Just as the Church is one body with many parts, so is the human person. We know that each human person possesses a soul, a mind, and a body. At our best, and when cared for properly, these aspects complement each other in a complete, integrated harmony. God desires that these aspects become ordered so that there is one will among them, the will of God. However, we are imperfect as humans. Our will is not always perfectly aligned with God’s. When our will departs from His, and we strive after something else, we actually fail to care for ourselves. If we don’t care for ourselves spiritually, mentally, or physically, the lack of care in one aspect will affect the other two, and destroy our balanced and integrated health.
Particularly, when we neglect our spiritual health, problems can powerfully manifest in psychological and physical ways (https://cmfcuro.com/2020/02/04/mental-health-feb-2020/). The manifestation might be relatively subtle, like feelings of anxiety or irritation. Sometimes though, the stress from a lack of spiritual care can lead to great suffering and pain and become overwhelming! And without spiritual health, it is particularly difficult to find hope in suffering.
Living integrated and balanced lives, with an emphasis on spiritual health, helps us to overcome the daily stress and the suffering we all endure. When we center ourselves on God, we gain the perspective we need to reclaim our identity and live fully alive, aligning our will with His will. We once again reclaim our purpose and obtain hope through the healing from Our Divine Physician. This is not only a daily task and the path to sanctification, but the path to living a healthy life.
Here are some spiritual practices that may benefit your mental health in your journey to live fully integrated in body, mind, and soul:
Start your day with fifteen to sixty minutes of mental prayer
It is clinically proven (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/talking-about-men/201912/prayer-and-mental-health) that people who engage in forms of mental prayer experience reduced rates of anxiety and tend to report a higher quality of life! Thankfully, you have a God who desires to speak with you and listen to your heart. Why not speak with Him at the start of each day? After all you were made to receive Him!
Helpful-tip: start small! Build up to your desired time of mental prayer! If you start with too much prayer time, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Our capacity expands with action!
Incorporate prayer with the things that you are already doing
Busy with the kids, work, or maintaining your household responsibilities? Or busy with all of these at once? Why not challenge yourself to pray with certain markers of your day such as beginning work, eating, or dropping the kids off at school? This not only allows you to connect with God on a deeper level, but reminds you that loving Him and loving your family is the reason you do these things.
Maintain a Sacramental Life
When we receive the Divine Physician Himself into the core of our very being on a regular basis in the Eucharist, we allow Him to heal us – soul, mind, and body – even more intimately and completely!
Gratitude Gratitude Gratitude
Findings in positive psychology (https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier) suggest that people who express gratitude tend to live happier lives! It not only allows us to build stronger relationships but can be a powerful connection to Our Lord through allowing us to recognize the blessings He provides. Cultivating gratitude can be done in many different ways, such as keeping a gratitude journal, writing thank-you notes, or simply showing greater levels of appreciation for those in your life.
On your journey to live more fully alive in Christ, we hope that these mental health tips will help you cultivate a healthy psychology and vibrant spirituality!