Monday Mental Health: What’s under the surface has a big impact

May 2018 is Mental Health Month. Last week, we looked at the similarities between our physical health and our mental health. We’ll expand on that today, since both areas can be strongly influenced by things happening inside us that we don’t feel or recognize.

Our health is influenced by things we don’t even recognize are influencing us.

If we only focus on how we feel, we may miss some really important truths about our health. Physically, there are internal problems which may take years to trigger bad feelings. High cholesterol is a problem before you feel it. Diabetes may be impacting you before you start to feel bad.

This same connection is true for our mental health. Sometimes, your body is experiencing difficult things which we do not immediately connect to our emotions. Think about stress for a moment. The typical lists of the “most stressful life events” include many positive things! But stress still impacts your mental health. It is typically a good thing to get married, to get a job promotion, or to send a child off to college. But these good experiences do create stress, and eventually our body will respond to stress, often times through emotional outbursts, difficulty sleeping, distractibility, or other reactions that we may not quickly connect back to the stress.

Stress is not the only thing that lies under the surface, invisible before we feel its impact. If you change your diet or exercise patterns, this will impact your emotional experience. If you pray fervently for something and God does not answer that prayer in the way you want, it may be months before you realize that there is anger bubbling under the surface, which may be impacting you in unseen ways.

Consider the things going on in the full spectrum of your life experience.This may include your relationships, spirituality, diet and exercise, quality of sleep, job prospects, confidence, media intake, and social experiences – and much more. If some area of life is a struggle, it will be helpful to pray over this area, identify strengths and struggles, and invest in strengthening that area even before you feela problem.

Written by Jessica Hayes
iHope Executive Director