How a Faith Life Can Help You Through the COVID-19 Pandemic
The past few months have been stressful for people across the entire globe. As each community deals with the novel coronavirus and its long- and short-term effects, people struggle to care for sick loved ones, pay their bills and keep their children safe. However, the virus also has effects that are not as obvious. Because of the stress and fear associated with the pandemic, many people have developed mental health issues. While these problems should be addressed with your primary health care provider and a psychiatrist, you can also supplement your mental wellbeing by becoming involved with spirituality. Having a faith life provides the following benefits during challenging times.
A Built-In Support Group
Many people have become lonely during their time in quarantine, even if they live with other people. While online interactions are no replacement for in-person gatherings, they do provide much-needed support. Most faith groups have a variety of small groups for all ages, and many have transitioned to online meetings using technology such as Zoom. Check your community’s schedule to find a meeting that fits your lifestyle. Other faith communities, such as The Way International, already engage with believers outside of one geographical area and are especially ready to connect people who are physically separated from each other.
A Source of Guidance
As people witness the suffering of so many people during this pandemic, they tend to ask, “How can God let people suffer so much?” or, “How can I believe in religion if I see so much pain?” These are valid questions, and joining a religion does not necessarily answer either of them. However, it does provide a source of guidance for finding partial answers and your steps forward. Some traditions have sacred texts such as the Bible and Qu’ran which give believers access to the teachings of their religions’ founders. Others encourage devotion to previous believers who lived particularly virtuous lives, as in the Catholic belief in the Communion of Saints. Still more religions have regular homilies or sermons from religious leaders on topics that are relevant to modern believers. All these practices and countless others prepare spiritual people to confront complicated situations with hope rather than despair.
A Method for Finding Peace
Many psychiatrists recommend practices such as meditation in addition to medication and counseling when treating patients with anxiety and depression. Meditation and prayer are central aspects of most religions, as they allow believers to connect with the transcendent elements of their faith traditions. If you actively live out the spiritual aspects of your religion, you force yourself to take the time to think carefully about your actions and the events in your life. This makes it easier for you to understand or accept difficult realities and to continue working through dangerous and uncomfortable circumstances.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has upended the lives of even the most confident people. While you can’t control other people’s responses to the virus, you can center your life in a faith tradition that prepares you to meet difficult situations with peace.