Last week I began a series regarding reasons for personal stress and depression. For the first five points, please refer back to that article. Here are five more reasons to consider:
1. Stress management and the “Ball in a box syndrome”
Many of us have experienced the loss of a loved one through death or alienation. This can change the contour of our whole being, often resulting in severe pain that can be continually triggered by a hurtful memory or by daily life routines and experiences. Severe pain may stay with us for the rest of our lives; however, the nature of grieving is such that it eventually dissipates gradually over time. Many psychologists use the metaphor of a bouncing ball in a box with a pain button to describe the above. This helps to explain “grief triggers” at random moments when painful emotions return at unexpected times when “the bouncing ball hits the pain button in the (metaphorical) box.”
For example, when a person’s grief is fresh, the ball takes up most of the box and continually hits the pain button repeatedly, which is why the pain is constant. As time elapses, the ball gets smaller. Hence, the pain button gets hit less frequently.
2. Vulnerable narcissism
This is when a person compensates for being psychologically neglected as a child by acting overly self-focused and narcissistic. Hence, they subconsciously act out in this manner to protect themselves from inadequate feelings. Many often go between feeling inferior and superior when comparing themselves to others, and they often feel offended or anxious when others do not give them special treatment. This up-and-down cycle of continually being offended based on unrealistic expectations and feelings of superiority often results in broken relationships and internal anger, leading to stress and depression.
3. Sedentary lifestyle
By sedentary, I am describing a person tending to spend much time seated, somewhat inactive. According to many experts, “Sedentary behavior increases feelings of nervousness, restlessness, hopelessness, or even tiredness. Adding regular exercise to your daily routine can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more.”
Furthermore, this lifestyle raises the risk of obesity and various diseases, including heart and coronary artery disease, heart attack, and high blood pressure, furthering the likelihood they will experience stress and depression. Negative sedentary habits include sitting for long periods in front of a television, various forms of entertainment, and excessive social media feeding. This contrasts with mentally active sedentary behavior patterns, such as reading, writing and participating in group games (I.E., board games like scrabble, playing cards, and chess) and dialogical meetings that are not always associated with risk.
4. Social media feeding
Some people are so addicted to social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and more that they waste countless hours reading random posts and fake news every day. They constantly post things about their life merely to get likes and affirmation from others. While I am a fan of social media as an incredible resource for communicating with others, it can also distract us from doing purposeful things, and even harm our mental health.
5. Not developing a robust spiritual life
The main thing that got me through many challenging seasons of my life over the past 45 years as a Christian is a robust prayer life, continually seeking the Lord, and feeding on His Word. Many people I speak to experiencing either burnout or continuous bouts of anxiety and depression because they do not consistently spend time in the Word of God. The Bible clarifies that when we wait upon the Lord, God renews our strength (Isaiah 40:31).
Jesus said if we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit (John 15:1-7). The book of Psalms describes a person who practices a lifestyle of meditating on the Scriptures like a tree planted by the streams of water that bear continual fruit and who prospers in whatever he does (Psalm 1:1-4). Furthermore, God commanded Joshua to meditate on the book of the Law day and night, so that he would be courageous and prosperous (Joshua 1:8-9).
In conclusion, it is important for all believers to properly steward their time, their bodies, and their divine assignment. For this to happen, we need to be self-aware and understand the triggers that manifest the unresolved issues within our souls. Ultimately, only Jesus can heal the broken places of the human heart and deliver us from anxiety and depression. Let us continually look unto the Lord to sustain us and deliver us.
As King David said several thousand years ago:
“I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:4-6).
May the Lord deliver you as you look to Him for deliverance. Amen.
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally-known author, consultant, and theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence culture. He is the founding pastor of Resurrection Church, and leads several organizations, including The U.S. Coalition of Apostolic Leaders and Christ Covenant Coalition.
To order his books or to join the many thousands who subscribe to his newsletter, go to josephmattera.org