25 Mar My well-being, others’ welfare!
2020 was unprecedented due to the global pandemic. It resulted in the confounding of our style of living. Restrictions and isolations led to fear and anxiety. Coupled with the underlying mental health conditions, people with pre-existing mental health had to stand a higher risk of severe outcomes. Many are dealing with this by indulging in increased levels of alcohol consumption and drug usage etc., Some are impacted with insomnia, caused by anxiety of facing the new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling, online classes and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends or colleagues. In addition, stress is also impacting us.
Mental health as defined by the World Health Organization is “a state of well-being, in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”
The three core components of this definition are:
Effective functioning of an individual
Effective functioning for a community.
If these three components are fulfilled in an individual, then we can say with confidence, that our society will be a better place to dwell in and our lives would be optimal. Unfortunately, that’s not the case!
Examining today’s student lifestyle, one can see that there is no single place, thing or person that can satisfy the void in mental health. There are times we feel great around some people and find meaning in relationships, but at the end of the day its always us and our loneliness – the never ending thoughts of not being good enough as a student, in the society, family or many other sectors. The pressures to blend in, over-achieve are high. As our elders have stated, “if we want to see our nation developed, we need to focus on education, developing and shaping ourselves as good students”. But sadly, as per the statistics many students are struggling with suicidal thoughts, addiction, stress, identity crisis and aimlessness. Altogether these aspects impact well-being and effective functioning as individuals and community.
Our mental health is as important as physical health. Just as a person can do nothing if physical health is not fine, he can also do little if he is not mentally stable. Can a student do anything good if his mental is not fair? Absolutely not! That is why we see today’s generation trying to fix things with temporary cheap thrills. This leads to bad and unhealthy thoughts. Life will not be like still water without any up and downs. This is the harsh reality. Jesus invited us in Matthew 11:28 “come all who are weary and burdened, I will give you rest”. As we meditate on this verse, we can come to an understanding that the Lord already knows that we are going to experience struggles in this world. It is not only you and me, but everyone goes through these situations. Which is why the Lord is giving this call. We need to make a decision to no more chase after the cheap thrills but rather respond to the invitation of Jesus to find peace. Here we see that our Creator is aware of all that we go through.
The Lord knows our heart (Psalms 24 :1) and the Lord knew us before we were even formed in our mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). The Father loves us deeply and delights in us. He sent His only son for us so that we can no more be servants in bondage but be free and become the sons and daughters of the Lord (John 8: 32:35). So, we should not give up on ourselves, but embrace the fact that it is going to be a tough and long journey. However, God has got our back in every chapter of life.
John 8:12 says “Whoever follows me will never walk-in darkness, but will have the light of life”. Many students are buying into the lies of this world, walking blindfolded. Many do not know where to go or what to do as they are emotionally sick, but here the Lord makes a beautiful statement “he will never walk in the darkness”. This is what we need! We will be done with blindness and start wanting the light, only if we follow Jesus.
We believers claim that from the time of our salvation we have been following Jesus. Yet, why is it that sometimes in our lives we go through wilderness? When a child is learning to walk, it observes the mother’s footsteps to follow; but if that child is distracted by the surroundings it falls. Similarly, we are in the world which is controlled by evil. We need to be more focused on our footsteps in following Jesus. As we are taught, we can do it through personal relationship with Him and understanding every step of our Savior and to be more aware of his voice by building intimacy with GOD.
As we struggle with mental health issues, we need to be reminded that Jesus Christ is the light of life. What I have realized is I can’t exhale peace if I am not inhaling Him and the life His spirit gives. We inhale so many times what the world has to offer and it leaves us wanting.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, left the 99 just for the 1 and that is ME – each of us. When God saved us, he knew we would struggle, he did it anyway regardless of how messed up we are.
Let us make a daily choice by saying, “I am done breathing the worldly feeds. I want to inhale the word of God and His spirit, so that I can exhale life to a broken world that is hurting, letting them know, that there is a hope that is Jesus. Let’s keep breathing the air that fills our lungs with life and cause us to exhale hope, peace, love to the people around.LET US BE CULTURE SETTERS. LET HOPE THAT JESUS OFFERS HAVE ITS LAST WORD.
Benjamin Goudaller, is a student pursuing his 3rd year in Paramedical course at Al-Ameen Institution Bijapur, Karnataka and is part of Bijapur ICEU