Seven Questions for Establishing Healthy Mental Agility in 2022

You are walking through what are possibly the most stressful couple of years that our generation will face. Coping mechanisms were created for times like these. But they aren’t meant to become habits. When they do, one thing that suffers is our emotional health—our mental and psychological well-being. Following are some coaching tips for emotional health that may be helpful to your clients…and maybe for you, too.

“Mismanaged emotions not only determine whether you will become sick but also whether you will be happy, fulfilled, and successful in your life”

Hopelessness And Progression Of Heart Disease, Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis Vascular Biology
Everson, S A. Kaplan, G A. Goldberg. D E. Salon,R. 17, (8) pages 1490-1495. 

That quote says a lot.  As a leadership and ministry coach I do not have the expertise of a counselor, psychologist, or medical doctor. However, I share my perspective based on coaching hundreds of leaders in their mental agility (self-awareness or what is commonly known as Emotional Intelligence – EQ). From that experience, I want to share three observations:

 

Three observations on mental agility

  1. What the authors of the above quote are not saying: if you manage your emotions well you will live a healthy, happy, fulfilling and successful life.  We all know people who do all the right things to manage their emotional health yet suffer the cruelest complexities of life. Yet there are things within our control that, if managed well, can mitigate the side effects that lead to some physical ailments. The things that are outside of our control–like DNA, pre-existing conditions, or certain pre-dispositions–we have to navigate as they come.
  2. Happiness is not the same as joyfulness!  Happiness is a temporary state.  Joy comes from the ongoing, internal work of the Holy Spirit. You might not be happy at the moment–in fact, you might be suffering, grieving or feeling downright ornery–but you can maintain your joy in the experiential knowledge that God is always at work, knowing He can sustain you through the most difficult life and ministry challenges.

Though the cherry trees don’t blossom
and the strawberries don’t ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I’m singing joyful praise to God.
I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I’m king of the mountain!

Habakkuk 3:17-18 (The Message translation)

3. Fulfillment and success are not the best gauge of well-managed emotions! This third point takes me to our current state of affairs at this moment in history.

Most–if not all–leaders who have led their churches well through the pandemic have at some point questioned their judgment. This has led some leaders to new heights and others to greater depths than they have known before. Leading in this season is a wild roller coaster ride and not for the faint of heart.

Can you relate to the roller coaster of mental agility?

In our current conditions your level of fulfillment and success may have hit a lull (or an all-time low). In these moments you are being challenged to respond differently. This may be more difficult than you anticipated. Yet, you are learning to remain in the moment, steadfast and unwavering, learning to pivot in order to see your situation from God’s perspective. This has allowed you to take a deep breath, celebrate the good things that can be redeemed from the situation at hand and move on with a renewed sense that you did what needed to be done based on the information at your disposal.  Doing this over and over again is helping you develop new muscles of resilience.

So much is happening right now in our world that is shaking the foundations of the church. If I were to describe what is occurring in our world it would be old news by the time you read this blog due to the rate of change and the expediency of social media! Rather than attempt to diagnose what’s happening, allow me to share seven questions to help you grow your mental agility and exercise your resilience when the path forward is unclear and changing without advance warning.

7 questions to help you grow your mental agility

    1. What insights about your mental agility can you glean as you have led over the past 21 months?
    2. How can you consolidate those into new behaviors to manage your emotions?
    3. Reflect on a real situation and consider how you can apply that learning in real-time?
    4. What difference will it make if you do this well?
    5. Is the benefit worth the effort?
    6. What will you do to move the learning from a theory to a practice?
    7. After you have taken a step of action, what new insight(s) do you have?

It’s time to focus on your health!

Introducing a FREE six week series (Wednesdays at 8am PST starting January 12, 2022) specifically designed for ministry leaders!

You are invited to the Healthy Habits Workshop Series to set the tone for 2022.  I will be partnering with my colleague Micah Dodson (Thrive Church Planting), along with Gina Reinecke (OptaVia Health Coach) to help you create a plan that allows you to thrive in 2022.

 

Healthy Habits Workshop Series

 

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