SELF CARE SATURDAYS

Gospel Care

Thoughts, Feelings, and Behavior

May 23, 2020

The central premise of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is that thoughts/beliefs, feelings, and behavior are all interconnected. How you perceive a situation and interpret it often determines how you feel and what you do.

Healthy Thoughts

  • To replace negative/inaccurate thoughts, try Contemplative Prayer to help remember truths of the Bible and apply them to your thought process.

“Whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, if there is any excellence, anything worth of praise, think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

Healthy Behavior

  • Participate in pleasant activities improve mood. We cannot always remove the source of the negative events but things can be improved by increasing the number of positive events.
    Sefer HaChinuch (medieval teaching on the 613 commandments) writes, “Know that a man is influenced in accordance with his actions. His heart and thoughts follow after his deeds…look carefully at what you do, for after your actions your heart will be drawn.”

Healthy Feelings

  • Identify someone to interact with, support, and pray. The goal is to increase social support, provide ways to care, increase sense of purpose, and evoke gratitude.
    Lamentation, Gratitude, and Altruism all contribute to elevated mood.
Adapted by National Center for Biotechnology Information

Benefits of Altruism: Living Compassionately and Generously

May 16, 2020

Evidence shows that helping others can positively effect your mental health and wellbeing. Here are a few ways altruism improves attitude making you healthier, happier, and less stressed.

Helping others feels good

  • Altruistic acts release endorphins in the brain linked with happiness.  It improves our support networks, encourages activeness, which improves self-esteem. Studies found that helpers tend to live longer and have better physical health.

"Whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully…for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:6-15)

Creating a sense of belonging and reducing isolation

  • Helping others help us feel a sense of belonging, make new friends, and connect with our community.

Connect with God as “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord.” (Proverbs 19:17).

Keeping things in perspective

  • Helping others and recognizing your kindness and gratitude creates a positive outlook about your own circumstances.

“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and…afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and you gloom be as the noonday.” (Isaiah 58:10)

Distracting you from your problems

  • Focusing on someone else can pull you away from your own self-preoccupation and problems. Studies found that people with medical conditions who counsel other patients experience less depression, distress, and disability.
A good rule of thumb: Do what you can to help others, but be careful that you don't take on so much that it turns out that you become the one who needs help in the end.

Where is God call you to be altruistic?

Meditate on John 15: 12-14.
What is one practical deed you can do to fulfill the royal law of “You shall love your neighbors as yourself”?

Anticipatory Grief

May 2, 2020

Anticipatory grief refers to a feeling of grief occurring before an impending loss. Our primitive mind knows something bad is happening, but you can’t see it. We feel the loss of safety.

Stages of Grief

  1. Denial (“This virus won’t affect us.”)
  2. Anger (“You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities.”)
  3. Bargaining (“Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right?”)
  4. Sadness (“I don’t know when this will end.”)
  5. Acceptance (“This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.”). We find control in acceptance.

What can we do?

  • To calm yourself, come into the present. Practice mindfulness.
  • Take time to process and work through the various losses.
  • Remember your feelings are valid.
  • Talk to others and God for support.
  • Let go of what you can’t control. Give that to Jesus.
  • Let go of the expectations and idols that we have become accustomed to.
  • Be compassionate. Everyone has different levels of fear and grief that manifest in different ways.
  • Remember, this is temporary. History shows this is survivable.
  • Find meaning. Find ways to honor and move onward with acceptance and hope.
Remember that children who are old enough to love are also old enough to grieve. “Helping Children Cope with Separation and Loss” by Claudia L. Jewett discusses three phases of grief in children:
  1. Early grief
  2. Acute grief
  3. Integration of loss and grief

Adapted from Harvard Business Review, Caregiver Training Blog, and Cherry, K.

The Practice of Self Reflection

April 25, 2020

Many psychological schools of thought believe self-reflection leads to self-insight which leads to enhanced well-being. Though only true when we’re aware of our dysfunctional attitudes that disrupts self-reflection and self-insight and utilize our positive core self-evaluations that mediate self-insight and well-being.

Application to Self-Reflect

  • Consider how Jesus has changed your life using Gibbs Reflective Cycle. This cycle encourages people to think systematically about their experiences. We can think in more detail, become aware of our actions, and adjust our behavior. We learn by looking at both negative and positive impacts of our experiences. Be mindful of when you’re ruminating and getting stuck in negative self-talk. Note it and try to ask specific questions in the Gibbs model to improve your wellbeing.

Adapted by: TandFonline.com and Gibbs

Gratitude

April 18, 2020

Gratitude is a powerful human emotion with countless benefits. It release dopamine and serotonin responsible for happiness. It regulates stress hormones and fosters cognitive restructuring by evoking positive thinking.Gratitude card: write a gratitude card to a cell leader or someone you appreciate.

Gratitude Journal: Write about the people and things you are grateful.

  • Journal your gratitude the same time everyday.
  • Go through previous pages and recall the good things that happened to you.
  • Record details associated with the person or incident you are offering gratitude to.
  • Make your journal attractive with colorful pens, stickers, or craft papers.
  • Journaling for kids here.

One of the greatest reasons for gratitude is in the Road to Emmaus story in Luke 24:13-35. The story depicts not only details of Jesus as the Risen King through His death and resurrection, but an invitation to partake in His upside down Kingdom that reigns through the weak, the unlikely, and through sacrifice. It says “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Jesus offers His body to all and imparts His truth through His word and power through the Holy Spirit to carry out His mission.

Working Out, Eating Right

April 4, 2020

Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise has shown to decrease levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.
  • 5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance 3-5 times a week for 30 minutes.
  • Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable.
  • Distract yourself with audiobooks, podcasts, or music.
  • Try apps like:
- Nike Run Club or C25K (iOS or Android)
- HomeCourt – The Basketball app
- YouTube exercise programs like Athlean-x or MadFit

Sunlight

Getting sun exposure, which elevates levels of serotonin in our brain, correlate with better mood, feelings of satisfaction and calmness, and lower levels link to depression and anxiety.

Diet

Eating high-quality foods that contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants will nourish the brain in a positive way. For example, carbohydrates increase serotonin that has a calming effect. Protein-rich foods increase alertness. Omega-3 and omega-6 are linked to reducing rates of depression.

“It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.  For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.  He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.  His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.  He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor.” 

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭112:5-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The Coronavirus not only poses a threat to our physical health, but also impacts on our mental, emotional, spiritual, and societal well-being. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. Learning to cope through healthy practices is a form of defense we can all incorporate into our daily lives.

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call 911, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (TTY 1-800-846-8517).