You're a complete package – your body and mind don't work without each other. God took care of Elijah's body before engaging his brain.
The brain is constantly adapting. -Maryanne Wolf
If you click through this website, you'll see articles about exercise, sleep, and taking better care of yourself. It might look like we're just telling you how to get in shape and take care of your physical body, instead of about mental health. But don't be deceived by appearances. We're still laser-focused on mental health, and this article, in particular, is full of tangible steps you can take to improve your mental health. Sometimes the physical things are the first step on the road to feeling better.
In the Depression article, we talked about the prophet Elijah's low point. Right after God won a massive victory though him on Mt. Carmel, Elijah was overcome by feelings of failure and ran for his life into the wilderness.
“I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. (1 Kings 19:4-5 NIV).
But God didn't forget about Elijah. He knew exactly what his exhausted prophet needed.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again (1 Kings 19:5-6 NIV).
So Elijah went back to sleep. Later the angel visited him again "and touched him, and said, 'Get up and eat.'" And after eating a second time, Elijah was ready for the long journey to Mt. Sinai, where he talked with God about his feelings of failure. God listened to Elijah, heard his pain, and helped him find a solution as a wise leader should. But before God did any of that, he took care of Elijah's physical needs.
God knew that Elijah could not confront his feelings while he was overwhelmed by fear, hunger, or exhaustion. And if those things were hard for Elijah to ignore, they're probably a big deal for us, too. That's why the first step to feeling better is taking care of the physical needs that affect our mental health.
Exercise makes your brain stronger
Physical activity increases the size of your brain. Mental health, cognitive function, and memory improve, and stress, depression, and anxiety lessen.
Sleep is a time for your brain to heal and process your emotions. Getting a healthy amount of sleep at consistent times is a crucial part of recovery.
Even food can help
Healthy diet, especially a Mediterranean diet with healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, is brain fuel. It gives your mind the power to process more clearly. And when you think better, you can more easily see past the negative thoughts that depression and anxiety invent.
Keep reading to learn how to take care of your body, and grow your brainpower. This booklet you can download at the end of this article is chock full of healthy tips that will give you the competitive edge over depression and anxiety.
So go! Read! Find out how to feed your body's needs and grow your mind. We believe in you!