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James Martin offers techniques to avoid pandemic despair

Of the billions of people alive today, only a small percentage had any real experience with a pandemic that has affected the world the way that COVID has.  It can be easy to lose focus on the day-to-day things that once brought joy when one is worried about masks, allergies, their children’s education, and their jobs.

But even in light of that, one doesn’t have to be without hope. Engaging in a few simple coping techniques to help keep fears in perspective and rediscover joy in daily life can got a long way.

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest affiliated with Faith in Focus writes:

“The pandemic is a terrible reality that we must all face, and one that does not seem to be going away any time soon. It is by turns frightening, maddening, annoying, depressing and angering. In addition to the obvious health challenges, it poses—especially to the immunocompromised and to frontline workers—it is emotionally brutal. But it is not hopeless. I have found in my own life, and in counseling others, a few tips drawn from Christian spirituality that have helped me avoid despair.


  1. Be smart. There is nothing wrong with asking for help.
  2. Be hopeful. Listen to the voices that say, “There is always hope,” “I’m not alone” and “I can handle this.” Follow the hope, not the despair.
  3. Be loving. But there is always something we can do to help lighten someone’s emotional load, if not their viral load.
  4. Be monastic. To some extent, we’re all monks now, and especially now, are called to try to find God even in the mundane. I think about that guy eating fruit a lot these days.
  5. Be prayerful. Try out more contemplative prayer before your day starts; imagine yourself with Jesus and tell him how you feel about the pandemic.”

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