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Parish Nurse Article, May 2017

In Body and Spirit…
A message from the Parish Nurses

Our mental or emotional dimension of our health is only one aspect of wholistic health, and is very important to our well being. May happens to be Mental Health Awareness Month. There are ways we can develop some ways and thoughts on our mental health, and how we can enhance our overall health. The emotional dimension of our health focuses on an awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings. Emotional health involves the degree to which a person feels positive and enthusiastic about oneself and one’s life.

The Bible has a lot to offer us in terms of mental health. St. Paul encourages us with these words in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” What a comfort these words are! In spite of the stressful, difficult times in which we live, God’s peace can help us to be whole emotionally.

A few of the ways we can try to improve our mental health could be:

  • Develop a realistic assessment of our limitations. We can objectively look at our strengths and weaknesses.
  • Talk to yourself in an affirming way, just as you would talk to a friend. Sometimes we feel very limited and worthless, because that is the message we have sent ourselves.
  • Second, we can develop autonomy. Once we know what our strengths are, we can work at developing them. We can rely more on ourselves and less on others. Eventually, we would hope to develop relationships in which we are interdependent, rather than being either dependent or independent.
  • Third, we can develop the ability to cope effectively with stress. This may include behaviors such as changing our environment, changing our self-talk and behaviors to more positive patterns, changing our bodies to be healthier, learning relaxation techniques, and lastly developing satisfying relationships with others.

Social anxiety is the intense, persistent, chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of doing things that will embarrass oneself. It goes way beyond the nerves, butterflies and sweaty palms that occur to most of us before making a speech, or the wobbly knees we feel when we are asked to read something for an audience. Those with social anxiety find it particularly challenging to interact with authority figures, individuals that he/she perceives as being better in some way. Perhaps worst of all is knowing that these fears that find us are excessive and irrational, yet we just can’t seem to make them stop!

There is no magic pill that will take away the fear and discomfort, but certain medications can help to keep these symptoms in check while the individual receives help in learning new ways to cope.

If you would like to contact the Parish Nurses, please call the church office, or email parish.nurse@graceofav.org.

Peace and good health to all of you!

Lois Askvig and Amy Fleser
Grace Lutheran Church Parish Nurses

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