How to Process Troubling News Reports

Updated on October 7, 2017
Nancy Owens profile image

Nancy has over 20 years experience in the administrative support industry. She is an entrepreneur, writer, mother, friend, and DIY'er.

A Rose in a Thorny World

This bright pink rose unfolds before a lush, green background.
This bright pink rose unfolds before a lush, green background. | Source

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

Tucker was horribly abused before he was old enough to chew puppy kibble. This photo was taken after about two weeks of care and nutrition, when I was sure he would live. He is now coming up on two years old and is a faithful friend and companion.
Tucker was horribly abused before he was old enough to chew puppy kibble. This photo was taken after about two weeks of care and nutrition, when I was sure he would live. He is now coming up on two years old and is a faithful friend and companion. | Source

How Can We Control How the Local and National News Impacts Our Stress Level?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

This is a mural I painted on my garage to give myself a place to go where I felt as if I were looking off into the distance. It is a montage of sights I've seen over the years.
This is a mural I painted on my garage to give myself a place to go where I felt as if I were looking off into the distance. It is a montage of sights I've seen over the years. | Source

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.

Bonnie, the Boston Terrier in her home-made Wonder Woman Costume at the local roller rink.
Bonnie, the Boston Terrier in her home-made Wonder Woman Costume at the local roller rink. | Source

Where do You Fit In?

Are you getting stressed out by current events?

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Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Nancy Owens

    Comments

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    • Nancy Owens profile image
      Author

      Nancy Owens 8 months ago from USA

      Hello! Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts, MomsTreasureChest. This article was sort of a labor of love going out to everyone being affected by all of the recent tragedies.

    • MomsTreasureChest profile image

      MomsTreasureChest 8 months ago

      With all the natural disasters happening lately this is very good advice, thank you for sharing and offering these great tips!

    • Nancy Owens profile image
      Author

      Nancy Owens 8 months ago from USA

      Thank you, Dianna, for reading this article, and for taking the time to comment. I agree with you about meditating on a more positive world. In life it seems we get more of what we focus our thoughts on, and when we are focused on anger and chaos, we see it materialize in our lives, and in the world around us.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 8 months ago

      I like your comment on good overcoming evil. I believe we must focus on this truth as we view the current events. I tend to limit my attention to news these days in general. Much better to meditate on how to create a positive environment.

    • Nancy Owens profile image
      Author

      Nancy Owens 8 months ago from USA

      Hi Shanmarie... Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. I'm glad that you have your husband for support. I am a single person, and for me, that makes it sort of tough, because it is times like this that I feel a little lonely. Now, here is a silly question: What does IFC mean? I agree that the stories of heroism are almost as hard to take as the event itself.

      But on the other hand, those people seem to embody the very goodness in human beings everywhere, and my goodness, where would we be without them?

      Like you, I don't get my news from Facebook, nor do I get it from word of mouth. I've found that both tend to be inaccurate... especially when you go to work and everybody is talking about whatever the latest news item is. People tend to hear only one part of a story or headline and latch onto that, then go one step further and sort of expand on their own opinion.

      Which is how truth gets mixed up. Sometimes it has humorous results, but other times it compounds the problem.

      I have noticed lately that my local news station seems to be searching out good news and giving air time to some cute and or uplifting stories.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 8 months ago

      I never did like watching the news for this very reason, but it is almost everywhere these days. Unlike many, though, I don't use social media as my news source, although my husband woke me up shortly after the Vegas shooting happened because he was watching videos on FB and knew that I knew someone in Vegas. I couldn't bring myself to want to watch or to know. And then it, of course, was all over the media and more and more disturbing details came out.

      With stories like this and natural disaster stories, it is hard to watch and to want to know. Even the stories if heroism are almost too much to take in. More reminders of the heartbreak.

      It's enough to make a person want to go IFC the grid and never know what is going in in the rest if the world or country.

    • Nancy Owens profile image
      Author

      Nancy Owens 8 months ago from USA

      Hello, my friend. Long time. I haven't been around much lately, but I'm working on it now, Lol! I like the feeding the birds and squirrels idea. Yesterday, some sort of bird latched onto the top of my window frame in front of my desk. The underside of its tail feathers were colorful with orange/red and some tan and brown. Mostly red. All I could see was his or her butt hanging down, and feet and feathers. It pecked at the window frame once, hung out for a little while and then took off while I was away from my desk. And really, who can't love squirrels? Seriously, though, volunteering with the school is a great idea. I used to work for the public school district, and it can be a rewarding experience. Our schools need all the help they can get. On behalf of family pets everywhere, thank you for donating to such a worthy cause. Like you, I am too far away to physically do anything, but I donated what I could and sent them my prayers.

      I hope my Hub didn't sound weird to people. I just wanted to reach out to see if other people are having trouble digesting our daily news.

      And here we go again with the Tropical Storm about to hit once again. I see on the weather map that it is a huge system and even though the wind won't be as bad, it looks like it is going to dump a lot of water on everyone.

      Also, thank you for reminding me to SMILE! Sometimes I find myself walking around, head down, full of my own thoughts. I need to remember to make eye contact, and send toothy beams of good will when I encounter people, even if I don't know them.

      Thanks for answering my call, and answering the call of those in need. Hope you are having a great day or night wherever you are this day.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      Between the awful hurricanes and North Korea and Trump’s behavior and the sad Las Vegas massacre I have had to limit my consumption of television. It’s just too much. Local media is an absolute no. I get my national news in brief snippets of CNN (5 minutes tells me all I need, usually at the top of the hour inthe morning). I read articles but have used the like/dislike button to completely shut down certain topics. I’ve donated to the Red Cross and an animal charity in Florida but from thousands of miles away I can’t do anything more. Now, I choose to focus on helping hands on in my own community. I’m volunteering at my daughter’s school with a trunk or treat and helping research scholarship opportunities for needy students. I’m also continuing to care for my nine cats, all of whom were strays at one time. (Five live indoors.) Feeding the birds and squirrels also helps relax me; they appreciate the reliable food and water source. Little things count. Picking up trash and smiling at people where I go also helps remind me and others that the world is still a good place.

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