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When things get scary, what do you do when you feel overwhelmed or struggling?

“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”

Proverbs 13:4

The other day I was thinking about my friends that I have lost to the pandemic.  I turned on social media and read about the different stories going on in America.  I could feel the anxiety rising in my chest as I was pondering these events.  The overwhelming and fearful emotions began to rise.  I was struggling.  What do you do when you feel this way?

What do you do when things get scary?

If I’m honest, I vegged out on a Netflix program and disappeared in an abyss of social media and web surfing.  While this escape might satisfy a temporary itch in my psyche, I emerge from the escape later only to realize I had just wasted so much time, sometimes hours. 

People turn to all types of magical solutions to get through dark days, from meditation to self-help gurus. These temporary practices help us cope with the world around us… but these are only temporary. Sometimes we look for a talisman or a therapy measure to get us through a rough time. A better question to wrestle with: “Would you rather detach from the world to remove yourself from the chaos and do something productive or just settle for a talisman to help you cope?”

A talisman or the real solution

Do I want to devote my energies to doing something productive or not?  Am I after a talisman or am I the real thing. Do I want to improve myself or do I want to make myself feel better for a moment?

I end with this thought from the Stoic philosopher Seneca

“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.

May we all find the mental space to separate from the world long enough to focus on and do the real work.  Focus on the deeds and not just the empty words of gurus and fleeting help of a talisman. 

What are your thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from you. Add a comment or send your thoughts to william.nicholas.woods@gmail.com.

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