Spiritual Wellness Week: Emotional Health – An Introduction

By Dr. Randall Downs, Faculty, College of Theology

girl working on emotional health by reading the Bible

Emotional health is a hot topic in today’s culture. This is an excellent development because the subject often has been dismissed and/or ignored in years past. You might ask, what is emotional health? It “is your ability to cope with both positive and negative emotions, which includes your awareness of them.” People with strong mental health can cope in the face of negative emotions, whereas mentally unhealthy individuals struggle to manage negative emotions.1

Emotional Health From a Biblical Perspective

Emotions are God-given, and they are not inherently bad. In fact, emotions give us perspective concerning the beauty of life and of God’s creation. Imagine how bland and monotonous life would be apart from laughter, excitement, interest, awkwardness, and even boredom—which helps us to anticipate future endeavors. Although emotions are intended for good, we live in a corrupted world and our emotions tend to get the best of us from time to time. Anyone who denies ever being negatively affected by emotions is not being truthful.

Only one person in the history of humanity was never negatively controlled by emotions, and that person is Jesus. Scripture shows how emotions played a part in Jesus’s ministry. A couple examples include his compassion for a shepherd-less crowd (Mark 6:34), his weeping over Lazarus’ death and the pain it caused (John 11), and his righteous anger over extortion taking place in the temple of God (Matthew 21:12). Jesus displayed emotions throughout his earthly ministry, which makes sense because he is fully man and fully God. However, Jesus’ emotions never controlled him nor caused him to sin.

How To Cope With Negative Emotions

If you struggle to cope with negative emotions, it is important to acknowledge the struggle. Again, only one man is perfect, and his name is Jesus. There is no shame in seeking help through life’s many hardships and pains. As a follower of Jesus, I would encourage all to turn to God in faith and repentance. He is our Peace and gives us strength through even the hardest trials. Also, if you are struggling, seek help from a practicing counselor, particularly a Christian counselor. These men and women are trained to walk individuals through difficulties, and it will be worth your investment.

Another helpful practice is to confide in friends or family whom you can trust. When considering who to talk with, select an individual known for their wisdom, confidentiality and maturity. Confiding in the wrong person will create additional issues. Sometimes, having someone hear our worries and struggles ushers in relief and a sense of strength.

Lastly, spend some time doing what you love. This will prove beneficial in bringing emotional relief. For instance, I love music, so scheduling time to play and sing helps bring about relaxation. You might prefer hiking, reading, traveling, etc. Make time to relax and enjoy the finer points of life. Having a healthy emotional life is vital for enjoying the full life God intends for you.

Read more theology and ministry blogs and learn about degree programs offered by GCU's College of Theology today. If you have an interest in nurturing the spiritual development of others, GCU offers a Master's in Mental Health and Wellness with an Emphasis in Christian Ministry degree program. To learn more, click on the request info button at the top of the page. 

1 Retrieved from: WebMD, What to know about emotional health, in October 2021.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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