The Best Thing You Can Do To Improve Your Mental Health in 2021
As we begin a new year, I want to share some research from an article I ran across this week that you absolutely MUST know about. We all are rooting for 2021 to be a good year, but truthfully, has any year that you can think of ever had a lower bar to clear to be considered a good year?
I don’t know if 2021 will be a good year or not, but here’s what I do know: We have little control over whether or not this year will be better, but we have a lot of control over whether or not we will be. And research shows that the best thing we can do to better the quality of our mental and emotional health is…
Let me set this up: For the past 20 years, the Gallup Organization has asked Americans to rate their own mental or emotional well-being. One of their latest polls (from Nov. 5-19, 2020) found that the number of Americans who said their mental health is excellent dropped by 9%. That’s the largest drop since they started the poll. To no one’s surprise, during 2020 every category surveyed saw a significant dip in their perceived mental well-being—including men and women, whites and non-whites, marrieds or non-marrieds, young and old, rich and poor, Democrats and Republicans.
Only one group experienced a reported bump in mental well-being—weekly churchgoers. (The survey did not specify if people attended online or in-person, so don’t interpret this to be a “in-person > online” kind of deal. It’s not about that.) People who attended worship seldom or never in 2020 saw a 13% drop. People who said they attended churchmonthly had a 12% drop. But people who said they attended church services weekly in 2020 had a 4% increase in their well-being. And that bump happened in the middle of a traumatizing pandemic and a polarizing election!
When you add a 4% increase on top of a 12-13% decline, the mental health gap between weekly versus occasional worship participation is huge. I’ve heard it said that some people have just enough religion to make them miserable…now there’s proof!
So, according to research, the very best thing you can do to improve your mental and emotional—not to mention spiritual—well-being is to weekly participate in worship. Not monthly. Not once in a while. Not just Christmas Eve and Easter. Weekly worship–whether that’s with our online community or onsite at one of our physical locations doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you regularly engage in the elements of prayer, music, giving, biblical teaching, communion, and fellowship. You will not only feel better you will be better. And remember, we have little control over whether or not this year will be better, but we have a lot of control over whether or not we will be.
If you want to be a better you in 2021, join us this Sunday online or onsite at 9:30 or 11:15AM. We will continue our Love Is… series with subjects that the Lord always uses to mess with me every time I preach on them: patience and kindness. I say that because if God wants to grow patience in you, how quickly do you think He will do it? It will probably take a little while…and I don’t like that answer. If God wants to grow kindness in you, how will He do it? He’ll probably give you something or someone to deal with that is not so kind…and I don’t like that answer either. I need this message this Sunday. I have a feeling you may need it too.
Loving the patient and kind Journey,