The 24-hour news cycle makes it tough to get away from the multi-media frenzy that feeds non-stop it seems, on political pundits’ opinions or the latest global health hazard. And confusion can abound now between what is true and not – adding new lexicon such as “alternative facts”!
Add to that turmoil our current cloudy and cold days; and, mental health experts warn that all this can have significant effects on our mental and physical well-being.
While I’ve read helpful tips from mental health advocates that include taking breaks from the barrage of news to look for good headlines, I’ve found it important to reach out and help others who may feel vulnerable in the midst of this tumult.
Christian reformer Mary Baker Eddy recognized how the media of the day could influence our health. She writes in her seminal work: “The press unwittingly sends forth many sorrows and diseases among the human family. It does this by giving names to diseases and by printing long descriptions which mirror images of disease distinctly in thought… A minutely described disease costs many a man his earthly days of comfort.”(pg. 196)
As a counter to the yellow journalism of her age, in 1908 she established an international daily newspaper, the Christian Science Monitor, giving it this distinct purpose: to “injure no man, but to bless all mankind.” This venture went on to become an award-winning newspaper! It does not “gloss over serious global problems”, states the Nieman Foundation at Harvard, but “provides counter-intuitive insights on issues from the crisis in Aleppo to global warming.” Getting the facts straight is just a given for this media outlet.
Intuitive insight is looking below the surface of disturbing headlines or, even more importantly, disturbing thoughts. Over the centuries, many truth-seekers in the world have looked to the Bible for insights into how to deal with troubling issues.
I had occasion to help a friend who felt overwhelmed by the daily barrage of news, which seemed to her too negative, with little hope for the future. She was unable to sleep and felt seriously depressed. Turning to the Bible to glean some insight, as I usually do for inspiration, I shared with her this promise: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11 NLT)
This promise of hope is not some “Pollyanna” attitude that, if we ignore things, it will all work out. In my understanding of God as divine Love (see 1 John 4:16), I recognize that no one can be outside of His goodness and government.
Eddy writes about man’s relationship to a loving God with this insight: “God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason and conscience. Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love.” (Science and Health p.106)
My friend and I agreed that we needed to look at world events through the lens of God’s government. Reasoning that we could exercise our freedom of “self-government” (not getting caught up in media hype) and “conscience” (our moral compass set to Truth), we could gain balanced insight by looking at situations from a spiritually inspired standpoint.
Regardless of the continued world news that seemed chaotic at times, my friend regained her normal well-being – no more depression and a normal night’s rest. She was looking at the world through a lens that had God firmly in control. Sharing of opinions on the news with friends and colleagues took a more positive turn; and she was pleased to sometimes share excerpts from the Monitor’s headlines. Conversations about world affairs became less angst-ridden.
Every reader – even a ‘newshound’ – can watch their news diet and seek out sources that bring honesty and clarity, comfort and reconciliation to problems facing humanity. Greater mental peace can come from acknowledging only one power and control in our lives.
Wendy Margolese is a community blogger for Metroland and writes regularly on the relationship between thought, spirituality and health, and trends in that field. She is the media liaison for Christian Science in Ontario. Contact her at Ontario@compub.org. Follow on Twitter: @wmargolese