A CHRISTIAN LADY SAID, “WOW! WHAT WAS THAT? All of a sudden for no rhyme or reason, a distressed feeling came over me; a despondent, disconsolate, doleful feeling of fright and dejection, an awful down in the dumps feeling.”
Is she needing professional counseling? Did this strange feeling of scared melancholy arise out of physical distress, maybe mental, emotional suffering? Is there no one to help her? I care, but I was a pastor of a church. Is there anyone out there to care? It still begs an answer to her why!
Is it a learned helplessness in her part?
Psychology Today magazine quotes Thomas Plante: “The American Psychological Association’s yearly Stress in America study found that stress levels have never been higher, with most people pointing to the state of our national politics being the cause of their stress; it ranked higher than personal work and family troubles. Extreme divisiveness, incivility, verbal aggression, and so forth seem to get worse by the day. Worries about the future of our nation and society is on the minds of all. While anxiety and stress is commonplace, perhaps despondency is now setting in.”
Continuing Plante’s thoughts, he suggests a few things:
•Connect with others of like mind and do something, anything, for positive change.
•Embrace the notion that you can work to change what you can control and accept what you just can’t control.
•Reflect upon and evaluate your own values and ethical principles carefully and be sure to express them in civil ways to others.
•Minimize media exposure and inflammatory news that tends to escalate problems and worries.
•Be sure to spend time in relaxing activities such as being in nature, getting away from computer and smart phone screens, and engaging in healthy activities such as exercise and spending time with friends. [And stay away from Facebook!]
•Engage in satisfying service and volunteer activities where you feel that you might be able to make a difference in the lives of others.
•If you are spiritually or religiously engaged, increase your involvement with your spiritual/religious tradition and community.
•Get professional help if your stress doesn’t get better. You can start with the Help Center at the American Psychological Association if you aren’t sure what direction to go to get assistance.
So, what do you think? What can you do to cope?
(Copyright 2018, Thomas G. Plante, PhD)
It is interesting that Plante suggests engaging with your spiritual community. The Psalmist encourages God’s people –
“Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God – soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God!
“I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.”
Psalms 120:1 (nlt)
“The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.”
Psalms 121:7-8 (nlt)
“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.