Do you ever feel completely stressed out by the news cycle? Do you find your blood pressure rising when you hear the name ‘Donald Trump‘? Are you constantly confused about which disaster or charity needs the most attention because it feels like there’s always some new tragedy in the world? You’re not alone. Seriously, everyone with a WiFi connection or access to a newspaper (do people still use those?) feels the same way at least to some degree. The news is insane and we’re living in a moment in history where we can see it all unfold in real-time and HD. And that is exciting, but it’s also completely terrifying.
Life Coach Nova Browning Rutherford has some tips that can help when the news is making you feel like the world is coming to an end daily.
Take a news break
If you have to, just unplug for a while. If the news is overwhelming and social media is stressing you out, just give it a rest. You’re entitled to that. Over 30 percent of people reported taking a social media detox immediately after the the 2016 American election and boy, was that warranted.
Taking a break also gives you a moment to breathe and reflect so you don’t become desensitized or apathetic. When we’re constantly bombarded by news, it’s easy to forget that the people experiencing these tragedies are real and suffering, especially when they might look different from us or come from a different culture. When you notice yourself feeling that compassion fatigue, it’s time to take a break.
Note how and when negative news effects you most
If you’re noticing that the news is impacting your mood throughout the day, you need to figure out how. If reading the news with your breakfast, and it puts you in a bad mood for the rest of the day, maybe consider how much you read or when you read it.
It’s also worth looking at how you consume your news. Maybe it’s the images of human suffering that really get to you. If that’s the case, consider skipping the graphics and just reading articles. Realistically, humans have never had to deal with suffering on this scale and so vividly before. With a swipe of a finger, you can see a tragedy from every angle and we’re just not meant to process that. So it’s okay to opt out sometimes.
Do what you can
If you’re feeling helpless, remember that you’re not alone and that there is strength in numbers. No, you can’t single-handedly repair the damage from the hurricanes in the southern States or the earthquake in Mexico. It’s going to take hundreds of billions of dollars and a huge workforce to rebuild down there. But making a donation helps. If millions of people donate, that’s millions (or billions) of dollars of aid. Don’t feel helpless, just recognize that you’re a small but vital part of the relief effort.
Turn unproductive worry into a contingency plan
When we see human suffering, it’s natural to have empathy for those people, especially when we can relate to them personally. When you see a mother evacuating a flood with her children, you consider how you yourself would react in the same situation. Rather than worry idly about something happening to you, make that worry productive and come up with an actual plan. What would you do in the case of a flood? Now this is an opportunity to make an emergency plan. If that’s how you cope with stress, then get to it.
Be respectful of other people’s opinions
We’re all dealing with the same news so it’s only natural that it comes up in conversation a lot (or all the time). Remember that not everyone will share your opinions and beliefs when it comes to world events (duh). Don’t let conversations about the news ruin your leisure time and friendships. If you can’t talk about the news without getting into a heated debate, maybe it’s time to talk about something else.
Meditation is becoming an increasingly popular way to alleviate stress. There are also more and more apps out there to help you do it and work it into your daily routine. Calm and Headspace are two that can walk you through a meditation when you’re feeling particularly anxious about current events or just life in general.
Look for the helpers
Mr. Rogers’ mother said it best. As he told us, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”’
With every great devastation, we also get to see human kind pulling together to help one another. After terrorist attacks, during natural disasters, even after the violence in Charlottesville, there are always people putting themselves in danger or their own lives on hold to help others. Read the news, but also take time to read those accounts of people helping each other. It will restore your faith in humanity.
Remember: Good things are happening everyday too
There’s a lot of bad in the world, but there’s also a lot of good. Someone got a promotion today. Someone else got married or found out they were pregnant or was certified cancer-free. There are any number of little positive things happening in your life too. The news can be dark and scary, but there are amazing things happening too. We just have to remember them in the midst of all the chaos.