened and they knew who He was. Immediately, Jesus disappeared. But just His being there had made a difference to them. “They said to each other, ‘Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?’”
Having someone listen to you can make all the difference when it comes to mental health struggles. Listen to a short segment of this meditation from Abide based on Luke 24:30-32 about this encounter with Jesus.
Feeling Like You’re Understood Helps Your Mental Health
With the advent of social media and the ease of making quick responses, thoughtful dialog has seemingly gone by the wayside. An editor of mine once said, “don’t write so as to be understood, write so as to not be misunderstood.” Any parent of a teenager has probably heard them say, “You just don’t understand me.” If we don’t take the time to listen carefully, ask questions, and purposely try to get to know someone, they can feel that they are not understood.
In Luke 8 we read the story of a synagogue leader named Jairus who had a daughter who was dying. He had heard the stories about Jesus and believed that Jesus could heal his daughter. So he came to Jesus and asked for help. On the surface, this might not seem like a story that talks about being understood, but what it shows is that Jairus had a burden and Jesus listened and helped him. Sometimes, being understood means finding someone who will really listen and seek to understand what is burdening you.
Listen to a sample of this meditation from Abide based on Luke 8:40-42 and know that Jesus understands you so well.
Experiencing Relentless Love Can Improve Your Mental Health
In Luke 15, Jesus tells 3 parables, one about a lost coin, one about a lost sheep, and one about a lost son. In all 3 stories, Jesus makes the same point: God will always love you, no matter how lost you think you are. Really believing that alone, deep down in your soul, can improve your mental health.
When you know someone loves you no matter what, you can overcome a lot. If you think their love is conditional upon your performance, it creates an immense burden on you. People will always disappoint you, but God will always be there. He never, ever stops loving you.
If there is a human in your life who will show you that kind of love, stick with them, and believe them when they say, “I love you.” I’m a mom, and I think about my kids. There is nothing they could ever do to make me stop loving them. They’ve made choices I would not make, that I wish they hadn’t made, that they’re suffering the consequences of making. But they’re still my kids, and I still love them and desire a close relationship with them.
I hope that is true for you. Let this short segment of a meditation from Abide based on Matthew 18:12-14 about the lost sheep convince you that you are relentlessly loved.
Your Spirit, Soul, and Body are Involved in Mental Health
There’s a direct correlation between your body and your mental health. If you’re not practicing self care, then you will have a hard time feeling mentally healthy. Someone who experiences chronic pain and illness will suffer depression if they don’t have good soul care. And if you’re not taking care of your inner life, your soul and spirit, it’s very hard to maintain a positive outlook on life. All these things working together can help improve your mental health.
First Thessalonians 5:23 mentions these 3 things: “Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.”
The first of the 10 Commandments mentions them as well. Jesus reiterates the most important commandment in Mark 12:29-30: “Jesus replied, ‘The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’”
You are uniquely created so that all aspects of you work together. When one is out of sync, you feel it in the other places. If you seek to improve your mental health, spirit, soul, and body must work together. Listen to the beginning of this meditation from Abide based on 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
As you continue your journey toward good mental health, let Abide travel with you. Our daily devotionals, guided meditations, and Bible-based sleep stories exist to help you experience the peace of God throughout your day. Whatever your struggle, the Word of God can help. Use this link for 25% off a premium subscription.
Stephanie Reeves is a writer and the senior editor of Abide.