Stilling Your Soul in Troubled Times — Part 2

Image above © by 1388843 from Pixabay

By Kathy Keary

A three-part series with ideas to ease stress, anxiety and depression in troubled times.

Part 2 of 3. All articles are here.

During these troubled times, many issues are screaming for our attention. Each one of us also brought our own situations into 2020 that color our world and our lives in an array of hues. Pre-existing dilemmas may be amplified by the challenges of today.

Our emotional response to the many triggers we face is uniquely ours. No two people will respond in exactly the same way to all that is transpiring in our country and in our world. Extending kindness to ourselves and others is important.

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Stilling our souls is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. We are hopeful that some of the suggestions in this series, “Stilling Your Soul in Troubled Times,” will speak to you personally providing much needed rest for a weary spirit if even for a while.  Perhaps taking a break from the stress and strain of these days will lighten your load and the burden experienced by your loved ones. Consider these recommendations:

  • Talk to someone about the emotions that you are experiencing. Confide in a friend, family member, therapist, or spiritual director.
  • We refer you to a diagram presented by National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health that depicts the practice of fingerholding. Each finger holds the power to release an emotional response by gently but firmly holding it.
Each finger holds the power to release an emotional response by gently but firmly holding it. Click the link below to download the full diagram and instructions.

For instance, holding the index finger will relieve the feeling of worry and anxiety. Holding the middle finger decreases the feeling of anger and rage. Holding the pointer finger eases the emotion of fear and panic. Holding the thumb eases the sense of grief and emotional pain. The diagram also speaks to settling the emotional needs of children as well. http://www.nationalcenterdvtraumamh.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Fingerhold-Practice-Diagram-Final.pdf

  • Placing fingertips of one hand to the fingertips of the other hand has a calming effect.
  • Memorize a Scripture passage or mantra to replay in your mind when stress raises its head such as all or part of these:
    • Trust in the Lord with all your heart. On your own intelligence rely not. In all your ways be mindful of him and he will make straight your path (Proverbs 3:5-6).
    • Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
    • Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:11).
    • The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul (Psalm 23:1-3a).
    • Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid (John 14:27).
  • Consider treating yourself. Perhaps a special meal or enjoyable outing will bring a smile to your heart.
  • Eat a balanced diet without skipping meals. Remain hydrated.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Among other effects, alcohol can alter one’s mood and interfere with a good night’s sleep.
  • Limit caffeine intake. Among other effects, excessive caffeine can result in an increase in nervousness, restlessness, and difficulty in sleeping.
  • A pet to care for and love can bring sunshine to your day. Petting your cat and dog can be a great exercise in mindfulness allowing you to let go of stress and worry at least for a while. The unconditional love of a pet warms the soul.
  • Use social media as a way to stay in touch with and engage family and friends. Avoid sowing and furthering division via social media emitting negative energy into our already stressed world.
  • Limit time spent watching the news.
  • Engage in the practice of savoring – thoroughly enjoying the beauty in front of you. The change of seasons provides sights to behold as well as food for reflection.

Sometimes difficult times can have a paralyzing effect. It’s not uncommon for a person to resist activities that will be of benefit. You may need to be intentional about implementing practices that reduce stress and uplift the spirit. Stay tuned for additional ways to deal with our emotional response to these unusual times.

Note: New articles in this series are posted to the website every Monday. The full series can be found here: An Invitation to Something New: The Contemplative Life. On Thursday’s we’ll send an email to remind you of the articles.

[Kathy Keary, a Precious Blood Companion and spiritual director, holds a master’s degree in theological studies and is a graduate of the Atchison Benedictine’s Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the divine within. She enjoys accompanying others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]

Image above © by 1388843 from Pixabay

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