Our July mini-series–Mind Games–has come to an end! In Part 1 of the series, guest speaker Pastor Patrick Norris delivered an empowering message filled with strategies for managing stress, panic, depression, and anger. We discovered the importance of understanding the triad of mental health and human flourishing and also learned protocols for taking the best possible care of each of the 3 primary areas of our lives: soul + spirit, mind + body, and social + interpersonal. Be sure to watch the replay and read the blog post for all the wisdom and truth he shared on that subject!
Following Part 1, members of our church sent in questions surrounding mental health and wellness for Pastor Patrick to answer and in Conversations on Mental Health, he did just that! We’re diving into more of the wisdom and knowledge he deposited into our church this month and you’ll also find an in-depth compilation of resources available to further help us along our journey toward mental health and wellness at the end of this post! Let’s take a look at all the questions we asked + all the insights Pastor Patrick shared with us!
Simply put, the first sign that you’re not in a great place with your mental health is noticing a struggle with managing your emotions. In the diagnostic manual that psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors use, there are generally mild, moderate, and severe qualifiers for thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Finding it challenging to manage emotions sometimes looks like finding yourself feeling sad, irritable, angry, or anxious and those feelings are seemingly unexplainable or uncontrollable.In addition to self-assessing how you feel internally, it is also beneficial to pay attention to our external, physical symptoms. These symptoms often look like frequent upset stomachs that aren’t related to food, fidgety fingers or a tapping foot, difficulty sleeping regularly, and even unintentionally losing weight.
If these early alarms start going off, it may be time to start exploring professional help. Psychologists and counselors have not only trained and learned the signs to look for, but they also have tools and resources to help you navigate challenging times. Keep reading for an in-depth list of both national and local beneficial resources!
It’s helpful to start with a baseline understanding of “anxiety” before further exploring social anxiety, specifically. Keep in mind, anxiety in and of itself isn’t necessarily bad. In Scripture, we see two sides of anxiety. In Philippians chapter 4, we’re told to be anxious for nothing…which refers to the chronic side of anxiety where the stress and worry are so overwhelmingly unmanageable that you find yourself catastrophizing. This is when we operate under a victim’s mindset, embodying powerlessness.
However, in the New Testament, the Greek word for “being anxious” promotes awareness and activating toward certain results and outcomes. Fundamentally, anxiety is a healthy thing that motivates us into action. An issue arises when we transition from empowerment of anxiety to powerlessness under anxiety.
If anxiety reaches a chronic, unmanageable state, it then induces physical ailments, ruminations, or extreme emotions of shutting down or firing up. Again, if you sense the transition from empowered to powerless happening with your own anxieties, start exploring options for professional help, counseling, and guidance.
Every great building starts with a great foundation. In Part 1 of our Mind Games series, Pastor Patrick focused on the triad of mental health and human flourishing. As you’ll remember, our spirit + soul component–where cognition, emotion, and willpower all originate–is fundamental to who we are. To best continue growth and development on our mental health journey, we must understand the symbiotic relationship between our soul + spirit and our mind + body–the two aspects of us are dependent upon each other.
Some of the best ways to engage our spirit + soul in our mental health journey is by spending regular time interacting with the Word of God. His Word is quick, powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword! It divides and distributes energy into our spirit and soul. Another thing to consider is that when we don’t concern ourselves much with sin, sin will negatively impact us by damaging our spirit and soul. Yes, we need coping tools and mechanisms in place for managing our mind + body and social + interpersonal pieces of ourselves, but a whole-health-self begins with our spirit + soul.
When it comes to our mind + body, quality sleep is profoundly important. There’s rarely a quick fix for our emotional state; healing emotionally requires physical effort, too. This looks like maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, prioritizing sleep, and putting appropriate personal boundaries in place. Ignoring our physical being doesn’t just degrade our body, it degrades our mental state, too. If you’d like to read more on this subject, check our Dr. Mark Hyman’s research surrounding the relationship between food + exercise and our mental health.
Also be sure to research and implement cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT). This methodology is wildly popular among psychologists and counselors alike, and for good reason. This modality highlights the working relationship between your body + mind that can radically impact your overall mental health. Check it out!
