Self-Care

 Healing Minds and Transforming Lives for Better Living!

Lifestyle Approaches for Optimal Mental Health

Lifestyle and functional approaches to optimizing and restoring health do not separate mind, body, and spirit; these are seen as part of the same system. This perspective is an ancient one. For centuries, non-Western cultures viewed the mind-body-spirit connection as a pathway to prevent disease and develop interventions (Lichtenstein et al., 2017).

The Creation narrative found in Genesis 2:7 was the first to introduce the mind-body-spirit connection when God created man from the dust of the ground (physical) and breathed into man the breath of life (spirit), and man then became a living soul (mental). Moreover, Jesus began His ministry by teaching (mental), preaching (spiritual), and healing diseases of all kinds (physical) (see Matthew 4:23; Mark 1:21-39; Luke 4:15-19). This teaches us that body, spirit, and mind do not exist separately, so when it comes to our mental health, it is helpful to explore how these domains are affected and interact.

Balancing Mind, Body, and Spirit

In wholistic healing, sickness disrupts the balance of mind, body, and spirit, causing discomfort and emotional challenges. Surrendering to Divine Power and following Divine guidance safeguards our well-being, fostering harmony of mind, body, and spirit. This cooperation creates an environment where illness struggles to thrive (Lichtenstein et al., 2017; White, 1905). This idea resonates with the promise in Exodus 15:26 that following divine guidance can prevent illness.

By integrating lifestyle habits that support brain, body, and spiritual health, you can benefit from a balanced and more comprehensive approach to you well-being.  Taking care of yourself in this way effectively complements the healthcare provided by medical professionals, naturopathic practitioners, massage therapists, mental health professionals, and others (Gureje et al., 2015).

Our lifestyles greatly influence both our physical and mental health. Various factors such as stress levels, dietary choices, physical activity, substance abuse, and time spent outdoors can significantly affect the brain and overall well-being. Because of this, we offer self-care education that integrates evidence-based science and lifestyle principles found in God’s Word.

 

TRANSFORM Your Self-care

Because our lifestyles greatly influence our physical and mental health, various factors such as stress levels, dietary choices, physical activity, substance abuse, and time spent outdoors can significantly affect the brain and overall well-being. Because of this, we offer self-care education that integrates evidence-based science and lifestyle principles found in God’s Word.

We summarize these principles with the acronyms BETTER and TRANSFORM. BETTER is a framework, and TRANSFORM represents a set of natural lifestyle remedies that you can use as tools to optimize health and healing. that form a whole person, self-care system, addressing mind, body, and spirit. TRANSFORM tools are designed to be used together, contrasting with Western medicine’s tendency to isolate constituents from the whole, potentially causing imbalances or affecting the body’s incorporation of those constituents (Neimeyer et al., 2013). By embracing TRANSFORM as a comprehensive system, you shift focus from implementing singular good habits to cultivating an overall better lifestyle. See below for further details:

 


BETTER framework

The ‘B’ stands for Become Educated about Right Principles. This means we take steps to understand what is happening to us and learn the best ways to address it. This might involve reading or researching, joining a workshop, watching an education program, speaking with our healthcare providers, or speaking with others who have had similar experiences. Awareness and education are critical because this information will help us plan and decide which strategies might be the most useful for us to implement.
The 'E' stands for Emphasize Nature's Restorative Power, suggesting that while medication--whether pharmaceutical or natural--isn't always the first solution for mental health concerns, it can be part of an wholistic approach. Positive lifestyle habits are also natural and can help restore balance and support a fuller recovery. Medicinal agents can offer some relief, but if they contained all of what we need for good mental health, then we would not have the growing crisis in mental health that we have today in America and across the globe. Because conventional medicine may not have all of what we need, we're left to ask ourselves, "Where else can I look?" There is growing evidence-based research (1, 2, 3 )that lifestyle can trump, complement, or offer synergy to conventional treatments for mental health. There is also growing interest in the use of natural and complementary approaches, with 30% of Americans being open to trying it. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health,  complementary approaches include nutrition (e.g., special diets, mindful eating, dietary supplements, herbs, and probiotics), physical (e.g., massage, lifestyle), and psychological (e.g., art therapy, gratitude practice, horticultural therapy, spiritual practices, and social connections) supports.
The first ‘T’ stands for Trace and Determine the Cause. Understanding the causes behind mental health conditions is crucial because there may be multiple factors at play, such as genetics, life experiences, biological imbalances, serious medical conditions, use of alcohol, social isolation, and more. By tracing these causes, we can identify the root issues that contribute to our mental well-being. Factors like family history, traumatic experiences, and substance abuse can all impact our mental health, highlighting the importance of addressing these underlying factors for effective treatment and recovery.

 

The next ‘T’ stands for TRANSFORM Unhealthful Conditions. TRANSFORM is the acronym that represents a comprehensive set of tools that somebody can use to effect change in unhealthful mental, physical, and spiritual conditions that are contributing to uncontrolled anxiety. TRANSFORM tools will also be needed in the remaining aspects of the BETTER framework. TRANSFORM tools are: T – Trust in Divine Power; R – Rest; A – Adequate Exercise; N – Nutrition; S – Self-Mastery; F – Fresh Water; O – Oxygen; R – Rays of Sunshine; M – Mental Hygiene. These tools will need to be personalized, but they can used for general maintenance, to create conditions for healing, or to change the general level of the nervous system in the short or long term. Keep in mind that TRANSFORM tools are not “magic bullets;” instead, they create the conditions in which we can receive blessing Divine Power. In the example of the woman dealing with the issue of blood in Mark 5:24-34, we see someone who felt a desperate need and a deep longing for relief (mental). She had to press through a crowd of people to improve her opportunity to come into the presence of Jesus (physical). She believed that if she touched His garment, she would be healed (spiritual). The healing came from Jesus, yet she needed to use mental, physical, and spiritual resources to gain access to Him and receive His healing. Healing is a faith and works journey (Exodus 15:26; James 2:12-26). 

 

The last ‘E’ stands for Eliminate and Correct Wrong or Unhelpful Habits. To adjust our lifestyle successfully, it is helpful to change habits of messiness, carelessness, laziness, overworking, distorted thinking patterns, avoidance, or lack of self-discipline.These can get in the way of our progress in the right direction. We may not even be aware how some of our habits can maintain or make worse many of the symptoms that we may be experiencing. It can be helpful to examine your habits for a couple of weeks through prayer or journaling, which can help you identify habits that are going well and those that need improvements. You can then use the data from your examination or journaling to increase your awareness, which can help you make decisions on what lifestyle habits to target and create goals.
The ‘R’ stands for Render Assistance to Nature’s Efforts in Expelling Impurities and Reestablishing Right Conditions in the System. Exposure to toxins like heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, air pollution, plastic nanoparticles, mold, and allergens can heighten the risk of mental health disorders (1, 2, 3). While occasional or minor exposure may not immediately cause issues, these toxins can accumulate over time. Taking steps to reduce exposure, such as using glass containers, opting for natural products, choosing organic foods, employing air or water purifiers, and addressing mold or impurities, may be beneficial. Additionally, using natural remedies takes time and effort that some may not want to invest. Healing through lifestyle approaches is a gradual process, which might seem slow to those who are impatient for a "quick fix." Making daily efforts and giving up harmful habits involves sacrifice. However, in the end, nature works effectively when allowed to do so. Those who stick to natural laws will ultimately benefit with improved physical, mental, and spiritual health.


TRANSFORM tools
Click on each letter below:

Trust in Divine Power