What is Mind Wellness? [Clarification Series, Part 1 of 4]
NOTE: I decided to do a series clarifying what I mean when I talk about thought lives and mind health. This is the first in a series of four. I will be talking about mind wellness, toxic thoughts, truth, and building a strong foundation for our thought lives. We will start this series off by figuring out what I mean by mind wellness.
Mind wellness is something I am particularly passionate about for a number of reasons but I I won't go into those just yet. It's kind of a 'made up' term which warrants some clarification. I am not about to take credit for the term as I am sure it exists out there somewhere. It's just not something I have heard a lot about. A more common term is mental wellness. Which is similar but I consider it to be different enough that I needed another term. So as we look into the concept of mind wellness, we'll start by looking into what mental wellness is and then move on to my somewhat made up term. According to WHO mental wellness is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” That's fairly straightforward and I can't really complain about the definition. However, the reason I have started using the term Mind Wellness instead of mental wellness is because mental wellness is often used as the antidote/solution to mental illness. I don't agree with that and I will explain to you why I don't. Mental illness is two fold or could even be considered two different problems. There is an illness of the brain and an illness of the mind. I believe that because they are different things and that they will need to be treated differently. I believe it is possible to have illness of the mind without illness of the brain. Let me explain, as a Christian, I believe the brain is an organ, part of my body which is temporary and the mind is part of my soul which is eternal. I feel like this is an important difference to note because often the brain and the mind are seen the same thing and therefore people demonize mental illness. Before I go further, I should clarify that I am not a theologian or psychologist or anything fancy like that. These are things I have wrestled with and studied for years. I am simply sharing the conclusions I have reached. I highly encourage you to study into it yourself and come to your own conclusion. Now that that's out of the way, we can move forward. The brain can malfunction and get ill. An example of a brain malfunctioning would be epilepsy. The brain is not a perfect organ, it did not escape the curse. The mind, part of your spirit can get ill as well, in fact because I am a Christian I believe the mind starts out ill, due to our sin nature. When your brain gets sick with a mental illness, like depression, doctors believe that it's actually due to poor neurotransmitter transmission/communication. To fix that they will recommend that you go on antidepressant medication. If you have a mental illness, I don't believe that mental wellness is going to cure that, I don't even believe that mind wellness will. I believe pursuing mind wellness will help, I also believe that sometimes God reaches down and heals a person's brain and they won't need medication/help. But I believe that a large portion of humanity, myself included, will need medication/help to truly take care of the issue. To take care of mind illness I believe you need two things, a relationship with Jesus and an awareness of your thought life, you may also benefit from having a Christian therapist. I believe that mental illness can further pollute your mind, making your mind illness even worse. As I said before, I also believe that you can have mind illness without having mental illness. Does that make sense? If it doesn't, let me know, I would be happy to try to clear things up.
Ok so, mind wellness according to Brittany, which is what actually started this whole post, is essentially, " a state of peace and security, the knowledge that one is loved and valued unconditionally, the confidence to make decisions through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the wisdom to determine and annihilate the lies of the enemy because of one's relationship with Truth, as well as the ability to love others as God has called one to love." That's a little lengthy and probably a bit more personalized than what the people at WHO would write but hey, it gives you an idea of what I am talking about. I believe this will look a little bit different for everyone. The short definition would be, "a state where you are at peace with yourself, God, and others as well as your lot & calling in life. " I believe we pursue mind wellness spiritually. I believe there are some things you can do, like exercise for example that are not exactly spiritual per say but still improve both the health of your brain and your mind. I will most likely reference both spiritual and more 'commonplace' methods in the future. But I believe that true healing of mind illness only comes through Jesus, that is my foundation and every thing I say on the subject will be based on that.
I believe mind illness is something everyone has. I believe it is a topic that has been seriously neglected by the church. Outside of purity culture our thought lives have been very rarely discussed. I believe it's something we need to well, thinkabout, investigate what the Word says about, and something we need to actively pursue. Mind wellness doesn't happen overnight, it takes a TON of work. But as believers, it is something we must pursue and we have the comfort of knowing we do nothing on our own in fact we can move forward in the confidence that it will happen because God is a redeemer of all things. The Word says we are to love the Lord with all our mind (Mark 12:30), we are to destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), we are to think about whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, (Philippians 4:8) as well as excellent and praiseworthy things. It's important stuff. But less known. So fasten your seat belts, I'm gonna talk about it 'till I'm blue in the face and you get bored silly.😄
I understand that this is a pretty controversial topic. I understand if you take issue with my viewpoint. To be honest, I have never come out and said what I really think on this subject because of how controversial it is. I want you to know that I love discussions. A discussion is where you share your different view points, think deeply, and the goal is to understand each other better, if someone changes their mind, fine, but it's not the end goal. I HATE fights. Fights are where you call each other names and assume you know what the other is thinking, it is manipulative and ugly. A fights end goal is to prove how right you are and how wrong the other person is. The reason I am saying all that is this, if I detect any kind of 'fighting' going on in the comments or coming into my emails, I will simply hit delete. I WILL NOT TOLERATE FIGHTS. But please know, I do welcome any kind of discussion.
I am looking forward to talking about this more but until then, let me know what you think. Is this a new concept for you?