Mental health has been a taboo subject for quite some time. And especially Christian mental health. A change in mental health for Christians can lead to a belief that if “I’m depressed, then I’m not right with God”. But friend, that’s a lie from the enemy.
Being healthy and fit is not just about your physical body. Just as the Father is three parts in one (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), you are body, soul, and spirit, 1 Th 5:23. So, as Christians and daughters of the king, it’s your duty to care for your mental health. If you want to hear my story on mental health, check out this episode.
In this episode, I’m joined by Tammy Stewart to shed light on some important topics circling around Christian mental health.
Tammy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a strong sister in Christ, and the owner and Practitioner of Salty Therapy where she provides Christian mental health and mental health counseling to individuals and families.
Embracing mental health should be part of our society. Learning how it affects your daily life is important and foundational to what’s really happening in your mind, body, and spirit. Learn to master your mental health so you can heal and become the best version of yourself.
If you’ve been wondering how Christian mental health affects your daily life then tune in and discover new things from Tammy today.
Tammy starts by revealing the mental health changes brought on by the covid-19 pandemic. As distractions and busyness faded and isolation became reality, past thoughts and feelings could no longer be avoided, and it forced us to examine our current relationships. It’s all about how you look at the situation. “You can choose to look at it negatively or choose to say God opened a door for us regardless of the pandemic,” Tammy said.
Mental health from a holistic view
Mental health affects every area of life. It affects our physical health, it affects our spiritual health, it affects our emotional health, and it affects our relationships. Tammy continues, “It can even affect our intellectual health. I’m a reader by nature but when I’m really struggling with anxiety, or when I have struggled with depression, I can’t even stay focused on a chapter of a book much less, the entire book because my mind is in so many other places, it’s not at peace.”
So if we take care of our mental health, it is holistically going to impact all areas of life.
“Depression and anxiety can lead to overeating, lack of motivation to exercise, and a desire to fill in those gamps with tangible things that are right in front you that aren’t always the best things,” Tammy explains.
Your mental health and daily behaviors
Tammy explains Cognitive Behavioral Therapy like this: we have a thought, the thought produces a feeling, the feeling produces behavior, and the behavior has consequences good or bad.
“What we think is going to ultimately drive our behaviors,” Tammy explains. If you have thousands of thoughts a day, some you don’t even notice, they happen subconsciously.
You need to slow down if you want to change your outcome. Give consideration to your thoughts. You need to challenge your thoughts because those thoughts create belief systems.
What does the Bible say?
The Bible says, ‘take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ,’ 2 Corinthians 10:5.
This passage encourages you to examine your thoughts and search for truth. If you are believing a lie, replace it with the truth.
Tammy explains how she does this in her own life. “I practice this by stepping out of the feeling long enough to go, ‘Okay, hold on a minute. How much evidence do I have to support that belief that I’m partnering with?’ and is these are just feelings that are driving me?”
It’s ok to be in the process of improving and mastering your mental health. oftentimes, we always want to be at that finish line. Especially as women, we like to get through a project, so we can be done and move on but enjoying that process is really how we learn and change our habits and our behaviors into healthy ones.
Being in process is really where God grows us the most. If we’re just at the finish line all the time, or if we are standing on top of the mountain, we won’t be looking up for the guidance we truly need which comes from our Father in Heaven.
Tammy references 2 Corinthians 10:5 and Proverbs 4: 23, she says, “ So we have to be careful of what we’re allowing to come into our heart and to grow roots there.”
“He’s a good daddy and he wants the best for us. And he knows that we have to go through a process in order to develop and to have long-term results”. Tammy continues.
Be encouraged to explore your thoughts
Anxiety and depression are common mental health diagnoses. Tammy explains mental diagnoses can be situational, chemical, hormonal, or genetic. She shines a light on medication and the need to walk with someone who understands the process. Being able to verbally dump on someone you have no emotional attachment to is helpful because you don’t feel responsible for their feelings and thoughts about you or the situation. When you go to a professional there is no need to edit the conversation, you can explain it the way you see it because you don’t feel responsible for the counselor’s feelings.
Tips to improve your mental health
Tammy explains the Locus of Control, which boils down to the things in your control and the things out of your control.
You are in control of yourself and your choices.
“We tend to wait until we feel like doing something. And feelings are more often going to come after you start doing something different,” Tammy said.
“The feeling change is going to come as a consequence of making the next right choice for your life,” she said. Tammy encourages you to eat better and exercise before you feel like it, because if you wait until you feel like it, that feeling may never come.
Taking action makes you feel better and the endorphins from a walk outside will change your body’s chemistry and give you the motivation to continue to make other healthy choices.
If you wait until you feel like exercising, you may sit for too long and it becomes harder and harder to motivate yourself out of that slump.
“So these are things that you’re in control of, you’re in control of what you tell yourself, you’re in control of the narrative that you tell yourself, you’re in control of making the next rate choice physically,” Tammy encourages.
First, recognize the thoughts and beliefs that are fueling your feelings. Question what you are telling yourself. Be encouraged to change what you tell yourself if it’s not the truth. If your thoughts and feelings are not serving you and bringing you into the life you want, change them. Turn to the Bible for reference and continue to tell yourself truths from God’s word.
Hide God’s word in your heart Psalm 119:11, until it easily becomes your first thought. It will take practice but God is calling you to an abundant life and it’s a practice worth establishing.
I’ve included links mentioned in the show and a way to connect with Tammy below.
Resources included in the episode:
The National Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
The website is https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Tammy Stewart, LCSW.
Podcast: Salty Therapy.
Find her on Psychology Today under Tamara Stewart, LCSW.
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