What has befallen humanity?
The time we are living in has been the most challenging. Christ says that “Men’s hearts are failing them for fear looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” (Luke 21:26). Now more than ever, we should “gird up the loins of our minds”; for we know that the perils of the last days are upon us, and one such peril is the current Corona pandemic, which has brought the entire globe to a standstill (1 Peter 1:13). The fear of the Covid-19 has changed the normal way of life. Quarantine and social distance have been the prevailing language, thereby tremendously affecting social interaction. It is true that social media platforms have offered a virtual world where we can socialize with our mates. However, living in isolation affects the state of ones mind and may lead one to feelings of depression, anxiety and general stress, because God created us in such a way that we must balance both the mental, physical and spiritual faculties of our being; in order to attain full health and stability. We want to discuss some of the ways one can maintain some balance of mind in a situation such as we are going through.
The knock-on effect
Scientists estimated that by year 2020 there will be an increase in mental health problems, especially depression. They made that predication without factoring a global pandemic in which people are to “stay home” and “keep safe.” Some notable effects of idleness include restlessness and feelings of anxiety. These in turn, make one easily irritable and somewhat impatient. Staying home without job security may lead one to worry much about their survival and sustainability during and after this time. This may mentally place some or most individuals in a desperate situation.
Seriously, it may mean “Separation anxiety” for some
Also, many have formed special bonds with their schoolmates, workmates and generally the people in their inner circles. The fact that they are not allowed to visit their regular companions, may lead to feelings of loneliness for that which is now missing from their lives.
“The proof is in the pudding”
Many other aspects affect our minds and may lead to mild or even serious mental problems, but we want to minimize this discussion to the pandemic and how we can deal with it.
“The relation that exists between the mind and the body is very intimate. When one is affected, the other sympathizes. The condition of the mind affects the health to a far greater degree than many realize. Many of the diseases from which men suffer are the result of mental depression. Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse, guilt, distrust, all tend to break down the life forces and to invite decay and death.”－ (MH 241.1)
E.G. White adds an interesting piece of information: mental stress or injury can actually cause disease on the physical being. It is worth noting in that in some cases, because of mass hysteria that may come about from daily exposure to media reports of death and sickness, one may even believe they have Covid-19 and actually exhibited the symptoms of the virus. This has in past times been proven in many different drug experiments, where some patients were given the original drug and others were given a placebo, yet both showed similar symptoms as those that are taking the actual drugs. Therefore we ought to be aware of just how powerful the mind is over the body, and how what we allow ourselves to think may have devastating effects on the body.
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”－ 1 Peter 1:13.
This is the first step to consider: guard your mind; be very vigilant to know what you are thinking in that moment. In both a literal and figurative sense, “Be sober.” That is, be not drunk with thoughts of anxiety, or even with alcoholic beverages that benumb your senses.
In addition, let not your raising thoughts of fear and insecurity overpower what little beauty and positivity you may still be able to acknowledge and experience in the world today. If you don’t see any good, search high and low. Train your mind to have a brighter view. Give yourself more reasons to live, e.g. your family, the blessing of friends, the fact that God’s grace has kept you thus far, and many more reasons. You may even literally make a list of how many things you are grateful for in your life, because if you were to view that physically, it will register differently in your mind. The information will have seem more tangible and have a reasonable impression than the sometimes exaggerated or amplified imaginations of the overwhelmed human heart.
On top of all that positive thinking, do your best to gear your mind into a calmer and more mature mode of thought. Be serious, level-headed, sensible and/or even sensitive to the thoughts you entertain; and to your environment, ever considering how they affect you. Chiefly, hope in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; looking forward to that day when your sorrows will be no more. Although the shock of how the world is changing, and the new domestic challenges arising may overwhelm us at the present time, it is important to remember that a better day is coming for those, who trust in the sacrifice and merits of the crucified and risen Man of Nazareth.
