14 Mantras to Embrace Mental Health Struggles

Amber Ginter

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Updated Feb 06, 2024
14 Mantras to Embrace Mental Health Struggles

I've struggled with my mental health since I was ten years old. What started as simple anxiety over tests in school quickly grew into an irrational fear of almost everything. Once I encountered trauma and verbal abuse as a teenager, I didn't know how to cope. I hid behind perfectionist ways and believed I could use unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with the crumbling world around me. 

It would take me decades to believe I needed counseling. It would take me years to actually go to my first appointment and start receiving the help I needed. 

If I could spare myself much heartache, there are 14 pieces of advice I would give my younger self. This is also the same advice I’d give to those struggling with their mental health in this day and age.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/tommaso79
psychologist counselor counseling mental health therapy awareness

1. We Can Learn from Trauma

As much as I wish I wouldn’t have had to endure some painful circumstances in this life, I’m thankful that I now know we can learn and grow from trauma.

It took me nearly ten years to get involved with counseling because I feared what others thought. Learning to process our trauma not only helps us heal faster but helps others along the way. We can learn from the trauma we experience even if we’d rather not experience it.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/PeopleImages
A hopeful woman

2. What the Enemy Means for Evil, God Turns for Our Good

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is found in the book of Genesis. After Joseph is betrayed by his brothers and sold as a slave, he encounters blessings and misfortune. He gains high positions only to be thrown in prison and forgotten. The most beautiful thing about Joseph’s story and life as a whole, however, can be found in Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (NLT). 

The same can be true of things that happen in our lives. I’ve experienced joy and hardship. God’s presence has remained in both. And no matter what I go through, He can and will turn it into something good. Even when I can’t feel or see that good right now.

Photo Credit: ©Taylor Wright/Unsplash
man praying depression

3. If You Have To, Crawl

I remember the first day I truly experienced agonizing pain to the point that I couldn’t walk. In my physical anguish, I had to crawl. In life, sometimes all you can do is crawl. And that’s okay. 

Putting one foot in front of the other (or one knee in front of the other) is what matters. What matters is that you’re moving, you’re not giving up, you’re taking steps the only way you know how. And God is surely with you even in that lowly place.

Photo Credit: ©unsplash
women friends on bed sleepover in eye masks self care

4. Take Care of Yourself

I’m writing this lesson as one I will eventually learn and master, but someday is not today. I suck at self-care. And by that, I mean I will run myself dry to the point that I’m weak, famished, and weary with no other option than to surrender. 

Friends, let this not be so. Our bodies are temples of the living God, and He desires that we care for them well. That includes tending to our physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. We’re not machines. We’re humans. It’s time we started tending to ourselves in a kind, humane way.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/BlackCAT
family gathering group hug

5. Prioritize Family

Since getting married, I’ve quickly learned how important it is to prioritize family. Integrating a family with another family is challenging. It’s not for the faint of heart. But there’s such a rich blessing in two families becoming one. Don't allow mental health struggles to keep you from healthy relationships with your parents, siblings, spouse, and children.

Photo Credit: ©Pexels/August de Richelieu
Heart with a bandaid over it

6. Heal Wounds

One of the biggest things I regret in 28 years of existence is waiting to heal wounds I’ve held onto since childhood. If I could offer any advice on that, it would be this: Healing is messy. It’s going to be painful and hurt deeply. But healing sooner rather than later will prevent much heartache. Unhealed wounds fester and grow. And when it comes to pain, it’s better to start early than ignore the symptoms.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/eternalcreative
woman loss grief bible verses

7. Express Your Emotions

Growing up at church, I’d often see my mom cry. I never understood why. When I entered my twenties and became emotional myself, I slowly started to get it. 

Holding your emotions in is like boiling a pot of water with the lid on. If we remove the lid and let the emotions out, we will feel better more quickly. But the more we let it simmer and stew, the more built-up pressure we will experience, and the worse we will feel. Expressing your emotions isn’t easy or pretty, but I promise in the right and healthy spaces, it is worth it.

