I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to forget that my body is a 4-in-1 deal. What do I mean by that? Well, our body consists of a physical body, the spirit, our soul, and our mind. In other words, if we want to be truly healthy we have to focus on all four areas: mental health, emotional health, physical health, and spiritual health.
I work on my spiritual health a lot. I read God’s Word, I pray every day, I spend time in praise and worship (not as much as I should, but still), I listen to Elevation church preaching, Joel Osteen, and Joyce Meyer pretty much every day. But when I woke up today still feeling like I was trying not to slip into depression, still fighting off a negative, sour mood, it made me really think. What’s wrong with me? I mean, I spend time with the Lord! I know I’m doing, maybe not all of the right things spiritually, but definitely a lot of them. Maybe more than most, and less than some (now I sound like Bilbo Baggins). So…why don’t I feel happy?
I talked to my mom and then to the Lord, and I realized that the reason I haven’t been feeling happy in the past few months is that I’ve only been focused on one area of my life: the spiritual. But, I’ve neglected the physical, emotional, and mental.
If you guys are like me and find yourself focusing on only one or two of these areas of health, then why not check out these four tips below?
1. Be Active (physical health)
I know, I know, this isn’t a new tip. But I’m serious here – we have to be active, regardless of our busy schedules! According to this article (and there are many like it) “exercise has been shown to improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.”
That’s why no matter how “spiritual” I get, I can’t seem to feel any happier – I’m not exercising. I need to do some form of exercise every single day. Whether it’s a 10-minute workout video, or a walk, or going hiking with my husband, as long as I get moving. So, dear reader, will you join with me and make a promise to yourself to exercise every single day for 30 days? I know it’s a tough commitment, but clearly, if we want to be healthier and happier, it’s a necessary one!
2. Have fun (emotional health)
Kids know how to have fun! I remember when I was a kid I would spend almost all day long just playing. I would play with Barbies or just use my imagination. I would pretend to be a princess, a wife, a teacher, etc. Sometimes I would play with friends, but more often I would play by myself. I’d go outside and climb on the sign in our front yard (a large wooden/brick sign that had the name of our neighborhood on it) and pretend I was a pirate or a queen or whatever. It was an age of innocence and without stress or responsibility.
My husband and I were just talking today about how we miss those days. But the truth is, we need to learn to let go of that stress and responsibility sometimes and just have fun. You know how people have always said that “laughter is the best medicine”? That’s not just a saying – it’s the truth. When we laugh and have fun, it is so beneficial to our emotional health because it relieves stress and allows us to relax. If we stay stressed out all the time and just focused on our problems, we’re never going to be happy with our lives. That’s why I would like you to promise with me that for the next 30 days we’re going to find something fun to do each day – get our minds off our problems and worries – and learn how to just relax. Are you with me?
3. Have a Quiet Time (spiritual health)
Maybe you don’t have a quiet time every day. Why is it so important? Well, a quiet time with God isn’t for “brownie points”. It isn’t for God because He is with us all the time. A quiet time is for us, so we can have an intimate alone time with our Creator, to learn more about Him and what He wants for us. When we don’t do that, we are truly limiting God’s control on our lives and our own happiness and peace. We tend to focus on ourselves, our problems, and try to solve everything on our own. But, when we have a quiet time with God, we get our focus on to the One who is the Most Important in the world and should be first in our lives. We are reminded that He is all-powerful and that He is in control.
Or, maybe you’re like me and you already have a quiet time every day, but it just isn’t working for you. Then change something! Try something new! Read more of the Word, or sing more praise music, or pray for longer and pray for other people, not just yourself. I think the two things I need to work on are praying for others (not just me and my husband) and reading more of God’s Word. But, whether you have a quiet time already or not, will you make a pact with me? Let’s determine to have a quiet time every day with our Lord for the next 30 days. Let’s make sure that this quiet time feeds our souls and change things around until it does. Will you join me today?
4. Keep a Thought Journal (mental health)
It’s so interesting to me that when I was doing research for this section, learning to control our thoughts, I found far more articles on why you shouldn’t try to control your thoughts. I know the people who wrote those articles are well-meaning, but they are deceived. The reason there are more articles about that is that it is the devil’s greatest hold over us – our thoughts. He does not want us to learn how to control our thoughts or he loses a huge amount of control over us. Non-believers can’t control their thoughts because they have nothing to replace their thoughts with and no one to submit their thoughts to. But we do. We have Father God. And, in fact, He commands us to control our thoughts:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2)
So, I challenge myself and my readers today to keep a thought journal for the next 30 days. You don’t have to record every thought (that’s almost impossible) but record reoccurring thoughts, whether good or bad. At the end of the 30 days look back and see what thoughts keep coming up. Then, give them to God. Submit your thoughts to Him and learn how to replace any bad, negative thoughts with thoughts that are full of God’s truth and wisdom, positivity, and joy.
I really pray that, not only will all my readers commit to these 4 challenges over the next 30 days, but that I will be faithful and do this along with you. One month from now I’ll make a new post and let you guys know (honestly) how I did and I really pray you will let me know how you did in the comment section below!