Is the news making you feel anxious?
The world is a pretty full-on place at the best of times, but sometimes, the constant stream of information we receive can feed a lot of anxious feelings.I struggled with it a lot when I was a child, triggered mainly by 9/11, terrorism and things like Swine Flu. Sadly a lot of these triggers are still popping up in different forms, with the likes of Trump, the climate crisis and the coronavirus being particularly prevalent on our news feeds at the moment.
And it's not just the 24 hour news cycle, it's social media and the constant sharing and spreading of this news, whether it's accurate or not. I know from personal experience just how overwhelming it can be, and for a number of years when I was a teenager I stopped watching the news or reading newspapers, and was extremely careful about what I read online.
Unfortunately, although this is a good coping mechanism, it's not completely realistic, as no matter how much I avoided things which could make me feel anxious, I'd inevitably still see or overhear something, and the anxious feelings would kick into full swing.
Avoiding things which could upset you is a good start, but it's important not to forget the other side of the coin - building your resilience so they don't overwhelm you as much.
Next time you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, explore how much control you have over the situation. Be realistic, rational and logical. I'd assume a lot of things are beyond our control, which is where practices like mindfulness come in. Practice mindful breathing when the initial panic hits, to bring yourself back down to a grounded state.
Stop questioning your thoughts and mining the subject, trying to find answers that aren't there. Be gentle with yourself, acknowledge the thoughts, and over time they will lose their power and you won't feel the need to examine it more closely.
Distraction is another great tool, especially a mindful activity like meditating, colouring or crafting. Exercise is of course another one. Tune into the physical movement your body is experiencing and this way you'll have a conscious train of thought that doesn’t involve worry.
It's not easy and it can still be overwhelming, but as long as you're conscious of the cause of your anxiety, you can be more aware of it and take steps to manage it, making life a little less worrisome for you.
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