JumpStart to Better Mental & Spiritual Health
Investing time in a new season reset
Daffodils are blooming in my garden already. They may be dusted in snow by day’s end, but the harbingers of longer, warmer days have started to announce themselves.
If you’re anything like me, Spring means more than switching out winter clothes or the start of vacation planning. Significant work may loom ahead for the focused and determined.
Recognizing this trend herself, Kimberley Payne recently began a JumpStart group. She sent daily email reminders and created an encouragement group on Facebook to keep members motivated over a two-week period. Once we finished that, she offered to support us as we spent two weeks going sugar-free. For me, giving up sugar is a serious challenge! But I’m doing it….again.
The JumpStart is designed to inspire healthy lifestyles— like minding our spiritual quotient. There’s a physical health component too. (I’ve already written about that.)
There are benefits to living in a mindful mode whether you engage through prayer or meditation. Though there’s far more research on exercise and nutrition, there is a scientific foundation to quieting our minds.
Benefits of meditation and prayer
- It lowers stress.
- It protects the brain, potentially from mental illness.
- It improves the sound of music (not the movie, silly)
- It improves focus, thus academic performance.
- It changes our response to emotional stimuli.
- It helps us connect to our true selves.
- It improves physical health — leading to lower health bills; can reduce blood pressure and pain effects, among other things.
Meditation shouldn’t be hard
But it is. For me, at least. I can still my body. But stilling the bubbly brew that is my grey matter is another thing entirely. It’s kinda like caging a cat.
I’ve actually started thinking about a task awaiting me while praying! I bet God is just tsk-tsk-ing me all the time. No, I don’t really believe that about Him.
Meditation is quite simple to settle into, though. Get comfortable, take measured breaths, and focus only on your breathing. Voila! You are in the present moment and your body and mind will begin to calm.
I enjoy the content over at Mindful.com. There’s some audio for both short and long meditation periods. These help me keep myself sorted out. A single minute at work or at the kitchen sink will create an immediate sense of well-being.
Do you have a spiritual side?
The JumpStart emails included two spiritually geared items each day. A Bible verse which we were prompted and guided to memorize through the week. A prayer formula called PATH to help us connect to God. If you look at it closely, you’ll see it reiterates components of The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13).
P — Lord, I praise You for …
A—I admit that I’ve thought, said, and done things that are wrong. Today I ask forgiveness for …
T—God, I thank You for …
H—Yahweh, I ask Your help for …
I love the YouVersion Bible app on my phone. I contemplate the daily verse, engage in a guided study plan, or find passages of interest in the moment. Months ago, I started a 30-Day prayer challenge plan called, Lord Hear Our Cry. (Yes, I started it months ago and am still trying to get through the thirty daily devotions. They’re great, but I’m not!)
During JumpStart, I recommitted to this study and am nearly finished. I’m also doing a read-through of the New Testament plan alongside my church family. You can find many great study plans at bible.com and you needn’t download the app to experience the joy of God’s Word.
The JumpStart got me back on track spiritually and mentally. Boy, I needed it. My husband has a serious health challenge right now and I am his devoted caregiver. I’m pretty good at balancing emotional stuff, but prayer and meditation are now my go-to’s most days.
Do you read fiction? I’m an avid reader, so I decided to try my hand at a novel and I finished it! I’ll soon be sending out a sneak peek of this debut historical romance set in 1920s New York City. Subscribe to my monthly newsletter today so you don’t miss out.