Naming your feelings may sound beyond simple, but it’s actually much more difficult than you may think! To help with accurately identifying your feelings, start by Googling “feeling wheel” and you’ll discover different emotions that you may be experiencing separated into categories (Or click here!). The wheel may seem overwhelming at first, but once you begin reading through the lists, you’ll likely identify with a certain emotion–it will just “click” for you.
Once you identify the feeling or emotional experience, your next step is to explore the meaning behind the feeling. What is the narrative that you’re hearing and believing that’s evoking this emotion? It’s a way of tracing your steps backwards to ultimately treat the “root” of the problem instead of simply treating the “fruit” of the issue.
Now that you’ve named the feeling, it’s time to tame the feeling. This is done through a practical process known as “cognitive reframing” in which you flip the script, so to say, on your intrusive thoughts and negative belief patterns. By grabbing hold of that intrusive thought and then challenging the truth, reality, and validity of that feeling, we’re able to eliminate the enemy-inflicted judgment we’re experiencing and instead operate from the safety, confidence, and empowerment of God’s love!
Reading our Bible and studying God’s word fuels us with ammunition against the enemy’s attacks, both spiritually and mentally. When we’re surrounded by conflicting information and struggling to differentiate the truth from misleading information, our best bet is to lean into God’s Word and use His guidance, grace, and understanding to combat and overcome adversity.
The key here is to build a deep and rich foundation on the Rock! By combining the truth of God’s Word with neurological empowerment cycles, we become capable of great thoughts through Christ! When we’re planted firmly in the understanding of God’s sovereignty, we face problems with biblical solutions and confidence. Amen!
There are 4 different styles of attachment theory, all of which Pastor Patrick Norris covers in great detail in Conversations on Mental Health (so be sure to watch this message!). In science, a “theory” has credible, substantial reasonings behind it. Attachment is fundamentally about how our inner emotional and mental world initially adapted to and relates with our family of origin. Simply put, “attachment” explains how you have adjusted to being able to get your needs met. This includes soul + spirit, mind + body, and social + interpersonal needs. Believe it or not, our attachment patterns are set and developed by the time we turn 1 years old!
Our attachment style not only impacts the way we parent our children, but it also affects our other relationships as well! The fundamental instincts you’ve adopted in response to your attachment style can only be shifted in minor ways. But fear not! If you identify with one of the 3 insecure attachment styles, you can gain and practice the tools necessary to counteract any of them so that you’re then able to function as a securely attached human being. *whew!* Let’s take a look at the 4 styles and their meanings:
There is no shame in needing medication to assist in your mental health journey just like there isn’t shame in needing medicine related to your physical health, whether it be strep throat or diabetes or hyperthyroidism or beyond!
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart does good like a medicine.” Just because medicine is intended to be good doesn’t mean everybody needs medicine to thrive. In some cases, regular exercise can be more effective for an individual than an antidepressant. In other cases, medication very well may be the best suitable option for the condition in that season.
Here’s the deal: Medication is not one-size-fits-all! There’s no magic pill for everyone; seeking tailored treatment from a professional is pivotal in a safe, effective healing journey that includes medication. If you need to be medicated, you’ll be so grateful that you’re taking the steps necessary to accomplish healing! Sure, you may not need medication long term or indefinitely, but we should give ourselves the best opportunity in the here and now, regardless of our current starting point!
In Conversations on Mental Health, Pastor Patrick Norris continues to answer mental health-related questions surrounding topics like addiction, sexual immoralities, and more…so be sure to watch his message in full and soak up all the wisdom and knowledge he has to share with us! Plus, keep reading for a phenomenal guide of national and local mental health resources designed to help us on our journey toward mental health and wellness. God bless you!
Online Conference with Patrick Norris and Dr. Todd Bowman.
Saturday, August 20, 9:00AM-1:00PM CST - $50 per person.
Register at www.redinkrevival.com/storywork
At the end of the conference they will promote a 6-Week StoryWork Drill Down, where Dr. Bowman and Patrick will give weekly story worksheets and help everyone navigate and discover their own story.
Marriage & Sex ○ The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert - Dr. John Gottman ○ Love & Respect - Dr. Emerson Eggerichs ○ Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship - Dr. Stan Tatkin, PsyD ○ Passionate Marriage: Love, Sex, and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationships - Dr. David Schnarch ○ Courageous Love: A Couple’s Guide to Conquering Betrayal - Dr. Stephanie Carnes
Pornography, Sexual Additon & Sexual Brokeness
Christian Mental Health Services