Mental and spiritual self-care is a hot topic. On Instagram, the hashtag “loveyourself” has been used around 42 million times. However, in modern culture, self-care is attached to a “me” mentality. Is there even such a thing then as biblical self-love? Can Christians unselfishly practice self-care?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” When a new buzzword like “mindfulness” (self-care techniques) crops up in the culture, we think it’s a new idea. However, true biblical self-care is addressed and exampled throughout the New Testament. The approach diverges from that of Eastern religions in that the focus is God-centered, not centered on self.

Romans 12:2 is a core scripture on mindfulness. Paul writes, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2, NKJV).

There it is. If you want to be healthy, begin by turning your attention to pleasing God. In your daily prayer and meditation, ask him, “What truly matters here?” As your mind and spirit align with the Holy Spirit, you can see what matters: spending time with God, serving others with compassion, being present with loved ones and generous with your time and attention, creating a peaceful, positive home, and addressing challenges with the mind and direction of the Holy Spirit. Whatever is important to your life, God will reveal.

When we have the mind of Christ, the Holy Spirit works enthusiastically in harmony with us. In prayer and meditation, my faith and creativity begin to flow. The fruits of the Spirit are more emergent. I am less judgmental and more patient. In re-centering my thoughts on him throughout the day, I am fit to fight the twin enemies of self-criticism and people-pleasing. Most important, I can see the unseen, the wisdom of the Holy Spirit at work in miraculous ways.

Jesus himself understood the power of quiet time, often retreating from the crowds and noise to pray. He knew that most of the action of life takes place in the quietness of the inner man and that spiritual and mental health are foundational. If we are weak and unhealthy, we cannot effectively minister or care for others.

Anchor your mind in the Holy Spirit, and “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).