Emotional Wellbeing

The UK Parliament website states the 2014 survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in England found that 1 in 6 people aged 16+ had experienced symptoms of a common mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety, in the past week. Results of a new survey are due in 2023 and the results are expected to show further increase in prevalence. A 2022 survey of children and young people’s mental health found that 18.0% of children aged 7-16 had a probable mental disorder in 2022, up from 12.1% in 2017. Among those aged 17-19, 10.1% had a probable mental disorder in 2017, rising to 25.7% in 2022. 

Whatever way you look at it, mental health problems are common and increasing both amongst children and adults in the UK and in many countries across the world. I believe there is good reason why Jesus urges us to be in the World but not of the World (John 17:14-16). If we choose to live our lives according to the rhythm being set in the World today, seeking after our own individual desires, perhaps being caught up with present day trends of social media and how society views success and relationships with one another, then it would seem this leads us down a path of ever increasing stress, anxiety and depression. 

I would like to point out right now this is not God’s intention for our emotional wellbeing and He is calling us on to a different path where we live according to His rhythm and His offer of a life that is about thriving with respect to our emotions and mental health. 

If you are someone who has struggled with mental illness on a long term basis such as anxiety and depression, perhaps even psychotic mental illness such as bipolar affective disorder or Schizophrenia, I am not in any way trying to diminish the battle you face on a daily basis just functioning and getting through a day, and I am not in any way suggesting there is a simple and easy answer that will reverse everything going on in your mind.

It is important to recognise we are unique and individual and there are many factors that affect our emotional wellbeing covering the genes we inherit to the life experiences we have had. If you would like further insight then please read the additional section I have written titled ‘Your Mind is Unique and Wonderful’ which explores a little more how our minds can differ from one another and touches on ideas and theories around neurodiversity and the implications of this.


Acknowledging the uniqueness of our own mind and emotional make up, I do nevertheless believe, just as there are some practical steps we can take with respect to physical wellbeing, there are some practical steps we can take with the help and intervention of God that will result in improved mental health for many of us.

I am going to set out a view of emotional wellbeing and the areas that influence what happens in our minds and explain some steps we can take in these areas that are both spiritual with God as well as behavioural with respect to how we exist ‘in the World’. You will note this particular section of the wellbeing series is bigger and more time consuming to read but this is reflective of the weight and importance I give to this area of wellbeing and I believe God has so much to speak into and influence with respect to our emotions and minds.

The Big Picture

I have drawn out a pictorial representation of the different areas influencing our emotional wellbeing and we will work through these areas expanding our understanding of them and what we can do as we seek after emotional restoration and health. Please see here.

Freedom in Christ

I would thoroughly recommend any Christian to do the Freedom In Christ Course and having done so attend a Steps to Freedom in Christ day. We intend to run these on a regular basis at Jubilee Community Church.

We should not underestimate that there is a spiritual battle going on over our minds and we have authority and power in Jesus to take a stand against Satan and His schemes. When I consider some key areas that affect our emotional wellbeing; identity, freedom and the spiritual battlefield; I can see how working through the Freedom in Christ course and resources can have major impact in these areas as well as further overflow into the other areas of wellbeing.

What I am going to present should not be seen as a substitute for signing up to the course but it will provide a useful resource and insight and I can see no harm in taking hold of some of what Christ has given us right here and now.


We may be facing anxieties and worries, our minds have become occupied with negative thoughts about ourselves, perhaps we are struggling in our relationships with others, maybe we are being pulled by temptations in the World; you will personally recognise where you are battling and have struggles.

