A few years back, during one of my modules with uni, I came across this campaign called ‘The 5 ways to well-being’. (1) This was an eye opener, yet it totally made sense and was so logical I felt I already knew about it! It said that in order to improve your mental health and well-being whether it is suffering or not, or it needs a good ol’ boost or you just want to reinvent your mojo, then applying ‘The 5 ways to well- being’ is key. As you will see, these aspects are important in everybody’s daily lives.
1/ Connect. This is the connection we, as individuals have with other individuals, within our homes and in society. This can include family, friends and acquaintances. This connection with others is so important that without it, one can literally go mad! For instance, Stephen Kings classic, ‘The Shining’, Jack Nicholson plays the part of a writer, who in this novel, isolates himself to write and literally starts going ‘mad’. I did this myself in the past, though not intentionally, the fainting would get so bad sometimes I didn’t leave the flat for weeks on end and, although I had the kids in the evenings and a few friends pop over sometimes I would still feel as though I was climbing the walls! I got to the point where I knew I just needed to see or speak to someone. So, from this 1st point and these examples we can see how important relationships with others are and if your stuck in a rut or feeling alone you can reach out, there is usually someone, even if it’s just a neighbour, someone from your local church; you can contact the minister/ vicar or leadership team and they will come and see/ speak to you or put someone in touch with you. And obviously, God, through Jesus, by means of prayer. He is there for each and everyone of us ALL THE Time and is wanting us to “call” and speak to Him.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, recieves; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened….How much more will your Father in heavengive the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Luke 11. 9,10 & 13
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Also, the samaritains on the end of a phone, email, visit or write to them. The number for them is 116123 and they are available 24hours a day on this number.
2/ Be active. This can be anything from something simple like, taking the stairs instead of the lift or finding a new sport/ activity you might enjoy like going to the gym, on a bike ride or kicking a ball about. I used to enjoy going for run with my earphones in listening to lively worship music. Now, as am not able to get out on my own much, I encourage myself to get the exercise mat out and just do some stretching! Which is useful for anyone with disabilities or limitations in their mobility. Just anything that involves moving can increase your health and anything that gets your heart pumping releases endorphins. These, are chemicals in your brain that helps you to ‘feel good’ and the more you move about the more endorphins there are that are floating around in you, therefore lifting your spirits and increasing your mental health and well-being.
(3) Take Notice. Recognising whats going on in your present; your surroundings, smells, what you can hear can help to strengthen you and broaden your awareness. Apparently, “Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities. Heightened awareness also enhances your self-understanding and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations.” (1) This can be viewed in the secular world as being ‘mindful’. But my theory is that this can be adapted for Christianity, which is what I’ve been practising…
‘Being Mindful of Christ’ This is to do with noticing and being aware of your present surroundings, recognising what’s around us that God has blessed us with. For instance if your sitting in a park, you might notice the trees, greenery, birds, people, sunshine, children playing or at home, you may think of your clothing, furniture; what were they made from that came from the earth, e.g. cotton and wood. Just being still and ‘noticing’ these things, removing and/ or ignoring distractions; phone notifications/ TV/ radio/ people! Most importantly, I believe we need to have our focus on God; being quiet and listening to the Holy Spirit. (I am currently in the process of writing the “Being mindful of Christ” book, if your interested in knowing more feel free to ask by contacting me below but I’m also keeping the Facebook group updated as well).
(4) Learn. Learning new things either through daily life encounters and experiences but specifically intentional learning can improve self-esteem and can encourage social interactions and a more active life. There has also been evidence that by engaging in work and educational activities can help in bringing people out of depression. Doing my uni degree has helped me by having a change of focus (from toxic emotions and depressive thoughts). This also supports the suggestion that setting and having goals is associated with having higher levels of well-being, as stated in the Mind web page of ‘5 ways to well-being’. But learning can also be in the form of learning a new language, instrument, sport, short and long courses which can be done at a college, in a local community, adult classes and even online. In addition to this, bible studies are also a great way of reading and learning the bible and about the life of Jesus. This can be done on your own or in groups, you can ask in your local church if you want to be part of a small group- otherwise known as a ‘home group’, ‘care group’ or ‘cell group’. Otherwise daily devotionals can be found online, through UCB radio (2) and other christian organisations and magazines or on appropriate apps, for instance, i use the YouVersion Holy Bible app (3) the plans on there cover a whole range of topics and subjects in relation to the bible.
(5) Give. Giving isn’t just about giving a physical item to someone else but also your time. By being available to others, participating within society and your local community and giving an ‘act of kindness’ to others can also benefit personal well- being. We can do this by volunteering in a charity shop, helping someone cross the road, doing some shopping for someone or asking at church if there is anything you can help with, there’s usually something, for instance, helping with refreshments, welcoming, setting up or assisting with the PA. The possibilities and opportunities are endless, you just need to look around and ask and the chances are.
So, by applying these five suggestions my life, I began to see the benefits in my own mental health and wellbeing and with this I came to discover more about Christ and my goals and purpose within my life too and so can we all. Until next time, blessings.