Mental Health Toolbox Meetings

As a follow up to our Mental Health sermon series and workshops, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Jim Dart, held two Toolbox Meetings. Thanks, Jim!

Depression Toolbox Notes

Fighting depression doesn’t work. Managing depression does.

Depression is a brain disease.

  • inflammation creates symptoms
  • exercise improves sleep quality, enhances moods, releases endorphins
  • alcohol makes it worse

Tools to try

  • Beck Depression Inventory – helps you monitor your progress. View or print the PDF here. 
  • meditation & prayer – YouTube has guided meditations. Reduces negative and repetitive thoughts.
  • affirmations – spiritual affirmations are most effective. Example – I am a beloved child of God, beautiful to behold.
  • journaling – shake free from negative thoughts. Also useful for “thought dumping.”
  • sleep – routine is important; go to bed and get up at the same time every day
  • therapy – speak to a therapist when self-help is not enough
  • help others – focus on others
  • free apps to help regulate your mood
  • Yoga on YouTube
  • Breathing exercises

Depression Toolbox Meeting Recording

Anxiety Toolbox Notes

Anxiety is difficult to control.

Symptoms include: restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, localized muscle tension, apprehensive expectations – afraid of future & nervous about life, perfectionist tendencies, difficulty relaxing.

Anxious people concentrate on what went wrong, not what went right and tend to require assurances – is everything okay? Am I doing well? Anxiety causes people to isolate themselves from others.

There may be physical reasons for anxiety such as thyroid problems, brain tumors, or hormonal imbalance. If you have sudden onset anxiety with no outside reason, please see your doctor.

Differs from depression in that anxiety is a genetic condition.
There is no cure for anxiety, but it can go into remission. Try anxiety management tools.

Tools to try

  • Beck Anxiety Inventory – helps you monitor your progress. View or print the PDF here. 
  • Meditate – be thankful for God’s gifts. God wants us to take care of ourselves and to be happy. There are YouTube videos and free apps to help. Prayerful meditation is more helpful than secular meditation.
  • Eliminate or limit your news exposure. The news causes much anxiety and can do a lot of damage. Some people experience vicarious trauma.
  • Identify your anxiety triggers and avoid them as much as possible.
  • Try to relax. You can’t relax and be anxious at the same time. Try progressive muscle relaxation. Start at the top of your head and relax your muscles all the way to your toes. This will help you to be aware of where you are holding tension. This can take up to 15 – 20 minutes per session.
  • Therapy – speak to a therapist when self-help is not enough.
  • Do not drink alcohol – it is harmful in the long term. Eat a balanced diet and limit your sugar and caffeine intake.
  • Practice breathing exercises.
  • Prepare yourself for anxious situations. What will you see? What will you hear? What will your response be?
  • If your family causes you anxiety, limit your exposure. Have an exit strategy to remove yourself from anxious situations.
  • Remember a time when you handled your anxiety well. Replicate those coping strategies.

CLICK HERE to listen to “Disrupting Your Anxiety Through Spiritual Practices” podcast.

Anxiety Toolbox Meeting Recording