God’s desire is that we would prosper in every area of our lives: spirit, soul, and body. In fact, this is why He sent Jesus to die for us, so that we could experience abundant life spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
Many are familiar with the idea of physical and spiritual health, but what does it look like to grow in emotional health?
3 John 1:2 says, “Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” (AKJV). Prosperity in life begins with your soul! In other words, emotional health is key to experiencing health in every other part of your life.
Today, we want to share 5 tools with you that will help you grow in emotional health. As school leaders, we believe these tools will bring refreshment and grace into your lives so that you can continue to lead your school out of abundance–spiritually, physically, AND emotionally.
1. Understand Your Needs
Emotional health begins with understanding your needs. Many believers often feel shame over the fact that they have needs because they are believing a lie that it’s not ok to have them. The truth is we were created to be dependent on Jesus and interdependent with one another. God doesn’t despise our needs; He understands them and is passionate about helping us get them met in healthy ways.
If there is dysfunction in our lives, it’s probably because we have unmet needs. Instead of being self-aware and proactively getting our needs met in a healthy way, we often numb ourselves in order to stop feeling pain. While this approach might be helpful for a moment, it leaves the human heart dry and unsatisfied. Therefore, learning how to get our emotional needs met in a healthy way is of utmost importance.
So, what do you need? We encourage you to write down a list with three categories: spirit, soul, and body. Then under each category, write down several needs you have.
While emotional health generally relates to the needs of your soul, tending to your spirit and body needs are important, as well. For example, your soul might be in great health, but if you aren’t sleeping or praying, your overall health will suffer. Tending to each category of needs is the pathway to sustainable health.
Here is an example list to help you get started:
Now, for every need you wrote down on your list, what is one way you can get that need met healthily? Make sure to keep it practical and simple so you’ll actually do it!
2. Reach Out to Community
Maintaining your emotional health is not something you can achieve on your own. It’s fostered within the confines of loving, safe relationships with other people. Emotional health happens inside community!
To the same degree that we were made to embrace dependency upon Jesus, we were also made to embrace community. Engaging in community is not just a nice option; it is our purpose as followers of Jesus to live fully present and alive in the Body of Christ. Relationships within community naturally meet so many of our needs for connection, intimacy, and fun. You will foster and grow in emotional health as you engage in community.
How do you find community? It starts with a simple “yes” and continues with a few risks. For example, reach out to peers with whom you can be honest and vulnerable. Tell them you want to share your heart with them and create a safe place for them to do the same. Also, find mentors who will pour into you. Fathers and mothers are an integral part of the Christian walk and none of us can make it without them.
3. Journal Your Thoughts
Each day, your human brain has thousands of thoughts. Leaving these thoughts unprocessed can damage emotional health. It is therefore vitally important to create space in your life to process your thoughts.
Journaling is a brilliant tool that can help you grow in emotional health. We encourage you to make journaling a regular part of your routine. Write down Scripture, thoughts, ideas, dreams, or what you feel God is saying to you. Write down your fears or areas in which you need growth. Writing is powerful because it allows our minds to rest since we have actively done something with all the thoughts inside them. It also helps us recognize lies that we are believing and gives us opportunities to discover truth.
Another great reason to journal regularly is so you can look back on your journal from months and years past and see the changes that have taken place in your life. It’s so encouraging to remember words God spoke to you or seasons He brought you through. Gaining this perspective reveals God’s goodness in our lives and helps us grow in emotional health.
4. Connect to Your Heart
Being connected to your heart is one of the most important factors of emotional health. Too often, we get stuck in our heads and forget to stay in touch with our hearts. Many people live their whole lives analyzing life with their minds while their hearts remain unheard and numb. Did you know that you can talk to your heart and find out what it needs?
To tap into connection with your heart, find a quiet place to settle into. As your brain becomes quiet, begin to speak to your heart. You can even say out loud to your heart, “Heart, I want to hear what you have to say. Please speak to me.” Then listen to what your heart says. Living from this place of connection to your heart is a powerful tool that will help you prosper!
5. Invest in Creativity
You were made in the image of the Creator. Therefore, you are creative. Accepting this aspect of your identity in Christ is important to emotional health because it provides an outlet through which you can process things. Again, the endless treadmill of thoughts our brains can get stuck in doesn’t lead to life. Sometimes in order to truly express ourselves, we must shut down our brains and turn on our creativity .
So grab a paintbrush! Write a song! Take a photograph! Organize your closet! Do whatever brings you life in creativity and engage your emotions along the way. You’ll be amazed to discover how your soul will thrive when you make intentional time to be creative.
Make It a Lifestyle
We hope you find these tools helpful as you pursue emotional health in your life. Remember, Jesus paid for your whole being to thrive. That includes your spirit, soul, and body. May you be encouraged to access the emotional health Jesus has for you and continue to shine for His glory!