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Spiritual Practices for Mental Health
Spiritual Practices and Resources
Faith Development, High School-Aged Youth Faith Development

Spiritual practices can help us with mental illness, just like they can help us with other difficult parts of our lives. While spiritual practices can be useful, they are not a substitute for other forms of treatment or symptom management such as therapy, medication, exercise, and getting support. Whether you’re currently struggling or working on keeping your mental health in a good place, you can try one of the following practices:

  • Work with the breath. You can use box breathing, just notice your own breathing pattern or use this breathing gif.

  • Take some time for self/community care. Caring for ourselves is sacred! If you don’t know where to start, use this guide.

  • Try meditation. While meditation can be harmful during a psychotic episode, it can help a lot with other issues such as depression and anxiety. Try the headspace app.

  • Tap into who you are as a creative and spiritual being: draw, paint, write, journal, knit, pray, do yoga, engage in ritual, use crystals or stones, use prayer beads, do the things that help you feel alive and connected to something bigger.

  • Go to church or to some other kind of spiritual community. Spiritual community can help put structure in your life and give you something to look forward to. If you can’t attend in person, go to the Church of the Larger Fellowship. It’s hard to recover alone; we recover in relationship with other people.

  • Develop tools you can use when feelings get overwhelming. For example tapping helps some people when they’re experiencing intense emotions or panic. Others find doing a 5-4-3-2-1 grounding exercise soothing.

  • Storytelling can be a way to process your experiences and bring healing. Look for local storytelling or writing workshops or discuss the potential of speaking in your congregation or community with the worship arts team or minister.

Further Resources

  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Helpline (1‑877‑726‑4727);  SAMHSA’s website has a lot of youth-oriented resources.
  • Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) is a nationally and internationally recognized program put together by folks with mental illness.
  • General Coping Strategies, compiled by Rev. Barbara Meyers, whose ministry is focused on mental health.

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For more information contact youth@uua.org.