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Coping with Crisis – Part I

We watch the news and hear the ongoing economic and social crisis. A dangerously declining stock market, staggering unemployment rates, mind-numbing government spending. The question I keep hearing all across the United States is: What’s going on?!

When I think about these things, I think about deeper questions. The questions I believe we should be asking as Christians are: What is God doing? What should be our perspective? And how should we respond?

THE CURRENT CRISIS

America’s current troubles are not limited to the economic crisis. Christians see a social crisis as well.

The homosexual agenda marches on in America.  The scourge of pornography is now so pervasive that it seems to define America’s culture at large. America is fast transforming itself from a society that allows and markets pornography into a culture that is pornographic.  Abortion rights activists continue their crusade. Divorce rates remain unchecked and homes break apart. Unwed motherhood is accepted if not celebrated. Alcohol and drug abuse is alarming. Illegal immigration seems to defy any solution. Spectacular cases of fraud schemes have landed billionaires in jail and left many of their victims without their life savings. Political corruption is fast becoming the rule and not the exception.  We are a nation in economic and social crisis.

THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE

In the midst of this crisis, what is the perspective of the world? How do they think you should respond?

The Psych Central website is “the Internet’s largest and oldest independent mental health network.” 1   To learn a little bit about the world’s perspective in our economic crisis, I paid a recent visit and read a number of articles related to the financial crisis and our “psychological / mental health.” Here are a two examples of this website’s advice for everyone experiencing the traumas of today’s economic crisis.

“Anger over financial losses is much tougher… Your anger, like electricity, is energy. Without constraints it can strike and burn in an instant. Harnessed and channeled it can light up a city for a week. Calm down and let it go. Take steps to lower your heart rate and soothe your mind. Yoga breathing (slowly, deeply, breathe in Peace, breathe out Anger). Use a mantra, something personal. Mine is Serenity. It brings to mind the entire Serenity Prayer, which is very soothing to me. Use your mantra in combination with the breathing. Visualize a peaceful place, like floating on your back in warm tropical waters or, if it suits you better, visualize being Muhammad Ali dancing around Joe Frazier. The Zen Master says be the surfer riding the wave of anger with finesse and control. That is how I can calm down, not by denying myself my mad [sic], but by riding it out, running, writing, talking with others and then letting it go through meditation, prayer and remembering to laugh.” 2

“Like most dinner conversations last night, ours was about Wall Street, the economic recession, and our course of action. As my husband, Eric, and I talked about what we should do in this financial crisis, it occurred to me that the same tools that I use for my general anxiety disorder can be applied to frenzy triggered by the economy: when you fret about losing your home, car, stocks, junk bonds, retirement savings, college funds, and everything else …Ignore Amy

The amygdala, the almond-shaped group of neurons in the limbic system of the brain, is considered by most neurobiologists our fear system, and it acts like an ape or a human would have acted, say, back when we still had lots of hair all over. The adrenaline that you are feeling when you see the stock exchange plummet is the amygdala getting crazy, hosting a party in your head, whatever. I call my amygdala “Amy.” And whenever I panic, I tell her to go take a nap, that I can’t tolerate her noise and ruckus right now.”3

Perhaps that advice doesn’t suit you. Many in America would no doubt agree. Some of those are simply awaiting for bail-out help from the government or at least for the government to solve this mess. Others say that they refuse to be defeated and by their sheer determination, they will not bow their head in economic defeat.

Repeat a soothing mantra. Wait for the government to bail you out. Stand tall and refuse to give up. That’s about all that this world can offer by way of advice in these troubling times.  Surely there must be a better way! … There is!  We’ll discuss it in the next post.

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1  www.psychcentral.com (however, this is NOT an endorsement of this website, just an alert to inform you where some of the world’s perspective may be found)

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/03/02/mad-as-hell-anger-and-the-economy-part-two

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/02/01/recession-anxiety-8-tips-to-manage-financial-stress

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