Using Your Faith to Overcome Darkness:

A Suicide Toolkit

Suicide is the leading cause of death for those dealing with serious mental illness such as depression or anxiety, with one in 10 committing suicide due to poor mental health. Many people think of religion and science as two wholly separate entities. However, studies have shown recently that prayer can actually have an effect on a person’s mental and physical health, altering moods and energy levels, as well as lowering stress levels. This toolkit can be placed in your arsenal to help you fight the battle against suicidal thoughts and actions, and get your mental health back to a healthy level through prayer.

Tips to Get Started

Whether you are currently having thoughts of suicide or have even recently made an attempt, it is important to have resources to turn to in case you need extra assistance. Consider storing these tips away for those days when you are feeling alone and need a way to cope:

●      Have a lifeline on speed-dial.

●      Find a support group.

●      Begin and end the day with a prayer

●      Read an empowering blog.

●      Establish a safety plan.

How Prayer Impacts Mental Health

Whether you pray every day or are curious about the changes prayer can make in your life, here are a few of the ways prayer can improve your mental health and combat suicidal thoughts.

Stress

Stress affects most of us in one way or another, and it can be difficult to beat when big changes aren’t made. Yet you can’t magically make your negative thoughts disappear, so the key is to learn to cope with the stress and anxiety that life brings. For those who pray daily, however, studies have shown that those feelings have less power and bring about fewer negative physical health effects.

Self-control

Researchers believe that prayer can help some people with their self-control by helping them cope with mentally or emotionally exhausting chores. More specifically, it can help you fight negative thoughts or actions such as self-harm, suicidal thoughts and actions, or substance abuse. It can also help those who lose their temper easily by allowing them to stay calm.

Lifting Your Mood

Prayer has been shown in studies to lift the mood and help individuals lessen the effects of depression and anxiety, especially if they are also active in their communities or attend a church. Prayer is akin to mediation and can help many people feel at peace and in tune with the world around them. For individuals who are trying to achieve a higher state of mind or who want to put a stop to the cycle of negative thoughts, prayer can be a very good thing.

Extra Steps to Improve Mental Health

Prayer is a great tool to use when your mental health is suffering, but it isn’t the only way to get the mental health benefits you are after. Consider implementing some of these strategies when you need a quick lift:

●      Revisit a childhood activity.

●      Dance it out.

●      Write it down.

●      Take a moment to enjoy the fresh air.

●      Spend time with your furry companion.

Dealing with suicidal thoughts can put you in a place of darkness that feels inescapable. Remember, the darkness won’t last forever and there are tools you can use every day to bring you back to the light. This too shall pass.

 

Jennifer Scott is a life coach who specializes in helping those who struggle with anxiety and depression.  You can follow her ministry at http://spiritfinder.org/