By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
MONROE, La. (LBM) – God’s solution to deal with anxiety that may develop from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a mindset of thanksgiving rather than anxiety and worry, according to Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries Granberry Counseling Director Kathy Eichelberger.
“I tell my clients worry and anxiety cannot co-exist with thanksgiving,” Eichelberger told the Baptist Message. “One will weigh over another. This is like a prescription God has given us to deal with the anxiety.
“Practicing Philippians 4 will help us focus on the things we are truly thankful for, and I encourage my clients to meditate on verses 5-9,” she continued. “Writing that scripture on index cards to be placed throughout your office or home is a great reminder that will give you a peace of mind.”
Like many counselors, Eichelberger and her Granberry colleagues have received an influx of questions on how to cope with the impact from COVID-19.
Despite the stresses on households resulting from the lifestyle changes mandated by the statewide lockdown, Eichelberger reminds those seeking answers not to focus on the unknown.
“We know life is uncertain and this is a scary time,” Eichelberger said. “But focusing on the ‘what if’s’ tends to burn up a client’s mental energy, which tends to derail the ability to make wise plans and to cope with the present.
“Instead, we need to turn to the thing that is bothering us the most now, which is the ‘what is,’” she continued. “By making a plan to deal with this, we can develop a plan of action and address the symptoms so they don’t continue obsessing on the unknown, which can make the problem worse.
“Focus on who you can help and check in on others through phone calls on a regular basis,” she said. “Even get the kids and teenagers involved by writing letters to their favorite senior citizen in their church or extended family. You are giving companionship and care at a time when such is needed.”
Eichelberger suggested limiting consumption of news and social media to 10-15 minutes, once or twice daily. Instead of logging on additional times during the day, she said to use that time to grow spiritually through prayer, meditating on Scripture and participating in online worship sessions.
Families also can use the additional free time to complete projects that have been delayed, as well as to call others through Skype or Facetime, to play board games and to enjoy the outdoors.
“Busyness has been one of the destructive forces in the family because families are not spending time with each other,” she said. “Now, God has given us that gift of time with one another.
“He also has given us nature, and we are at one of the most beautiful times of the year when things are starting to bloom,” she continued. “Being out in nature has a very healing effect on people. By doing so it takes our mind off the negative thoughts.”
Granberry, during this trying, has dedicated counselors available. Call 877-345-7411 or visit www.granberrycouseling.org.