What Does The Bible Say About Wellness and Self-Care?
Mental health and self-care are as closely linked as bees and honey. We know that mental health disorders manifest when life’s stressors exceed our threshold of tolerating them. We also know that our tolerance threshold is strongly influenced by genetics. It makes sense then, that good self-care is good prevention and protection against mental health issues. Generally, we recognize that things like work, relationships, and finances can be sources of stress. Sometimes we overlook how inadequate sleep, low water intake, poor diet, and lack of exercise are also stressors that can lead to and worsen mental health problems.
Good self-care is essential to good mental health. This is seen in scientific research and is validated in scripture. In many ways, scripture has already told us what science is gradually discovering. “A major part of the Bible’s health instruction dates back to the time of Moses. Yet in our day, many researchers and medical doctors are stunned at the accuracy and effectiveness of its many provisions. The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia tells us that the laws given by God to Moses contain remarkable rules pertaining to public health which concerns us even today: water and food contamination, sewage disposal, infectious diseases, and health education. These issues were all dealt with in the Mosaic health laws.” (https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-health.html)
Sticking close to God and holding tight to His Word is the key to living the life he intends for us, to receiving all of the blessing He has for us. This includes experiencing the best possible health for as long as possible, we see this promise in Proverbs (3:1-2, 8): “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity . . . This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones”
“The biblical instructions regarding health, maintenance, and recovery from illness involve application of cause-and-effect principles—based on true science—that were given thousands of years before scientists developed the technology that enabled them to discover germs, bacteria, viruses, genes, and the like. Modern medical science has discovered many principles of good health, but they originated with God who designed and created the miracle that is the human body.” (https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-health.html)
God created a perfect world free of suffering and disease and man corrupted it by introducing sin which brought suffering and disease. One day, Jesus will return to this earth, and we will live with Him forever in “The New Heavens and The New Earth” free of all suffering. We will receive “New and Glorified Bodies that are fitted for eternity”. Until then, we live in bodies that have an expiration date and we are vulnerable to mental and physical disease. God and science tell us that good self-care is vital to living life as healthy as possible. We will experience disease in this life, but we can minimize the symptoms and avoid much of it all together by practicing good self-care. Job was righteous, but God allowed him to suffer disease and hardship. Paul was God’s right-hand man in founding His church, but he suffered illness that God allowed. If you are living your life as close to God as you are able, if you are seeking and following Christ, and you experience disease, you can trust that God has a purpose in it and is working it for your good.
God, who is sometimes called the Great Physician, knows everything about us, and He’s provided the necessary keys to experiencing our best possible mental and physical health. We cooperate with him by maintaining good self-care so that we can live in His will for our lives.
If you are struggling mentally, evaluate how you are doing with the self-care basics: sleep, water, exercise, diet and make them a priority. Evaluate also how you are doing in your spiritual walk with God. He can empower us toward far better discipline in our self-care routines.