Christians And Depression: How To Keep Faith During Hard Times

Updated February 03, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC

Christians, like anyone else, can experience mental health struggles such as depression that might begin or worsen during challenging times. Although life contains ups and downs, learning how to keep the faith is a skill that can help you to push through the most challenging parts of life’s challenges. Research has shown that faith outside of ourselves can be a supportive factor in wellness. This doesn’t mean that a Christian’s life will be more comfortable than the life of a non-Christian or that a Christian won’t face mental health challenges. It indicates that as someone of faith fights to keep it intact that they will have a resource available that helps them and acts as a light in the darkness.

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How does one keep a hold of their faith during hard times and fluctuating mental health? Below are some things that may be supportive of your faith and helpful in keeping it available to you as a resource while you tackle life’s challenges and mental health issues that may arise.

Bible Studies: Spend Time In The Word To Improve Mental Health

A lot of Christians spend time every day in their Bible. Whether it’s for a few minutes or a few hours, time spent reading the Bible is one way to keep your faith. It’s not magic, however. You can’t merely crack open the Bible and expect all your problems to be suddenly answered or your mental illness to be cured. When you take the time to do bible studies, your mind’s thoughts are placed elsewhere: on the teachings within the Bible, on the inspirational stories, and uplifting guidance that it contains.

Consider how depression might make it as though you worship your mind. You might spend every second of the day in your head, putting weight to thoughts that might not be true, and putting yourself down. Although this is entirely normal, it isn’t always the best place to get your facts. Rather than putting faith in what your mind is telling you, turn to your Bible readings and discover what things there may be helpful in your present situation. You might even seek out a Christian counselor to work through studies and apply them to your location.

Whether you do a Bible study with a group, alone, or in a counseling session, the most important component is that you are spending time in His truth. Allowing that truth to take over the thoughts, filling your mind is essential to maintaining your faith and your mental health. It can also provide you with a sense of spiritual growth that carries you through any challenges that you may be facing. Don’t let mental health issues and depression take that power away from you! Keeping your faith is possible in times of trouble.

Keeping Faith When You’ve Lost Interest As A Result of Mental Illness

Mental illness like depression can cause individuals to lose interest in the things they once loved. You may have enjoyed spending time reading the Bible. You started dealing with depression and anxiety. Now, however, this mental struggle might have made it so that you don’t feel like you can crack open your Bible. Perhaps it has made you too tired to even try, or it’s difficult to concentrate – this is a common side effect with mental health issues. When depression affects you and your mental health like this, keeping the faith requires just a little effort.

Although reading and studying require effort, several activities are far more straightforward that will keep you connected to Christ and can simultaneously improve your mental health. Attempting one or more methods may help you to hold on to your faith and make it feel as though mental illness is not too big to handle.

Music To Help Mental Health

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When reading is too hard or carrying on a conversation with God feels impossible, music makes things a bit simpler. For many experiencing mental illness, listening to a contemporary Christian music station gives them that bit of necessary light. Others turn to Southern Gospel tracks. Even if the actual words are too much to handle, an instrumental version of your favorite Christian song can remind you of your faith and the feelings of love, inspiration, and inclusion you experience from it. Some songs might even lead you down a path of spiritual growth, improved mental health, and a sense of self-love.

Christian Podcast As A Mental Illness Guide

In the technology era that you live in, podcasts are a dime a dozen. Although you may not have the energy to get up on Sunday morning and attend a church service, there is a wide variety of Christian podcasts to choose from. Merely listening to the words of a fellow believer can help to ease your state of depression and may even feel as though there is something to hold on to.

Prayer As A Mental Health Cleanse

Depression and mental health, in general, is all about what’s going on in our heads. While it is always a good idea to seek out professional help when your mental health gets to a low point, talking to God is a great way to deal with what’s on your mind. It helps to speak to someone, and while God doesn’t necessarily talk back to you in words, praying allows your mind to untangle itself. If you are unable to communicate what’s on your mind with a professional, sharing with God reminds you that you are not alone in this.

Mental Illness Help: Journaling Or Drawing Feelings

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If you have the energy, it can be great to journal your prayers. When it comes to mental health, it can be a great reminder to see how far you’ve come and how God has acted in your life. By journaling what you are going through and how you’ve talked to Him about it, you can go back and see how things improved from what they once were. This activity is a great way to see the path of your spiritual growth and how your mental health may have improved with it.

Writing can also be cathartic and is an excellent way to learn about what you’re feeling. In fact, the American Psychological Association even promotes doodling as a form of getting emotions out. Drawing your feelings can be effective for both children and adults, so choosing this outlet is excellent for all.

Finding A Bridge Between Faith And Mental Health

Ultimately, finding a person or method that is willing to bridge mental illness, specifically depression, and your faith is the key to coming out stronger in your belief. Mental health and faith can have so many connections, as many individuals have communicated how their belief system keeps them afloat. When times are hard as a person with a mental illness, focusing on your faith will help to keep you strong.

Helping Faith And Mental Illness Meet

The connection between the two should always help, not harm. A Christian therapist is someone trained in this, as they are eager to help in a faith-based manner. They might address your feelings with the reminder that you are loved by God in a way that helps your mind to accept it. Mental illness has a way of making people believe things that are not true. When you have a method to remain rooted in Christ that focuses on helping you to get better, you will likely find that depression can be beaten, and mental health can be good.

Find A Mental Health Professional Or Friend That Listens Well

Another imperative quality is that he or she listens. While therapists and counselors do this, friends, family, and fellow church members might also be people to turn to. Although you might be hesitant to use a Christian counselor to communicate your deepest thoughts, it is essential to remember that they are there for your mental health first and foremost. They are not there to judge you or point out your most significant flaws. A good counselor will listen first and foremost.

Mental Health And Strong Faith Ties

Seeking someone or something that is intentionally faith-centered can also important in improving your mental health and supporting your faith. Although any counselor might help you with your mental health, and all counselors are trained and ethically responsible for being supportive of your beliefs, you may feel more comfortable speaking with a counselor who you know is a Christian and shares your specific beliefs.

Aiming To Improve Mental Health And Keep The Faith

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By aspiring to find these qualities in a mental health professional or a method in which you hold on to your faith, you may find that spiritual growth is occurring amid your depression and anxiety. The realization of spiritual growth in hard times is a great way to pull through those times. It can be a great way to improve your mental health if you remain rooted in His love.

You may think it’s easier said than done to improve your mental health with faith. Perhaps your own mental illness prevents you from making attempts at Bible readings, studies, or prayer. If that’s the case, starting with one of the easier methods might help you to get stronger. With that, you can add another component to your growing faith and perhaps feel your mental health grow stronger as well. Mental illness is a challenge that many must face; maintaining a hold on your Christian faith will serve to make that challenge a bit more guided.

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