Southpoint News – Week of August 25th, 2019
The Friendship Bench:
Questions for cultivating conversation
Studies have confirmed that connecting with people increases a sense of belonging, improves mental health, and reduces feelings of isolation. UBC wanted to create space for connection and conversations around mental health, so they installed a bright yellow friendship bench on campus. It’s a physical reminder to sit, breath, converse, and think about mental health.
Last Sunday completed our summer series, Sanctuary. One objective for the summer was to normalize the subject of mental health. We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health. This summer I wanted to make it more acceptable to talk about mental health and more acceptable to seek help when we need it. Just as our physical health ebbs and flows over time, our mental health ebbs and flows as well. I am so grateful to our speakers for modeling vulnerability. There is no shame in struggling. God doesn’t love us any less, nor is God ashamed of us for not being OK. Rather, God assures us that nothing can separate us from God’s Love.
As we say goodbye to this series, I would like to leave you with some questions so that you can cultivate your own conversations and build your own friendship bench:
Why is it difficult for us to talk about mental health within the church?
What more can we do as a church to become a Friendship Bench, a safe place for ongoing transparency and conversation?
We all have seasons of ebbing and flowing, seasons of withering and thriving. Just as there are things we can do to support our physical wellbeing, there are also things we can do to support our emotional and mental wellbeing during these seasons. An important part of mental health literacy is understanding how to foster and maintain good mental health. Each year UBC hosts a weeklong series of events around mental health called THRIVE. While there are many unique and relevant ways to foster and maintain good mental health, research consistently points to five paths to mental health. UBC calls them the 5 Thrive:
Moving regularly. (Get up and move that body!)
Sleeping soundly. (Rest up. Your body-self is worth the TLC.)
Eating to feel nourished. (Rather than eating for distraction, or eating to be thin.)
Helping Others (Making meaning by giving back)
Connecting Socially (Say, “Hi!”)
Now, let’s make it personal:
Can you name 5 things that cause your mental health to wither? What are 5 things that cause a flourishing of your mental health?
What are the self-defeating patterns you see repeating over and over again in your life – those patterns that make it difficult to choose life? Can you name them? Who can you talk to about these patterns?
What are the false beliefs about yourself or the world that keeps you stuck in these patterns? Who can you turn to as you work through these?
Is there a basic need that you have been overlooking or neglecting? Something that has led to your withering? How has that unmet need affected your body? Your heart? Your mind?
Is there a tiny action, a micro-movement, you can choose to do this week? A small daily act that you can give yourself? A way of standing up for your own worth?
A Summer of Sundays:
Aug 25: ALL OUT – Gathering Group
September 1st: Baptism Sunday
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If you have a need for prayer that you would like to pass on to the prayer chain, please contact John Hardy.