Nazareth was one of the worst places in Israel, yet God the Father allowed that His only Son to be brought up in such a hard and challenging environment; so that He may be able to not only to save Man, but to leave him an example of how trusting in God is able to bring us through the dark circumstances and situations in our life journey (Hebrews 4:15). Hope replaces the negative feelings with positive ones, literally changing the body chemistry as stress hormones are replaced with good ones, such as GABA, which calms the mind and reduces anxiety.
The second step is to accept the condition we are in. As children of God, we were warned before-hand that when these things begin to happen, we may believe in Christ’s words contained in the twenty-forth chapter of Matthew’s account. Disease makes up one of the end-time signs; therefore, in dealing with our situation of social distancing, we must accept that it is now a reality that we are going to have to live through. The conscious decision of coming to terms with harsh realities allows the mind to find solutions. Adaptation to any situation reduces anxiety and depression. One is no longer bound and can see other ways beyond the limitations which existed before. There is a sense of liberation in the heart and mind of the afflicted one.
“At the creation, labour was appointed as a blessing. It meant development, power, happiness. The changed condition of the earth through the curse of sin has brought a change in the conditions of labour; yet though now attended with anxiety, weariness, and pain, it is still a source of happiness and development. And it is a safeguard against temptation. Its discipline places a check on self-indulgence, and promotes industry, purity, and firmness. Thus it becomes a part of God’s great plan for our recovery from the Fall.”－ Ed 214.
“Action is a law of our being. Every organ of the body has its appointed work, upon the performance of which its development and strength depend. The normal action of all the organs gives strength and vigour, while the tendency of disuse is toward decay and death. Bind up an arm, even for a few weeks, then free it from its bands, and you will see that it is weaker than the one you have been using moderately during the same time. Inactivity produces the same effect upon the whole muscular system.”－ MH 237.3
“Inactivity is a fruitful cause of disease. Exercise quickens and equalizes the circulation of the blood, but in idleness the blood does not circulate freely, and the changes in it, so necessary to life and health, do not take place. The skin, too, becomes inactive. Impurities are not expelled as they would be if the circulation had been quickened by vigorous exercise, the skin kept in a healthy condition, and the lungs fed with plenty of pure, fresh air. This state of the system throws a double burden on the excretory organs, and disease is the result.”－ MH 238.1
The next is to find useful labour. By so doing, we relieve the mind of stress as it will not only take our mind away from the negative thinking, but will dispel those stress causing hormones. Exercise out in the open air. This will improve the levels of oxygen in the brain the benefits are beyond estimate. The fresh morning air is best, as it contains more negatively charged ions which promote alkalinity in the system and great vitality.
“The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.”－Proverbs 11:25.
It is common that we usually like to be at the receiving end of sympathy, of care and affection, because by nature, man is selfish, but if we want to be mentally healthy, we need to go against our nature, which is impossible save the grace of God be upon us to help foster selflessness. This will strengthen you significantly to counteract the negative thoughts. The principle of being unselfish is to reach out to people, to connect with people. For instance, when you feel lonely, call someone you think may be feeling as you do, and do for them what you would like to be done for you. This allows you to take your mind off of focusing on your thoughts and gives you a sense of worth, which is good for the mind.
“… If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”－Exodus 15:26
“Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power—these are the true remedies. Every person should have a knowledge of nature’s remedial agencies and how to apply them. It is essential both to understand the principles involved in the treatment of the sick and to have a practical training that will enable one rightly to use this knowledge.”－ MH 127.2
- “Gratitude, rejoicing, benevolence, trust in God’s love and care—these are health’s greatest safeguard. To the Israelites they were to be the very keynote of life.”－ MH 281
- “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken”.－Proverbs 15:13
- “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
－ Proverbs 17:22
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”－ Philippians 4:8,9
As we go through this crisis, let us remember the cry of the servant of God to His people: “In harmony with the light given me, I am urging people to come out from the great centers of population. Our cities are increasing in wickedness, and it is becoming more and more evident that those who remain in them unnecessarily do so at the peril of their soul’s salvation”. －Manuscript 115, 1907