Mental health and spirituality are factors that affect our daily lives. Our community has longed viewed spirituality and a relationship to God as the sole answer for dealing with difficult times. However, I am a firm believer that faith without works is dead. Mental health and spirituality share a close relationship. Hence, the push in recent years to include spirituality in therapy. Clinicians are ethically bound to address cultural concerns that affect clients. Spirituality does not relate to religion – which is institution based – but focuses on the broader understanding that humans are spiritual beings and possess a soul that is connected to the larger universe.
In the Black community, spirituality has long been a crucial part of our lives. Our spirituality connects us to our ancestors and to God. Spirituality has helped past generations overcome severe traumas. Our connections with God have been used as reasons as to why we do not need to seek any further assistance. However, spirituality is a holistic experience that should factor into all areas of our lives as it affects how we view ourselves, and our connections to others and the world-at-large. In addition, it is not that our ancestors did not have mental health issues, these issues would be undiagnosed due to past mental health misconceptions as well as lack of access to supportive services.It is not that our ancestors did not have mental health issues, these issues would be undiagnosed due to past mental health misconceptions Click To Tweet
Spirituality operates on faith. Faith in something bigger than ourselves. Faith in understanding that much of life is built on unseen principles that govern our world. It is easy to just rely on faith for changes and just as easy to say that God is not present in our lives when we don’t get our desired results. This removes any control from us personally and places it solely on God. But belief in the principle of connectedness highlights that each person has a place and a contribution to make. God gives us freewill to make choices about our lives. These principles demonstrate that God wants us to play an active role in our own lives and we cannot do this solely by faith.
Spirituality focuses on interconnectedness and finding the balance in life. Being a spiritual person recognizes that we all have a place in this universe and teaches principles of togetherness, faith, hope, humanity, mortality, lovingkindness, peace, light, truth, and joy. God is love. God is concerned about His children and is connected to us through His spirit. We are spiritual beings because God’s spirit lives in us and keeps us connected to Him. Being a spiritual person can improve our mental health because it deeply affects the mindsets, perceptions, values, and emotions that we hold onto. It teaches us positivity when our mindsets are skewered towards to the negative.
Just as God allows free will, so He provides us with tools. Many of us experience confusion because we have not taken the time to learn about God. We have not taken the time to learn about God as a person and so we make judgments and project our own opinions onto God which makes us upset when we do not get what we want. Therapy is a tool that we can all utilize. It is no different than school which is a tool to be utilized to help us move forward in our lives. Therapy is not a replacement for God, nor can it ever be. Being a spiritual person does not remove pain and hurt, trauma, betrayal, and disasters from our lives. Mental health care is a practice of caring for our thoughts and emotions which change daily based on our experiences. Self-care focuses on the holistic care of us, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. One does not diminish the other.Mental health care is a practice of caring for our thoughts and emotions which change daily based on our experiences. Self-care focuses on the holistic care of us, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Click To Tweet
God did not promise a pain free existence on Earth. He did not promise that we would be free from ailments. We do not second-guess going to see a medical doctor for a physical ailment that we can see, but we delay seeing a practitioner for mental health concerns. Our faith is also evident in the mental health practices we employ in our lives because we often do not see mental health scars until it is too late.
How Can Mental Health and Spirituality Work Together For UsReleasing negative behaviors and habits frees us from unnecessary stress and worry allowing us to live a life more aligned with God and His purposes and brings us greater peace. Click To Tweet
Those who have experienced a personal relationship with God have learnt that God works from the inside out. He starts working on us internally to change negative thought patterns, behaviors, and maladaptive coping mechanisms to bring out a healthier person who can manifest His purposes. Mental Health practices help us to develop skills and coping mechanisms that allow us to better manage ourselves and our emotions so that we can create healthier lives. Why do they have to be exclusive? Developing healthier coping skills and habits strengthens our mindsets and increases our value to our environments. Becoming clearer on who we are can only strengthen our spirituality as we gain clarity about our places in the universe. Releasing negative behaviors and habits frees us from unnecessary stress and worry allowing us to live a life more aligned with God and His purposes and brings us greater peace.