Recently, a friend of mine, Mary Lynn, was asked to give the sermon at our church. Her topic was fear and the insidious impact it has on our well-being and spirit, sometimes without us even realizing it. She noted how we are constantly barraged by the 24-hour media cycle with all that is bad in the world. We all see it, wars, climate disasters, inflation, and on and on. This can create a constant state of heightened awareness of all that can go wrong and can make it difficult to maintain perspective.
Mary Lynn noted that “our fears tell us all of the ways the world is ready to disappoint us and all of the ways we fall short. We have fears of missing out or not fitting in, fears of disappointing or angering others, fears of not having enough or doing enough or being enough.”
If we let fear control us, both our physical health and our sense of well-being and happiness will suffer. I’ve written about how optimism improves our well-being. Fear and constant anxiety have the exact opposite impact.
But fear is a normal and often helpful response so our goal should not be to eliminate fear but to manage that fear response to situations where it is appropriate.
Some ideas to help reduce fear and anxiety are to 1) tune out – limit social media and how much you are watching the news 2) explore breathing exercises which are proven to reduce stress, 3) exercise, and maybe most of all 4) increase your social connections with friends and family. Almost as important is to recognize that the barrage of negative news does have an impact on us, and we need to take action to counter it.
Take care and stay safe.
You Didn’t See Nothin
Part investigation and part memoir, “You Didn't See Nothin” follows Yohance Lacour as he revisits the story that introduced him to the world of investigative journalism, and examines how its ripple effects have shaped his life over the past quarter-century.
In 1997, Lenard Clark was beaten into a coma by a gang of older white teens simply for being Black in a white neighborhood. One of Lenard’s attackers was from a powerful Chicago family, with connections to the mob dating back to Al Capone. The media quickly turned towards stories of reconciliation and racial healing, enabled by Black leaders seemingly in thrall to the attacker’s family.
Yohance wasn’t having any of it. At the time of the attack, he was in his early 20s, writing plays, selling weed, and living at his dad’s house on the South Side of Chicago. Unable to stand by silently, he began working with a neighborhood newspaper to investigate the vicious hate crime. Reporting on the incident led him to grow increasingly disillusioned with journalism.