Photo Credit: ©Chepko
wedding rings on top of a wedding dress

8. Marriage Will Reveal How Imperfect You Are

If I’ve learned anything since being married, it’s that I’m the most selfish, uncaring, and conceited individual on the planet. I might be exaggerating a little, but that’s often how living with another person feels. 

Marriage heightens your awareness of your flaws and your spouse's. But for this, I rejoice. How humbled we are to need a big God. Someone beyond ourselves. And marriage is just one reminder of that.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/PeopleImages
kids riding in wheelbarrow having fun dad pushing them in the fall

9. Make Time for Fun

I wish I could say I’ve mastered having fun in my twenties, but I haven’t. I struggle with being a workaholic, too serious, and have an addiction to busyness. 

Life is short. I’m reminded of this often. I want to be remembered for the joy I felt and experienced, not the to-do lists I accomplished or the workouts I completed. Making time for fun will require diligence like anything else, but it’s something I’m trying to practice.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages
A woman praying in a hallway, Christians must have faith

10. Your Relationship with God Will Change—and That's Okay

In college, my relationship with God was on fire. I felt Him speak, heard Him clearly, and was confident in my salvation. Since encountering physical and mental health conditions, my relationship has changed. I doubt more days than I’d like to admit, don’t hear His voice like I used to, and often contemplate my salvation. But you know what? That’s okay. 

Just as our earthly relationships ebb and flow, so does our relationship with God. The great news is that while we may change, He never does. The shifting within and around us is just part of the process, part of this thing called life.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Kieferpix
A smiling girl, true joy is found in God

11. Do Less, Be More

The idea is simple: Do less, and be more. While I still want to achieve great things and work hard, I want to focus more on the beauty of this world God’s blessed me with. That means doing less and remembering to be more. More in the present. More aware of the moment.

Photo Credit: ©Conner Ching/Unsplash

man looking in mirror at reflection on ground

12. Struggling with My Faith Makes Me Human

Recently, I’ve wrestled to understand how one can have faith and still struggle. I’ve hated myself. Blamed myself. And called myself among the worst of Christians. But when Christ looks at me, He doesn’t equate my struggles with a lack of faith. He acknowledges them because I’m human. 

Don’t assume that your struggles are a lack of faith. Remember our ancestors? Even they went through the fire. Some never did see the Promised Land. And yet, they held fast to faith and hope. Not because they didn’t struggle, but because they did.  

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Martin Barraud
journal journaling goal goals write writing coffee plan diary

13. Do What You Love

Over the last five years, I’ve learned that teaching isn’t for me. While it’s a great career, I’ve known for a long time what I was called to do on this earth: write. If you don’t love what you do, I want to encourage you to find it. 

Don’t be afraid to leave where you are. It will be scary. But what’s even scarier is living a life you hate and never changing.

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/lilartsy
a child dreaming of becoming a pilot, spiritual reasons to go after your childhood dreams

14. Don't Give Up on Your Dreams

At the end of the day, I’m still a 28-year-old woman trying to figure out her life. Most days, I’m down instead of up, or left instead of right. But I won’t give up on my dreams, and I don’t want you to either. I’m pursuing full-time authorship next year. 

It scares the snot out of me. I have no clue what it’ll look like, or where I’m going. Yet, in Christ, and His Will alone, I believe it can become my reality. I believe all the same and more over you today.

While they may seem random, these are 14 mantras or pieces of advice I’ve learned to apply to mental health struggles. It’s my prayer they’ll encourage and equip you for whatever is next. 

Agape, Amber

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Evgenyatamanenko

amber ginter headshotAmber Ginter is a teacher-turned-author who loves Jesus, her husband Ben, and granola. Growing up Amber looked for faith and mental health resources and found none. Today, she offers hope for young Christians struggling with mental illness that goes beyond simply reading your Bible and praying more. Because you can love Jesus and still suffer from anxiety. You can download her top faith and mental health resources for free to help navigate books, podcasts, videos, and influencers from a faith lens perspective. Visit her website at amberginter.com.

Originally published Tuesday, 06 February 2024.