The world is feeling rather chaotic right now, and you may be finding it challenging to keep yourself sane amid the constant stream of news about the coronavirus. Perhaps you’re cooped up at home with your family, trying to practice social distancing. These kinds of situations can take a toll on our mental health and our ability to think clearly. So how do we stay sane?
Here’s one idea for you to chew on: Distinguish between real and imaginary stress.
With the news constantly focused on the unfolding pandemic, it’s easy to fall into the trap of blowing the situation out of proportion. Thoughts of the deaths of loved ones, bankruptcy, or running out of food begin screaming in our heads. But are such thoughts justified? Are they realistic? Probably not. But our bodies still react to the stress in the same way that they would react to real stress.
How can we combat these kinds of alarmist mindsets? Next time you catch yourself going down a pathway of imaginary stress, ask yourself: “Is my stressor realistic?”
If it’s not, ask God for the grace to replace the thought with the truth of the situation.
And if you find that your stress is coinciding with reality, may you draw encouragement from the wonderful promise of peace in Philippians 4:6, 7:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (NKJV).
For more strategies to deal with stress, subscribe to our digital edition and read “Six Mental Strategies for Stress Relief” in our current issue on the topic of resilience.