Dear Dr. Thomas,
I am writing a letter to you today to remind you of a couple of things. As you are well aware, the stress levels are up a little! The elections are over...wait a minute, no they're not! But just because you don't know yet who will be the next president or if the country will go socialist, not to mention, if you will encounter a local flash mob protesting the injustice of the day (just pick one...race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, politics ...you just pick your protest-of-the-day!) in a city near you, this is no reason for you to lose your mind! You can stop waking up each morning to scurry around making sure your passport has not expired as you are quite convinced you no longer are living in America! Then you sit at your computer and begin to experience a variety of symptoms as you get bombarded by the news headlines. Your symptoms range from emotional lability with severe mood swings that include sadness, anxiety and agitation, not mention those moments of rage. Your mind races so fast that you feel like a contestant on Family Feud trying frantically to get those top 5 answers registered before the 30 seconds is up! Vertigo follows, then difficulties with concentration, followed by inability to simply complete your work effectively.
Dr. Thomas, I needed to write you a letter to remind you, that you, my friend, are a psychologist. You've spent 40 years of your life trying to help people with such symptoms. Now, I implore you to step back for a minute and practice the age-old exhortation ...physician, heal thy self! That said, I know that can be quite challenging these days, even for a seasoned vet. So I'm writing this letter to you to help you out. Let me tell you how to live your life right now!
First of all, remember to breathe! How many times have you said those words to your patients through the years. Breathing restores rhythm to your life. It provides the oxygen to your brain... the same brain that becomes quite panicked at the idea that the current shortage of O2 experienced secondary to not breathing properly, is a bad thing. Go figure! You know that breathing deep and systematically relaxes the muscles and body...takes you out of fight-or-flight mode. So take time to breathe deep. It will work wonders for you!
Second, turn off the news! Clear and simple. The he-said, she-said wars, the finger pointing, the who's telling the truth is discombobulating and the powers that be would like nothing better than to suck you in, generate fear or any one of a plethora of emotions, and/or otherwise occupy your mind rent-free. And as you well know, people do not process information effectively and make their best decisions when they are emotionally stimulated. You have control of the mouse, dude...don't click on that stuff!
Third, remember all those studies you read when you were doing your first dissertation on America's Elite College Basketball Coaches? Remember what elite teams and athletes do when the pressure is really on? That's right. They run the play that they know best. They don't try to invent new plays in the heat of the battle! They go with what they know works! So, what do you know that works? That's right. Your faith! Your faith in an all-powerful, ever-loving, gracious and merciful Heavenly Father that isn't surprised or caught off guard with any of man's mess, has always worked for you. Faith is your go-to play, my friend. Faith believes against all odds and finds rest in the assurance that there is a God and you, my friend are not Him! I might ask you at this point, what about the whisper in your ear early this morning? I think it was 4:23 am to be exact. What was the whisper? Oh, yeah, Ephesians 4:23 to be precise. And when you looked up that ancient text did it not say, and you must let your spirit and your mind keep being renewed? Now, the question is, what will you use to renew your spirit and mind? Do you really think the news will do that? If so, my recommendation is that you stop being a psychologist and make an appointment to go see one!
So, Dr. Thomas, I'll close the letter now. My job was to remind you of what you already know! Now that I've done so, my work here is finished. Its in your hands now. I recommend that you eat a steady diet of those things that nourish your faith. You'll feel better if you do.
The Inner Voice of M. Russell Thomas, PhD