Antidote For Social Hysteria

I got off schedule. I let myself get so busy that I didn’t do the one thing that I promised myself I would do every day: write this blog. But rather than beat myself up, I’m here. Sitting at my desk, looking at my dandelion print and seeking that little seed to send off into the world today.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about all the voices in the world. So many people, thoughts and opinions with a multitude of ways to express every single idea. How can one possibly make sense of all this? And, here I am…just one more voice vying for a place in your life. But there is a difference between what I strive for here and what happens in so much of the social media world; I am not here to tell you what to think or do, I am here to share how I cope with the hysteria of the world and point to the One who is really in control.

The Spread of Hysteria

News stories about terrorism, disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and other potential threats become increasingly negative, inaccurate and hysterical when passed from person to person, according to new research by the University of Warwick.

It should come to no surprise that hysteria amongst humans is highly contagious. In a story from Science Daily we learn some interesting truths. The most telling one is also something I have heard from other studies as well. It seems that once we humans latch on to an idea or a belief simply being given the facts is not enough to change our deeply held position.

In every chain, stories about dreaded topics became increasingly more negative, and biased toward panic and fear as it was passed from person to person — and crucially, this effect was not mitigated when the original unbiased facts were reintroduced.

The original neutral information had virtually no effect on reducing people’s increasingly negative outlook.

Isn’t this fascinating? Once we have accepted information as truth our brains are seemingly unable to move back and recognize facts. That is, our brains alone are incapable of accepting the truth. There is a way and that is how I survive the increasingly chaotic world we live in today.

Through Jesus I have God’s Holy Spirit through whom I have access to the God of Truth. When my natural mind can no longer handle the craziness I know where to go. I don’t have to panic because God has all this under control and all I have to do is be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).

In the simple act of being still and listening for God to give me clarity I also receive peace. In the case of Corona Virus, I take the precautions but I don’t wring my hands or clutch my pearls over stepping out in public. I simply don’t buy into the hysteria surrounding the virus. It is real. It can kill—a small percentage of the population—but it isn’t the end of the world. Politicians and the news media all have something to gain from telling this story in a certain way.

I choose a different path. I choose God whose peace passes all understanding. The only way to maintain this peace is to spend quiet time with God and turn off everything else. Guard your mind and heart with all your might. Dwell on good things and find peace. That is my prayer for you today and always.

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