November 20, 2020
A few months ago, the Department of Health reported a spike in the number of mental health concerns during the lockdown. These cases, according to the DOH, are primarily because of so much anxiety brought about by the pandemic. You can read the report here.
The problem with anxiety has always been ubiquitous. We live in an anxious world, and the present issues that we face at home, in our school, or with the government can trigger or even worsen our own anxiety.
A quick scan of your social media feed will show you how anxious the world has become, and this collective anxiety drives people, especially students, to feel frustrated, angry, weary, or hopeless.
While the reasons for our unrest and frustrations are warranted, our response to our triggers spells the difference and will determine whether we will overcome or not. So what’s the better response?
Anxiety is like a magnifying glass that makes our problems and challenges look bigger than they are. Sure, some of our problems and situations are actually too difficult, but our anxiety magnifies the threats even more.
When this happens, we panic, lose the ability to think clearly and objectively, and allow our emotions to drive our response.
When our anxiety gets the better of us, God invites us to cast our anxiety on Him.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7
Carrying our burdens can sometimes feel like we’re carrying the world on our shoulders. When the burden becomes too heavy to bear, we cast it on others—our friends, parents, the government, or other people—which could leave us frustrated or disappointed.
That’s the reason why God invites us to cast it on Him, because He is the only One who is strong enough to carry the heavy loads, and He is Someone who cares enough to never leave us or abandon us when the going gets really tough.
So, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
As our anxieties keep us on the edge, we find ourselves easily triggered even by a single tweet, post, comment, or headline. We explode in anger and lash out at people online because of the mounting frustrations in our hearts.
How do we address our distress?
Learn how to de-stress. This means taking a step back from the heat and giving ourselves a moment to calm down. When we’re in a less stressful situation, we are able to respond more objectively, having a sound mind that comes from His peace that transcends all understanding.
This could mean taking some time away from social media to detoxify your mind and heart. This could also mean managing the news and media content that you consume.
Social media has given us an accessible platform to express our thoughts and feelings. While social media is a great tool to express, it isn’t always the best venue to be really heard.
If we want to properly deal with our anxiety, social media is not the best place to go. The best place to process our anxiety is with the right people. Nothing beats the value of actual conversations with people who will listen to you, ask you questions, engage your ideas, and help you process your emotions.
Amid all the things that are happening in the world, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). This includes all of our struggles in this anxious world.
Because God will turn all things for our good, anxiety does not have the final say over our lives. Instead, our struggles with anxiety allow us to experience God’s peace in the middle of the storm.
Photo by: Liam Teves