I like to consider myself a rational person who’s calm and in control of what goes on around me. Sometimes, though, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the news, current events and all of those CNN updates that seem to pop up on my phone throughout the day. Just last week, I was watching the evening news and the anchors were discussing yet another school shooting that happened on the other side of the country. It feels like they’re happening much more often! My first thought was, “What if that was my kids’ school?” I felt intense fear just thinking about something like that happening so close to home. Random thoughts ran through my head, such as wanting to switch my kids to a private school to prevent them from having to deal with something so traumatic. This has happened multiple times and with different situations. For example, there was one instance where a man was killed by a drunk driver in our city and I feared for my husband’s safety since he works nights and does a lot of driving. What can I do to help better manage the anxiety that comes from what’s happening in our world today?
It’s absolutely normal to worry and become fearful when something terrible happens, even if it hasn’t personally or directly affected you. Using our vignette as an example, remember the last time you heard or read about a school shooting. Although you weren’t there to experience it on a personal level, you may still have felt shock and anger. You may have even felt fear for your own children’s or community’s safety. This fear can grow and become even more overwhelming when similar incidents happen more and more often.
If you’ve experienced these emotions, it’s important to know that there are many things you can do to help manage feelings of hopelessness and apprehension. Read on to learn what you can do.
Ways to Manage
If you’re experiencing anxiety that’s been brought on by negative and sometimes frightening world events, then know that there are many things you can do to help yourself feel better. These include, but are surely not limited to, the following:
Listen to What Others Are Saying
There’s no better emotion than learning that other people share your feelings. If you’re feeling saddened or worried about an unfortunate world or local event, check out what others are saying, especially those that feel the same as you do. Knowing that you aren’t in this alone, and with support from others, can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.There’s no better emotion than learning that other people share your feelings. Click To Tweet
Connect with Like-Minded People
It may be difficult to do this, but it can be done. For example, look for the positive points that might come from the situation. Take, for instance, what we shared in the vignette above. Surround yourself with those who might be fighting the same issues. In this case, a group fighting for safer schools for our children.
You won’t be alone, and if it makes you feel better, join in helping others who may be feeling the same way. Stay informed and keep track of what those who you support are doing. This can help even more in knowing that you’ll be part of a support network.
Talk it Through
This ties into our first point. Remembering that you aren’t alone in this can help lift your spirits. Speak to a friend or loved one who is going through the same rough time as you. Share your feelings and come up with some ideas on how to overcome whatever it is that’s weighing you down.
Go out on a limb and do your best to really explain why you are reacting the way you are. We are guessing that your friends and loved ones will hate to see you in pain and will do what they can to help.Speak to a friend or loved one who is going through the same rough time as you. Click To Tweet
Clear Your Mind
This is another one that’s easier said than done, but there are several things you can do to take your mind off of whatever it is that’s making you feel down. Reading opens your mind and lets you get away from the troubles of life. Exercising can also be beneficial, as it will help you relieve tension and bad vibes. Spending time with a spouse, relative or friend can also feel great since you’re placing yourself in an environment of love and camaraderie.
Turn Off the News
We know from studies following 9/11 that repeated exposure to horrific news images is detrimental and can contribute to the development of anxiety, depression and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Turn off the news, alerts and social media for a while to take a break. Keeping the daily tragedies running on a constant stream is not helpful and does not allow us to use our natural coping strategies to keep our reactions in check.
It is also important to remember that reporters choose the most notable aspects of a story to report, and sometimes this means that the most dramatic, upsetting or graphic topics are spoken about. They don’t always give equal time and attention to the good people and aspects of the stories they report.Turn off the news, alerts and social media for a while to take a break. Click To Tweet
Seeking Professional Help
Licensed mental health professionals who deal with traumatic events and the emotions that come with them are perhaps your best bet in overcoming your troubling feelings. Sitting down and speaking openly about what’s bothering you, how it’s affecting your daily life and relationships with others cannot only help with lifting heavy emotions off your shoulders (as nobody should have to carry them alone), but it’s sometimes a needed first step in moving on with your life.
Although the tips provided above can help you get past feelings of anxiety, they may not work for everyone. This is why it’s important to know that there are other avenues you can take to feeling normal again.
We Want to Help
Rice Psychology Group fully understands how anxiety and the troubling world around us can be difficult to deal with. That’s why our team of psychologists welcomes anyone feeling this way to our supportive, comforting and non-judgmental environment. If you’re experiencing overwhelming anxiety due to events in the news or even in your own personal life, then we want to hear from you. Get in touch with us today in Tampa to start your journey to feeling better.