It seems inescapable. Every hour on the hour whether through the mainstream news sources or social media, we hear about the steady encroachment of Ebola, so that even the most carefree among us is bound to feel a bit tense. Here’s the good news. Though you feel anxious, your response is normal and can even be helpful if well managed. Evolution has hardwired into us a fight-or-flight response. When we feel threatened, we either wish to remove the threat through force or to flee from it, and anxiety is the engine that drives our survival in such circumstances. In times of crisis, the intense feeling can insure we do what will best protect us. Still, if you don’t wish to live 24 hours a day in a heighted state of alert, what can you do about it? Cognitive therapy exercises, in which we check out the reality of our perception by looking at the evidence, can reassure us. Psychological science suggests three things. First, get real by doing the math. Step back and calculate the odds that you’re at risk for Ebola. There are currently 319,000,000 people in the United States. Even if a million people came down with it, you’d still have less than one-third of one percent chance of contracting it. In other words, there is over a 99% chance you’d be just fine in even the worst-case scenario. Doing the math demonstrates the fear of Ebola in the United States is irrational. Second, talk to others about your fears. The upside ...
Jody R. Johnson, M.Div., LICSW In our hurry-up world, it’s tough to take time out, much less to intentionally do nothing. And for those in ministry, there are added pressures to be productive, ‘on’, and available. When the well runs dry, people may continue to do effective ministry for a time, but eventually problems will surface- perhaps in a sense of ‘dryness’, irritability or depression, physical ailments, or tension at home. Centering prayer can offer those in ministry an oasis of spiritual refreshment that overflows into service.
Imagine this scenario; two individuals are both talking about a task that was to be completed by one of them as requested by the other individual. Suddenly however, the discussion becomes much more than a simple conversation. This kind of discussion could take place almost anywhere and with almost anyone. It could take place in your home with your significant other or child, at your work place with a co-worker, or even during a trip home to visit your parents or siblings. You know the kind of discussion, the kind that quickly moves from a talk about an event that’s just occurred to a heated exchange about who said what, who did what, who meant what, and how everyone feels about what happened. The following dialogue is an example of such a conversation when things are reaching a point of really become heated. Let’s peek into this conversation and hear what each participant has to say: Individual #1 “Look, I understand what you did but that’s not the point. The point is that you didn’t do what I asked you to do and that bothers me. That’s what I’m trying to tell you.” Individual #2 “Well you don’t think your response bothers me? I was trying to be helpful but instead of gratitude for my effort I only get told that I was wrong in what I did. You know how that makes me feel? It doesn’t make me feel happy at all.” Individual #1 “Wait, don’t turn this back on you. I’m trying to make a ...