- At Least 32 Injured After Van Strikes Crowd In Barcelona
- Hundreds Feared Dead After Mudslide In Sierra Leone
- 2 U.S. Service Members Killed, 5 Injured In Northern Iraq
- White Supremacist Rally In Virginia Turns Violent
- U.K. Police Arrest Man Suspected Of Shoving Woman Into Path Of Bus
- North Korea: Final Plan By Mid-August For Firing Missiles Near Guam
- Woman Guilty of Coercing Boyfriend to Kill Himself by Text
- Black Hawk helicopter with 5 crew members on board crashes off Hawaii, Coast Guard says
These are just a few of the newsworthy headlines from the past two weeks. Think about that. In two short weeks, we’ve learned that North Korea is threatening a nuclear attack on Guam (and the USA). We’ve had to watch neo-Nazis and white nationalists spew their hatred with one going so far as to ram his car into a crowd of people. We’ve heard the story of a depraved woman who encouraged her boyfriend (via text messages) to kill himself. We’ve seen the loss of life after natural disasters struck various parts of the world: wildfires in California, mudslides in Sierra Leone, and an earthquake in China. We’ve mourned the loss of our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Hawaii. And then there’s the constant turmoil in Washington D.C. Ugh. Are you exhausted yet?
Since I’m one of those people who is strongly affected by the suffering of others, I’ve had to find ways to cope with stressful world news. The events of September 11th, 2001 took me down a very dark path and it’s a place I don’t want to return to. In order to stay in the light, I have to make sure that I engage in acts of self-care. In other words, I have to do things to help counteract all the bad news in the world. There will always be bad news but that doesn’t mean you and I have to allow it to affect our mental health.
7 Tips To Help You Cope With Stressful World News
1.Get the facts and get out
When the white nationalist protests occurred in Charlottesville this week, instead of leaving the TV on for hours (or all day), I watched and listened for 30 minutes and then turned the TV off. In other words, I got the facts and got out. Watching the continual replays of Nazi flags, Nazi salute and people fighting with one another serve no purpose. I knew that the more coverage I watched, feelings of anger, sadness, and dismay would only increase. In order to preserve my mental health, I limit the amount of news I consume and I highly recommend you do the same (applies to TV, online, print, and radio).
If the news is stressing you out, talk to someone about it. Whether it’s your spouse, best friend, cousin, father, neighbor, or online friend, talking helps you sort through your feelings, put things in perspective, and release tension. If you’re not comfortable talking to someone in your social circle, consider seeing a therapist. Therapists are trained to be objective, non-judgmental and your conversations are confidential.
Get outside and take a walk in the park, zoo, or gardens. According to one research study, time spent in nature was found to have a positive effect on mood as well as a dampening effect on anxiety. I know I’ve been convinced that cherry blossoms restore the soul.
I’m sure you’ve heard that exercise helps your body release endorphins (the feel good chemicals) but did you also know that exercise reduces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline? Elevated cortisol levels are common in people who work stressful jobs, are overweight, and are regularly exposed to stressful situations. For those of us who are sensitive to bad|traumatic|negative world news, repeated daily exposure is probably enough to raise our cortisol levels, and adrenaline. To help combat this, we need to go punch that punching bag, hop on the treadmill, sweat it out on the elliptical, or go for a long run.
Hobbies are an enjoyable interest or activity that allows your mind to relax and recharge. Time seems to fly by because you’re so focused on the task at hand. I know that when I’m crafting or DIY’ing, I lose all sense of time and all my cares and worries seem to fade away. Hobbies are a stress reducer because they’re enjoyable, have no deadlines, no rules, no expectations and they allow a brief respite from reality. Go back to the top of this post and re-read those headlines again. Who wouldn’t want a brief break from reality?
6.Random acts of kindness (RAOK)
Sometimes the best way to deal with stress and negativity is to do something kind or good for someone else. I’ve been the recipient of a RAOK and it happened on one of the crappiest days of my life. You know what turned my day and attitude around? The person in front of me (at a Starbucks drive thru) paid for my coffee and told the barista to tell me “have a wonderful day.” That simple act made me smile, adjusted my attitude and reduced some of the stress I was feeling. If you’re looking for ways to spread positivity, brighten someone’s day, and reduce your own stress level, check out these Random Acts Of Kindness ideas from the Crafting Chicks.
Don’t let the external bad news become your internal attitude. Try to find the good in the bad. Be grateful for what you have instead of what you don’t have. Thank your lucky stars that it wasn’t your loved one killed in Charlottesville, or buried in the mud in Sierra Leone, or killed in an ISIS attack. When you do this, you’re not being selfish or insensitive. You’re being thankful. And thankfulness is part of having a positive mental attitude.
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
How do you combat stress in a news weary world?
Disclaimer: Although I am a trained mental health therapist, I’m not your therapist. If you have feelings of depression or anxiety that are interfering with your daily life, consult a medical professional for guidance.