Fear & anxiety fueled by Corona Virus news
Let kindness lead you when you hear scary news reports.
Fear and anxiety can escalate when one reads news reports on the Coronavirus, fires across the planet, gender-based violence and more. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming and often I’m at a loss for words. When I read the stories, my heart aches for the pain all over the world. It’s important to guard one’s heart, but also to keep it soft and remember kindness.
Kindness softens the blows, and it gives us pause to take stock of what is going on around us at the moment.
If you’re anything like me, then all this talk can cause my thoughts to travel in a thousand different directions. Just spend ten minutes searching online, and you will find thousands of fear-mongering posts, inaccurate information and fear-driven posts. How do I really know what’s real or not?
How can I differentiate between biased online posts and false news? The world we live in breeds fake news. It’s part of the sign of the times.
How to handle fearful news without being anxious
In this post, I’d like to give you a few pointers on how to navigate the news we hear and our heart’s response. The difference between fear and danger is to be noted here.
Danger is defined as a possibility that something harmful or unpleasant will happen or a person or thing that causes harm.
Whereas fear is an emotional and a physical reaction to a situation you are in or could be in. It can also be defined as an emotion caused by anxiety or the uneasiness of being afraid of something or someone. Another website describes fear as a feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger, evil, pain.
Fear provokes a response – bottom line. However, we don’t have to give in to fear, but rather use it to move us (to action, prayer, conversation, deep thinking).
Here are a few guidelines to keep fear & anxiety at bay and maintain joy, peace and hope in your life.
Firstly, exercise clear thinking and a sound mind.
In Chapter 6 from my book, Courage in the Fire, I write:
Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss Psychiatrist, wrote: “There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt. It’s true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it’s more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together at exactly the same time. They’re opposites. If we’re in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.”
And finally, this verse reminds us that God has given us a sound mind. In some versions, it says that He has given us a spirit of self-discipline. In Greek, the transliteration is ‘sōphronismou’. The meaning of this word conveys the thoughts of self-control, self-discipline, sound judgement and prudence. It leads us to the image of being safe-minded and appropriately acting out God’s will by doing what He calls sound reasoning/sound minded. To me, this speaks of thinking full, clear thoughts and making wise decisions. The one who has a sound mind is sensibly minded and balanced. Embrace your God-given mind.
And so I ask you, how can you exercise clear-thinking as you go about your day?
Secondly, check your news sources.
Find out which are the reputable sources out there. Just because it is online, doesn’t mean that it is true. For example, the World Health Organisation (WHO) post regular updates on the Corona Virus.
Tony Rogers on Thoughtco has this to say: Look for established institutions, sites with expertise, beware of bias, check the date and avoid anonymous authors. Check the links because reputable websites often link to each other.
Thirdly, process your visceral reactions to the news reports.
Pay attention to the emotions the news evokes. Does it make you feel anxious, angry or fearful? Your body is a good reflection of what is going on inside of you. Then, think about why you feel that way. What can you do to restore calm on the inside of you? Think through these things, pray and ask the Lord for wisdom regarding your responses.
Fourth, make a wise choice.
Decide that you will not give in to fear-mongering or entertain a pathway of thoughts that lead you into fear’s cave. Remember, fear’s aim is to isolate, paralyse and rob you of your joy. That, my friend, will not happen. We will not let fear have the final word!
Fifth, turn your heart to trust in God.
Cast your cares and worries on the Lord. Soak them in and read them over and over again. Let these thoughts become familiar thoughts, and you will find your anxiety diminish and fear recede.
My friend, Sally McClung, had this to say in one of her newsletters at the end of 2019: “I had such an encouraging sense that God understands our fears…I think God understands when we go through our own unusual circumstances that we may have fear. I’ve had a number of fearful moments on this unexpected journey we’re on – I still have them come up. I haven’t had an angel appear and tell me all is well – but I have definitely had the sweet comfort of the Holy Spirit encouraging me that God is with me. His presence has been with me moment by moment. He has lifted fear and anxiety from my heart and given me His peace. He has never left me alone to face the situations that provoked my fear.”
Finally, be encouraged with these verses from the Bible on worry, anxiety and fear.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Paul writes in Philippains 4:6-7
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Jesus, in Luke 12:22-26
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper.” reminds the Psalmist in Psalm 118:6-7
Please let me know what you think. If you have any tips on how to combat fear, please leave a comment below.
If you’d like to know more about Courage in the Fire, then sign up here, and I’ll tell you as soon as I have more news. You can always email me to book a speaking engagement, or if you’d like to host a book launch in your town. I’d love to hear from you.
Two images of the women are courtesy of Unsplash