June 05, 2020
We’ve been in quarantine for more than two months now. So . . . kumusta ka?
The government may have adjusted the quarantine guidelines, but this season will continue indefinitely until a vaccine is developed.
For me, the “crash landing” of so many sudden disruptions has left me lutang for about two weeks. The constant bombardment of news has made it more difficult for me to come to terms with my current reality.
In fact, health experts worldwide have been sounding the alarm that mental health issues will be the “next pandemic,” due, in part, to the quarantine measures in past months. In the Philippines, this concern is further magnified by the state of our healthcare system and the lack of medical professionals in the field.
This article on mental health care may not be super comprehensive, but we hope it will reach and be of help to those who need it. We also recognize that mental health is a multifaceted issue, so this article offers only a piece of the whole solution.
Words are powerful. They don’t just describe our experiences; they shape and give meaning to our experiences. Words greatly influence and shape how we see, process, and understand the world we live in.
Words are powerful. They have the potential for both life and death (Proverbs 18:21). And they become more powerful when we declare them to ourselves.
Some negative words come from the voices in our head that call us different names.
Romans 12:2 (NLT) offers an interesting way through this struggle.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
The voices are there. These words are powerful.
But let God. Allow Him to transform you, all of you, entirely.
This pandemic has exposed our weakness, insufficiency, and powerlessness. This pandemic has also shown how, in contrast, God is sufficient and powerful. He is able to take care of you.
The voices are there. But so is His voice.
The words are powerful. But more so are His words.
With this in mind, here are a few things we can do to take care of our mental health by reading God’s word and listening to His voice.
In his video “The ABCs of Managing our Anxiety,” Pastor Tito Almadin, a licensed clinical pastoral counselor, outlines some steps that can help transform the way we think.
Admit that there are some things in life outside of your control. In these uncertain times, accepting and admitting our reality will help us more in the long run than continuing to dwell on our fears, panic, and anxiety. Relinquish control to God. Philippians 4:6 tells us how.
Behave appropriately. While people’s fears are still haunting them today, Psalm 37:23 invites us to come to God because He can guide our steps. Let’s choose to trust God and calm ourselves. Let’s declare this to ourselves: “Calm down. God is in control. God is still seated on the throne.”
Come to God with gratefulness everyday. We might ask, “How can we thank God at this time?” When we thank God in spite of the situation, we end up glorifying Him. Gratitude is a sign of our love for God.
Pastor Tito also shared some insights on how to manage STRESS effectively.
S – Simplify your expectations. In the midst of highly complex situations, simplifying our responses and approach to them can ease our burdens and give us peace in our daily lives.
T – Trust in the Lord. If we put our trust in God, we can receive the peace that we need in our daily lives. Proverbs 3:5,6 assures us that trusting Him is worth it.
R – Rest and reflect on the goodness of God. In the midst of all our concerns, we need to rest our body, mind, and emotions in the presence of God. As you rest in Him, allow the peace of God to overwhelm your heart and mind and to take away the heaviness on your shoulders.
E – Exercise. A good stretch in warm sunlight every now and then can help energize our mind and body. God created our bodies beautifully to release endorphins when we exercise, which reduces stress levels. A balanced diet is also highly recommended, if possible.
S – Spend your day with happy thoughts. We need to make the daily decision to be happy if we want to fill our hearts and minds with happiness. This doesn’t mean that we shut off all negative emotions. It means that we need to make a decision to look on the bright side of life and not just focus on the negative things.
S – Save your energy. Filtering what media we consume and what activities we do will help us manage our emotional and physical energy. The voice and words of God have the ability to strengthen us beyond the limits of our own capacity. Paul describes this as an “all-surpassing power” at work in us (2 Corinthians 4:7).
“The greatest antidote to panic is peace,” says Pastor Tito. As we fix our minds on God, we will experience perfect peace even in the midst of stress, fear, and anxiety (Isaiah 26:3).
Yes, words are powerful. But of all the voices that we hear around us, God’s word has the greatest power to shape us, transform us, and strengthen us.
Allow His voice to transform you, the way you think, and your life experiences.