We can take a very practical step on a daily basis which effectively speaks truth into our lives and situations because our identity when we have given our life to Christ does not rest or rely on who we are and our shortcomings but on who Christ is and the fact that He is mighty and all powerful. The Freedom in Christ truth statements of who we are in Christ will prompt us to take hold of the truth of who we are in Him and trigger us to focus on everything of which we can take hold as followers of Christ. If we say these statements out loud on a daily basis for long enough (probably at least 30 days) we can literally experience a renewal of our minds and, believe me, we will see a lifting of our emotional wellbeing as a result. These truths can be found on this link : https://www.ficm.org/about-us/who-i-am-in-christ/


Our experiences, behaviours and habits may have opened us to certain unwanted spiritual influences which are not of God and have left us with consequences and ‘strongholds’ over us that we need to take to Christ to renounce and be released from; essentially we need to recognise what has happened and ask Christ to deal with it so we can walk in the freedom He has won for us. There is nothing that He cannot deal with if we go to Him in honesty and repentance and a desire to seek transformation through Him.

2 Corinthians 10 : 3-4 – For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

I don’t think I can emphasise any more the recommendation to do freedom in Christ. How wonderfully releasing and uplifting it is to have freedom from issues and past experiences that would otherwise continue to weigh us down and rob us of the joy we can have in Him.

The Spiritual Battlefield
The ‘Battle for Our Minds’

I have previously mentioned about Satan and his schemes against us in my section about sleep. Further expanding this, it is important to recognise how Satan tries to influence our minds and our thoughts and wants to try to hold us in a place of fear, anxiety and depression. By raising awareness of this we can take a stand against him in Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5 – We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Satan can put thoughts into our minds and the difficulty is he doesn’t announce himself – ‘Hey, Satan here, just putting a thought into you now’. There is evidence of Satan doing this in the Bible – 1 Chronicles 21:1 ‘Satan rose up against Israel and INCITED David to take a census of Israel’. This then led David to put his confidence in his resources rather than God’s and as a result many Israelites fell in battle.

The problem is you can think they are your own thoughts and take ownership of them – I am useless, I am a nasty person, I am not very loveable. Thoughts from Satan will be put there with the purpose to take you down, make you think negatively about yourself, and can contribute to anxiety or depression. It is important to pray against these thoughts in the name of Jesus and because of the authority Jesus has over Satan we can believe and trust that Satan will have to leave us alone (1 John 5:18 and James 4:7)

The Armour of God

There is even better news because rather than just being reactive when we feel we may be under a spiritual attack we can actually be proactive and pray for daily protection against satan and his evil forces. If you are struggling with your emotional wellbeing and preoccupied with negative thoughts, I would strongly recommend praying the armour of God over yourself, or ask someone else to do this for you, on a daily basis and take hold of this protection that is freely available and given to us.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6 : 10-17

Behaviour & Choices

Finally, I will look at the last area of influence on our emotional wellbeing which very much sits within our control and this revolves round the personal choices we make with respect to how we behave and choose to live our lives. Near the beginning of this section, I discussed how we should seek out God’s rhythm for how we live our lives and we need to have the courage to seek to be ‘counter-cultural’ because the World makes bold statements nowadays about how we should all live and what we should do. We seem to be working ever longer hours in jobs with ever increasing levels of stress and challenging targets. The pace of life seems to be faster than ever before and advances in IT has meant everyone feels they have a right to be instantly communicated with and receive instant action on their wishes and demands.

If we don’t stop to question this pace of life and level of ‘busyness’ and consider our ‘energy accounts’ with respect to deposits and withdrawals (see raise awareness Section 3) then we run a high risk of burnout and associated anxiety and depression that can often accompany this.

There are many books worth reading which might help you start to challenge the perceived cultural norms of today and it will be highly valuable if you take the time to do so: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer (YouVersion App has an abbreviated study plan if you are pushed for time) and Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels.


I will end with one simple piece of advice and this is nothing that I have come up with but comes as a directive from God Himself – take a day of sabbath each week. I can immediately feel a level of concern from some of you at this idea. I can hear some of the potential objections : How could I take a ‘day off’ each week when I can’t get everything done as it is? Or It’s all very well for you, but I have young children and it’s not just possible’ I totally agree, there are some seasons in life when this is going to be easier than others but there are compelling reasons to take a day of sabbath now and build your weekly timetable and commitments around this rather than the other way round.

