Mental Wellness: Planning and Healing

This is the third in a series of articles on mental wellness taken from the Mental Wellness Workshop: Balkhi’s The Health of Bodies and Souls.

The spiritual underpinning of this is very critical. Cultivating the health of your spiritual heart in its spiritual and social virtues is a long-term investment. Everybody has a certain mental capacity but to be able to make choices in life with the mind, you need to bring your emotions and character to a balance.

Kings kept doctors to take care of their physical health and they kept advisors to help them put things in perspective. The advisors were part of the living education of the king. The intelligent king keeps his advisors around him because they talk about what is of benefit and so the king becomes educated. He has an awareness of his dominion.

Likewise, the believer should cultivate his physical health but he should have advisors in the form of religious teachers to take care of his religious and spiritual health. One needs to have these advisors through study and good company. When things happen, what does the intelligent king do? He turns to his advisors to help put things in perspective. 

We should have advisors concerning how we view things from a faith perspective, how we view matters concerning our relationship with Allah, and how we respond to matters with respect to our social virtues. This is also embracing mercy because all of this is a gift from Allah.

Eternal Good

Our ongoing practice and having a plan for self-care at each of these levels helps with having personal self-care because by learning we acquire the capacity to cultivate our self-care. Whenever anything happens, we should turn to experts. Furthermore, for spiritual health, you would want a circle of friends who are interested in spiritual health. If you want to be emotionally healthy, be connected with emotionally healthy friends. Seek balanced company that to the extent possible, integrates these various things.

Taking the means to care for your mental and emotional health entails knowing that you have agency. You are not incapable. This life has a purpose and the means are ahead of you. When you are not sure what means to take then reach out and consult because that consultation is not from weakness but it is an opportunity. One may need to seek trained professionals to help with different crises.

We are here in life to attain eternal good and in the pursuit of eternal good we want to pursue the worldly good out of gratitude to Allah and to facilitate our eternal good. 

The Ways of Healing 

The ideal that we seek is a balance that enables us to pursue the good. Internal and external challenges threaten the balance but you need to strive when you are not in a state of major challenges to cultivate an operational balance. 

One should have good physical life routines that cultivate a balance and that give you a grounding when these challenges arise. The toolkit is knowledge and this is needed for ongoing balance. 

If there are particular challenges you are facing then you need to find out how to address that particular challenge. One of the simple things is to go to experts and consult them. Make a purposeful plan so that you do not feel overwhelmed. With any challenge that you face, identify the particular challenge and you need to have a spiritual perspective that it is only for God to have ultimate control over all affairs. 

The purposeful planning and perspective is for you to know what outcomes you should direct yourself towards. How to do that may require consultation and this is from the strength of a believer. The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer though there is good in both. Be avid for all that will benefit you. Place your trust in Allah and do not deem yourself incapable.

Make Things Better

There are some things that you can take the means towards addressing based on your bedrock, knowledge, social circle, trustworthy people, and experts. This is all from taking the means. You are not alone in dealing with challenges.  

With experts, come up with a plan of what you can deal with. That is what Allah rewards you for. Work at it and accept that the things outside your control are from the test of life. Someone may have a particular emotional challenge they feel a great deal of sadness, someone else may have a test related to their anger, and someone else may have issues with feeling very lonely. These are all tests and you are not responsible for the outcomes. 

However, ask yourself, “What can I do to make things better?” Take the means to be able to pursue your eternal good. The things that affect the self affect you mentally and emotionally. How you view things can affect you both mentally in making your decisions and emotionally in how you respond to things happening around you.