Headline Stress Disorder

I recently read that our culture is now experience what is being called Headline Stress Disorder. Everywhere we turn, we get bombarded by headlines, urgently announcing "breaking news." Traditionally, the use of the phrase "breaking news" was reserved for emergencies and truly "earth shaking" developments.  Headline stress disorder is shaking and breaking us, and leaving us anxious.

  • Dr. Jana Scrivany, an American clinical psychologist says, "Being tuned in to the 24-hour news cycle may fuel a lot of negative feelings like anxiety, sadness, and hopelessness. Subjecting ourselves to an endless barrage of tragedies and trauma can foster a real sense of being out of control."

When we feel out of control, we feel anxious, why is that? According to Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of Worry: Hope and Help for a Common Condition, "...anxiety occurs when heightened vulnerability + lack of control = toxic worry."

I am always amazed at how the Bible can be so relevant to what we are feeling today. In the New Testament we read these words:

  • "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus". (Philippians 4:10)

Every time you experience a wave of worry and anxiety, the idea is to allow anxiety to become a cue for prayer. Use stress to strengthen your prayer response.

Loss of control is not loss of concern. Don't worry about how much anxiety you feel, direct your concern toward God. Use the energy of worry to animate your prayers. The anxious feelings may subside or they may not. Don't beat yourself up about that. Allow your feelings to lead you to the fact that God is in control.

  • The Apostle Peter, the first century leader of the church in Jerusalem, says "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

Every time you pray, you are letting go of the need for control and letting God be in control.