God set this rhythm for Himself as described in Genesis when after 6 days of creative work He takes a seventh day of rest. Genesis 2:3 – By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. He then gave it as one of His 10 commandments to His people, having just rescued them out of slavery when they certainly would have had to work 7 days a week with no rest, He reminds them of the importance of the Sabbath as a necessary jigsaw piece of a sustainable work schedule and seals this directive into His Law as one of the commandments. Sabbath should be a’ full stop 24 hours’ that allow us to “detach” ourselves from the burdens and obligations of the rest of the week. Studies have shown that people who experience more detachment from work during off-hours are more satisfied with their lives and experience fewer symptoms of psychological strain. Moreover, as Christians, what better method and opportunity to connect with God? Finally, with all other distractions out of the way, we can recharge our minds and our bodies by focusing on the One who created them. I will end with this thought and challenge. If we feel like we can’t say no to our work or obligations for one day we are elevating work as more important than our own wellbeing. (That has echoes of the slavery God wanted to deliver us from!)

The Sabbath validates our worth and gives us permission to say “no” to those obligations for one day each week. Our allegiance is to God, our Creator, not to the world, which will never be satisfied. The world says, “Make yourself more. Give us more.” God says, “You are enough. I want to spend time with you.”

Emotional Wellness Assessment Tool

I have shown a link to a mental health assessment questionnaire below which is based on the two main NHS assessment tools used by clinicians to reveal levels of anxiety and depression. I would suggest seeking a GP consultation if you score in to the ‘red zones’ for either depression or anxiety questionnaires. If you have any suicidal thoughts or intent then please take urgent action by contacting:

Samaritans 116 123 (Freephone)
GP surgery during working hours
Sussex Mental Healthline 0300 5000 101

NHS Assessment Questionnaire

Depression screening Tool PHQ-9

Wellbeing Dials:
Score 0-4 – Green (No depression)
Score 5-9 – Amber(Mild depressive symptoms) Score 10-27-Red (Moderate to severe depressive symtoms

Anxiety Screening TQuestionnaire GAD-7

Wellbeing Dials:
Score 0-4 – Green
Score 5-9 – Amber
Score 9-21 – Red

Optional Extra – Your Mind is Unique & Wonderful

Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Maybe you have been labelled as having a ‘condition’ because your mind seems to work differently to the so-called norm in society, perhaps you know someone who has been diagnosed with ADHD or Autistic Spectrum Condition or there is someone in your family with such a diagnostic label.

It would seem there is an ever-increasing number of people being given such diagnoses and labels. It might be that we are now more able to recognise these conditions than previously or that the way we now live our lives induces a level of stress that means it is more difficult to cope if your brain processes in a certain way so more people reach a crisis point and seek medical assessment. I do believe it can be very helpful and valuable to recognise if our mind works in a certain way that leads us to interact with others and the World around us differently to someone else. This can give understanding and insight, especially if we are more prone to anxiety or mood variations. It can help us be aware of how certain situations and experiences might affect us and also help us in our relationships with others.

However, we have reached a point, certainly in the UK, where there is a very long waiting list for a diagnosis of a ‘neurodevelopmental disorder’ and unfortunately very little support and psychotherapy available for those who receive such a diagnosis. I wonder if we should be taking a fresh and new approach to consideration of this whole issue. If we believe that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made by God, and each of us is precious to Him, then the diversity we see across people with respect to how their mind works should be embraced and cherished rather than labelled and put into boxes. Some of the greatest achievements by humankind, scientific breakthroughs or perhaps sporting achievements as examples, have likely been achieved by individuals who might be labelled by our society as having Autistic Spectrum Condition or perhaps obsessive compulsive personality traits or some other ‘condition’ but their ability to apply themselves to one particular interest or area in such a dedicated and whole minded manner, because of their particular brain processing, is what drives them to be able to achieve such incredible things.

