To View the Video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/dPw3XgJ9RTM
Welcome to a new week of the Hope Rescue Podcast. This week’s episode is the introduction to our new series on mental health. We felt inclined to discuss mental health in depth on the podcast because there has been hurt and misconceptions around the topic of mental health within the church for a long time. We want to shed light on the conversation of mental health, and help people understand that they are not alone and their feelings are validated.
To start, Tim and Kimberly share some shocking statistics surrounding mental health.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults
Generalized anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million Americans
Social anxiety disorder affects 15 million Americans
Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects 2.2 million Americans
Panic disorder affects 6 million Americans
Posttraumatic stress disorder affects 7.7 million Americans
This is just a short list of some of the many anxiety disorders that are affecting people every day. Tim feels especially passionate about this topic because anxiety is something he has battled since childhood. Tim shares a story of one of his first memories of feeling anxiety. When he was around ten he was gifted a basketball, and he remembers feeling incredibly anxious and obsessive about the basketball because he didn’t want it to be ruined by his brothers. This caused him to be controlling with it, and he only allowed him and his brothers to play with it in certain areas where it wouldn’t get ruined. He still remembers the stress, anxiety, and worry he felt even as a young boy surrounding the protection of this basketball. This is only one of the many memories Tim has of feeling anxiety as a kid.
Tim shares that when he became an adult he continued to struggle with anxiety. He was married with children, and he knew he had to do something to help himself because it was affecting not only his life but the lives of those around him. He saw a Christian counselor about his anxiety and the feelings he had been experiencing, and the counselor told him he needed to pray more, read his bible more, and have more faith. Does this sound familiar to something you have experienced? Knowing that he was already doing these things and still feeling anxious, Tim left feeling defeated but also driven to find a solution to his problem.
Kimberly shares that she also feels anxiety at times, but she processes anxiety differently than Tim. Tim tends to share out loud what is making him feel anxious, while Kimberly has caught herself more than once holding in what is making her feel apprehensive. She shares that at night she often grinds her teeth, has nightmares, or feels the weight of anxiety wearing her body down physically. Kimberly shares her story to communicate that anxiety doesn’t always look the same, and each person can process and express anxiety in different ways.
In Tim’s search for an answer for his anxiety, he not only dove into scripture to find what God says but also created a program called Breathe 90 that helps others take control of their anxiety. The first step is to understand how breathing works and how it relates to our emotions. Many believe that breathing is two-dimensional: breathe in and breathe out. But there is actually a third dimension: the exchange that takes place in the lungs. The exchange in the lungs creates a balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the bloodstream. This is a crucial function because it directly affects our mental and emotional stability. Too much carbon dioxide and we feel sluggish, sleepy, and tired. Too much oxygen and we feel agitated and jumpy. When we learn to breathe properly, especially when we start to feel anxious and panicked, it can directly affect our mood and our minds.
While the physical act of breathing is incredibly important for taking control of our anxiety, the three aspects of breathing can also be used as a metaphor to explain how to get a hold on our thoughts and emotions.
Inhale (environment): As you inhale, think of the different forms of input you experience in your life from your personal environment. Think of your family members, your closest friends, or possibly mentors and teachers. Think of things that influence your beliefs and behaviors, like books, experiences, and belief systems.
Exhale (actions): As you exhale, think of the ways you handle stress and anxiety. Think of the unhealthy ways you react to your environment, whether it’s drug or alcohol abuse, sexual deviancy, gossip, eating disorders, attacking others, social reclusiveness, etc.
Exchange (thoughts and beliefs): What happens as your environment mixes with your actions? What does your inner conversation sound like? Maybe for you it sounds like, “I’m not good enough,” or possibly, “No one values me.”
When we learn to breathe properly, physically and metaphorically, it will result in peace of mind, joy, and emotional balance. Our actions are a direct result of what we believe, think, and feel. What we believe affects how we think, what we think affects how we feel, and what we feel affects how we act. It’s all connected and all stems from what we believe to be the ultimate truth over our lives.
What is your inner voice telling you? What truths or possibly lies are you repeating to yourself everyday? Stay tuned for next week as we dive deeper into how to take charge of your anxiety from a biblical perspective. If you have questions or comments, please reach out and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
“The transformation of your life comes from the transformation of your mind.” -Tim