Faith and Mental Health

From the desk of Carrie Haugen,

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

When I read that verse, I get reassurance that He will guide me through life and help me overcome whatever challenges come my way. But – does that mean I’ll never experience stress, anxiety, depression, body image concerns, or any of the other mental health disorders or symptoms? I wish!

Faith and mental health are two topics that are challenging to talk about but shouldn’t be. 

If we’re a follower of Christ, shouldn’t we be shouting that from the rooftops? 

If we’re struggling, shouldn’t we be able to put ourselves and our needs first to get back on track? Why is it so hard to tell others when we need a little extra help or need some reassurance?

Three years ago, I finally realized that I couldn’t handle everything on my own and listened to the inner voice (and many trusted people) telling me to seek out professional help – I scheduled an appointment with a counselor. Goodness, did that change my life!

You may not be at the point where you need to see a counselor or therapist, but we can all admit we have a lot on our plates and it’s tough to manage.

What do I learn in those one-hour sessions with a counselor? It’s ok to talk about it. We have to remove the stigma – and that applies to both mental health AND faith! 

I’m not a mental health expert nor am I a perfect Christian. But I have learned to talk about both and have made small changes that make a big difference:

  1. Listen to the experts – find resources that are sharing great content and get comfortable sharing their content. Even sharing one of their Instagram posts, or a podcast episode that sticks out to you, can make a difference for someone else! My favorite podcasts are Work, Redefined (for faith) and Therapy Thoughts (for mental health).
  2. Breathe in God, Breathe out Stress/Anxiety/Worry. I repeat this phrase while taking deep breaths to quiet my mind and reset.
  3. Feel Deal Heal – coined from Tiffany Roe of Mindful Counseling in Orem, UT (follow her Instagram @heytiffanyroe. You won’t regret it). Feel your emotions, deal with your emotions and figure out what is actually causing the emotions, and then allow yourself to heal and move on.
  4. Pray. Pray while you walk. Pray while you drive. Pray while you’re working. Pray for your family, your friends, your coworkers, your dog, the stranger on the street, the person you see on TV. Learn to make prayer a regular part of your day – it doesn’t have to be just before you or only before you sleep at night. The cool thing about prayer is you can do it anywhere! 
  5. Express gratitude – thank God for everything. Use gratitude to remember the good that is around you.

Mental health won’t always be solved by committing yourself to faith. But, with God on your side, He is going to lead you to the right people and tools to help you overcome whatever comes your way. Learn to find ways to take care of yourself and your faith and you, too, can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. 

I would love to connect with you and hear your story!

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