The third and final element in this series on New Year’s resolutions is how to care for your mind. Centering your mind and soul doesn’t only serve to improve your outlook on life and your relationships, but it can also benefit your physical condition and spiritual life.
Here are five ways you can refocus and care for your mental/emotional self:
1. Quiet Time and Meditation: Spending time in prayer and meditating on the Word will allow you to relax your mind and make room for the peace that God has promised you. Psalm 1:2-3 says that those who meditate on God’s Word “are like trees planted by streams of water, which yields their fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither—whatever they do prospers.”
2. Exercise: If you take the time to research benefits of exercise, you will find that many of them are related to mental and emotional health. There have been many studies proving that working out releases endorphins in your brain that create feelings of happiness and euphoria. This is why many doctors recommend scheduling gym-time for people who experience extreme anxiety and depression. In addition to that benefit, neurologists have also found that cardiovascular exercise helps increase levels of the BDNF protein in your brain that assists in decision-making, higher thinking, and learning (Huffington Post). Turns out making some time for the gym can actually help you in school — there goes one excuse about why you can’t go!
3. Journaling: It should come as no surprise that writing out your thoughts and feelings can help refocus your mind. Next time you feel too scatterbrained to study or finish up a project, try taking 5-10 minutes to free-write and let out those distracting thoughts.
4. Utilize Discipleship: This simply means that if you feel like you aren't functioning your best mentally or emotionally, seek advice from someone you trust. If you are a member of the discipleship program at Wesley, you have literally been given someone who was appointed to comfort you and provide insight about these things. If you aren’t a part of the program, talk to friends or family members who know you and are willing to listen. Even if they don’t give great advice about how to move forward, sometimes simply talking it out instead of trying to bottle up all of your thoughts can be quite healing.
5. Prioritize Rest: This point is simple. If you’re not allowing yourself time to rest — whether it be sleeping, watching Netflix, reading a good book, hanging out with friends, etc. — your brain hasn't been given time to recharge, and it will not function at its best when you need it to. Sleep deprivation has been proven to lead to decline in performance, anxiety, depression, anger problems, and so on. The general rule is: be nice to your body, and your body will be nice to you. Also, remember that God intentionally created us to need rest. Even He rested on the 7th day of creation (not that He needed to) — so what does that tell you about us as humans? I know schedules can be crazy and school often asks way too much of people, but making your schedule around time for your rest is worth it. Listen to your body, and make sleep and relaxation just as important as all of your other daily tasks!
Thank you for being a God who loves us and always wants the best for us. I pray that I, and everyone who is reading, would learn how to take care of our minds and our emotions. Give us new perspectives on how to honor ourselves as your temples. In all that we do, come and meet us there. Your Spirit makes all good and peaceful things possible. I pray that this year would be marked by a new wave of peace, balance, and harmony in our lives.
Thank you for all that you are, all that you do, and all that you have in store for us.
Author | Meredith Ashburn