Facing challenges and setbacks is one of the few certainties in life. The death of a loved one, breakups, losing a job, and being faced with illnesses are just a few examples of difficult situations that are unavoidable. For all these difficulties, it helps to have something that can serve as a light during these dark times.
For many people, this light is faith.
Faith can serve as the difference between victimizing yourself or triumphing over your situation, and practicing it fosters the belief that you will prevail no matter how difficult a situation may be.
Faith can be viewed through multiple lenses, both religious and non-religious. One source defines faith as a "strong and unshakable belief in something without proof or evidence." A "strong belief" is a fundamental part of most religious practices.
What does it mean to 'practice' religion? Practicing religion is defined as any of the following actions: attending worship services, wearing religious garb or symbols, praying at prescribed times, displaying sacred objects, adhering to specific dietary rules, refraining from certain activities, and much more.
Being faithful in a religious context means having faith that your practice of that religion, through actions like the ones detailed above, will bear fruit.
Faith is also demonstrated non-religiously. Mark Twain once defined faith as "believing something you know ain't so."
Through a religious lens, faith is a verb, something you do and practice, and action is taken. Through a non-religious lens, faith is a noun, something you have.
Both lenses of faith are the correct ways to view the word, as even though you have no proof of something positive happening, you are living your life as if it is.
One life situation in which faith can be helpful is when struggling with mental health. A lot of people's outlook is often grim during mental health struggles, and persevering may seem impossible.
Faith can be a helpful tool during mental health struggles. By practicing faith, you choose to believe that your current situation is temporary.
Below are a few ways in which you can begin to implement a faith-based mentality into your mental health journey.
One way to strengthen your faith is meditation. Meditation allows you to think more clearly by filtering out unwanted thoughts and making room for a mindset built on positivity and confidence.
Faith can be a great resource to help cultivate relationships. You can build relationships through religious gatherings or services that help with feeling part of a community and less alone, which is beneficial for mental health.
Many religious groups offer rituals structured around helping others, such as food and toy drives during the holiday season. Giving back and feeling as if you are contributing to the betterment of others can give you a sense of fulfillment which can positively impact your mental health.
Next time you face a challenge and setback during your mental health journey, it is worth assessing your level of faith.
If you notice that your faith is running low, imagine what it would be like to go through your journey with a faith-based mentality. This approach may give you the perspective of a fighter who is more than capable of prevailing through their circumstances, no matter the difficulty.