The best way to teach our children healthy behaviors is by modeling them, but as parents, we often find ourselves too busy to exercise, eat healthy meals, or get enough sleep. In the second half of my chat with licensed professional counselor and author Debra Fileta, we discuss how faulty perceptions affect our decision-making, why seeking professional help for mental health is taboo in the Christian church, how our emotional health is linked to our physical health, and some practical ways to develop good sleep hygiene.
Key points from our conversation:
🧠What you think impacts how you feel, which impacts what you do. When talking about mental and emotional health, we always want to start by addressing a thought process.
🚫Cognitive distortion is a faulty way of thinking that affects our decision making. Examples include an all or nothing mentality, mindreading (assuming you know what another person is thinking), and catastrophizing.
🕒 It’s important to stay in the present instead of focused on what happened in the past or what may happen in the future.
✝️ Often Christians are afraid to admit they need help because they believe it indicates a deficit of faith. Struggling with mental health does not reflect a character issue, it reflects a chemical issue.
🙁 It’s important to help our children process through hard stuff. Trauma doesn’t have to be abuse or abandonment, it can be grief or disappointment. We often try to ignore trauma and hope time will heal, but things can get worse if not addressed.
🏃♀️ Your physical health is linked to your emotional health. We need to be intentional about regular physical activity, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep and model it for our children. If you notice a pattern of disrupted sleep or a change in appetite, energy levels, or your ability to concentrate, it could be a sign of a deeper issue.
💤 Some practical ways to develop good sleep hygiene include limiting screen time, aroma therapy, drinking something warm, limiting caffeine intake, and keeping similar waking and bedtime hours.