The difficulty is society sets itself up in a certain way that means some people will struggle to thrive depending on how their brain works. For some young people, going into a school which is crowded and noisy, with large class sizes and the need to sit still and concentrate all day, is a very difficult challenge and might lead to high levels of anxiety, anger outbursts and feeling overwhelmed. However, society demands that our young people should ‘generically’ fit in to this set pattern of education and development. Our lives have become increasingly busy, with a demand to stay instantly connected with one another on a constant basis through social media. People have decreasing opportunity to have quiet time and rest or even spend time ‘alone’ as society drives us to believe that we are only successful by working hard and achieving more.

It is wonderful when we follow Jesus to realise that he speaks a totally different narrative over us. In Christ we are ‘justified’ (Romans 5:1); a saint, a holy one (Ephesians 1:1); complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10); free from all condemning charges (Romans 8:31-34); God’s workmanship, created for good works (Ephesians 2:10) ; not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) This is the truth that God’s word states of who we are in Christ and is irrespective of what we have done or achieved and moreover how our individual brain works and what labels we might have over us given by ‘the World’ Our unique mind, and the way it works or differs from others, is surely an intentional part of God’s richness of creation and, if we are made in His image, reflective of the wonder of His own state of existence, although I would not suggest we can even remotely understand the incredible nature of ‘His mind’.

I also wonder from what I have seen, if some people with certain processing characteristics that might be labelled by the World as autistic have a greater gift of being more easily able to hear from God and receive prophetic pictures or words of knowledge and this starts to open up a view that they should be highly valued and cherished amongst a body of believers.

‘Understand’ rather than ‘Label’

I would suggest we should embark on understanding how our minds uniquely work and how this influences how we interact with others. Moreover, we need to understand how the minds of those around us work so we can live together in unity, loving each other well and cherishing each other’s uniqueness and gifting. In Church we should consider how we facilitate and support everyone to draw closer to Christ when we gather together in Worship and prayer. Being mindful that there is not a generic way that fits all, hence the impetus around consideration of ‘inclusion’.


James 1: 19-21 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Colossians 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

I would particularly like to highlight the area of relationships with respect to the unique ways our minds process. My observation of Christian marriages for example, is that God seems to put people together who are often very different. I believe that through a process of understanding and increased awareness of this, there is the potential for a higher level of appreciation and admiration of your partner’s unique nature and the way their minds work. If we do not have this awareness and understanding, we will have a tendency for conflict and a desire to try to change our partners way of thinking to our own and there is a potential for misunderstanding and misinterpretation as we interact with one another.

A simple starting place in recognising some of our differences is establishing one another’s ‘love languages’ (Gary Chapman) which is often highlighted on marriage courses. However, I would suggest there are many layers to uncover beyond this, such as how one of us can be very quick to respond with ‘big emotions’ in a situation (amygdala brain function) and how this can then feel overwhelming or scary. Others of us might struggle to know what we are feeling and feel somewhat disconnected from our emotions.

Those of us with ‘fast brains’ (ADHD) will have numerous thought processes going on all the time and may even verbalise these out loud in conversation but our partner might struggle to process thoughts at a quick pace and need time to reflect and consider an issue before able to act or give an opinion. Some of us might love surprises and embrace days of spontaneity ‘going with the flow’, and some of us might need days planned out in detail way ahead of time to then be able to enjoy them and have them held ‘in anticipation’.

Understanding your partner and how their mind works means we can make adjustments in how we interact with one another in love. I discuss some of these issues further in the relational wellbeing section of this wellbeing blog.

Further Reading:

Different Not Less by Chloe Hayden
Spectrum Women by Barb Cook & Dr Michelle Garnett

Consider watching: Christine McGuiness – Unmasking my Autism (BBC iPlayer)