How to Process Troubling News Reports
A Rose in a Thorny World
Psychological Impacts of Our Daily News
In the wake of the many crises our country has recently experienced, I have begun feeling the emotional impact of just listening to the daily news.
Like many people, I watch, listen, or read up on the current events every day. I feel that it is a responsibility as an adult and a member of my community to make a reasonable effort to be aware of current events that affect my area as well as my country.
Lately, however, I find that these current events are affecting me on a deeply emotional level. Last night, my daughter, who is all grown up and works as a public school psychologist, and I were talking on the phone about this subject. She says that she has been limiting her news intake to about 5 minutes a day because the intensity of the broadcasts is so troubling. She has chosen to listen to a podcast on her way to work each morning that essentially just reports the headlines. This way, when she walks in the door at work, she is aware of new issues that may be affecting her school district and her students, but her mind and heart have not been inundated with the terrifying details.
Even if you don’t live in an area that is in the crisis zone, it doesn’t mean you are not affected. These major crises affect everyone in our country on an emotional level. We worry about friends and neighbors, relatives, and even how the crises will change the economy or availability of things like fuel for our automobiles.
Tucker, A True Survivor
How Can We Control How the Local and National News Impacts Our Stress Level?
- Limit Your Daily Intake. If the current events exploding across your screens or in your newspapers is frightening or really upsetting, pick one or two sources and limit the amount of time you spend taking it in.
- Volunteer to Help. When we volunteer our services it creates a more positive feeling of being able to have some measure of control over our own lives, when the rest of the country is in chaos. After the Las Vegas Massacre in Oct. 2017, thousands of people lined up to give blood. They answered the call for help in the only way they could. Giving of their own blood saved lives. Volunteering counteracts the sense of helplessness that many people feel in times of crisis and also connects us with other caring and sympathetic individuals who are like-minded or also experiencing many of the same emotions you are feeling.
- Create a Crisis Plan for you and your family. Having a plan for how you and your loved ones will respond to a crisis gives you an element of control in the midst of chaos.
- Believe in the Power of Good over Evil. Focus your thoughts each day on finding good where you can, be it in the heart of a child or a kindness given or received. Dwell on seeing and doing good. Don’t feel you have to overpower someone else to get them to see your point of view. Accept that others feel differently, and even open your heart to them. If they are hateful or abusive in their words, simply wish them well and move on with your day. You don’t even have to say it out loud. A simple heartfelt wish is sufficient.
- Take Care of You. Here, I am not talking about being selfish or uncaring about others. I am talking about taking care of your body, mind, and soul. Eat healthy in times of stress. Take the right foods in, then add a little comfort food. Good nutrition can help us process stress. Give yourself some quiet time each day to pray or meditate on the world you hope to see in the future. Drink plenty of water, and get some fresh air and exercise. Go to a support group or start one of your own. Surround yourself with positive people, if possible, and if not, remember that you don’t have to allow someone else’s negativity to penetrate your own mind and heart.
Something Soothing to Look at.
Connecting With You, the Reader
Thank you for reading this short article. Now, will you take it one step further and share here some of your own helpful hints for dealing with the troubling news we all face with such frequency? It does not matter where you come from or who you are. We live in a time in which people need you and you need them for mutual support. We need each other, everywhere.
This writer wants to hear from you. Your concerns and hopes and how you are coping. In addition, we can share here some of the goodness we are finding as well. For example, one bit of goodness I found yesterday was watching my new neighbor’s cat sitting on top of my mail box. For some reason that tickled me to no end, and I have to thank my rescue dog, Tucker for pointing it out. He was sitting on the back of the couch making comical noises, which caused me to look out the window. It didn’t change the world, but for a few minutes it changed me.
Won’t you join me and share your thoughts?
Thank you for taking the time to read this. It isn’t my usual style here at HubPages, but I do hope it helps someone else.
Author's note: I purposely chose photos that are soothing in nature for this piece, so that we can all look at images of something other than violence, unrest, or disaster.
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© 2017 Nancy Owens