Is the seemingly endless stream of bad news heightening your anxiety? or maybe a loved ones? Seems like every time we turn on the news we hear about more gun violence, or another act of terrorism, or a missing child, or a scary epidemic—and it seems as if the world is growing ever more frightening.
The truth is that our highly connected culture can exacerbate feelings of anxiety. As mammals hard wired for survival, we absorb threatening messages one by one, over and over, regardless of whether a danger is truly imminent. What’s more, as your fear, sadness, or cynicism grows, you may be unknowingly transferring negative emotions onto the people closest to you (e.g. social media). We all experience empathy, and have social, cultural, and political issues that we care about deeply. There are steps you can take to control how much the negativity affects your everyday routine and outlook and the people you care about. Here are some tips on healthy ways to cope.
- Be Selective About TV and Internet Exposure. Consider avoiding jumping into your news feed first thing in the morning or just before you go to sleep at night.
- Reflect on the possible ripple effect of your approach to sharing and reacting to the news and how it may be impacting your friends and loved ones. Going about your life with some degree of positivity and optimism is an important message to your loved ones that you—and they—are going to be okay.
- Focus on and take action in positive ways you can control. Are you noticing a friend or loved who may be struggling with anxiety around bad news? Send them a message or plan a get together. You may even wish to organize a petition or write a letter to your City Councillor or MP to help take a true step towards change.
- Get outside and exercise. Nature walks have a powerful calming effect.