Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from anxiety but it’s not only women who suffer. Depression and stress also impact men and all three impact people of all ages and from different walks of life. In these very uncertain (and some may say) perilous times of pandemic, many are struggling to come to terms with the new reality. Most of us are waiting to get back to normal, whatever the new normal is. Just turn on the news and ¾ of the reporting is about the virus or the impact that it is having worldwide. Then add to that Afghanistan and we can be left feeling that life is quite hopeless.
Thankfully, if you know Jesus as your personal Saviour, there is always hope. Hope that God has got this. Hope in a better tomorrow. Hope that we will be carried and we will be better for that.
Over the next weeks, I will be discussing yours and my mental health on 96threefm radio – I encourage you to listen in or listen to the replays from the sound cloud on 96three FM. I will be talking about two major aspects as remedies for anxiety, depression, stress and many other mental health issues that we face today. The two streams of remedies or as psychology calls them interventions will be firstly the scientific and research interventions that are commonly used for mental health issues and then secondly the faith way to deal with our difficulties.
Let me begin by saying we are not just a single person with a single way of evaluating ourselves but we are in fact viewed through the psychological lens of the biopsychosocial model – with some psychologists now adding spiritual. So we comprise of these four aspects and each aspect influences, impacts and bounces off the others. We can’t really begin to get well in any area without looking at all three areas of the whole person.
I’m going to give you a very brief snapshot of some interventions that are psychologically and/or faith based according to the four aspects of the biopsychosocial spiritual of our makeup.
Firstly, when we are talking about the biological or the physical aspect, our body is governed by the brain which is also a biological unit, impacting the rest of our body. To look after oneself, one needs to remember that what we do physically and how our biological body is running, will impact our emotions, our relationships and everything else in our life. So the bottom line is that self-care needs to happen to support the physical engine room. It should not be optional and includes physical exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep, having regular checkups and drinking enough water. In other words, this means being very conscious of what our body requires for optimum health and providing that. This is imperative if you want the other areas to also be optimum. The difference exercise has made in my life is remarkable. You probably know that I swim in a wet suit and in very cold water when we are in lockdown. Do I enjoy this? Not really! Is it worth the pain? Absolutely! Kilos begin to drop and I feel like a million dollars afterwards.
Now let me address the psychological area. This is a big component of our whole makeup and how we feel emotionally, impacts how our body physically functions, how our relationships work and even how we feel about God. Including all parts of the biopsychosocial spiritual model is important as each one greatly influences the others. So I will look at some psycho