How to cope with distressing world events
In today's world, distressing global events can take a toll on our mental and emotional well-being. Whether it's the relentless news cycle or the weight of suffering worldwide, these events can leave us feeling anxious and helpless. Even in the wake of horrific tragedy and human atrocity, it is possible to cope with these distressing world events and regain a sense of control over our emotions.
First, it's essential to understand the impact of these events. Anxiety, fear, and helplessness are common reactions. It helps to first acknowledge your feelings without judgment. Having these strong emotional reactions simply means that you are a compassionate and caring human being. It is okay to feel distressed and overwhelmed when you are confronted with distressing and overwhelming information. Go easy on yourself and show yourself some compassion.
Practice different types of empathy. While empathy is valuable, it's crucial not to become engulfed in another person's emotions. Perspective taking, or trying to understand the world from their point of view, can help you provide support without overly identifying with their pain.
Another essential strategy is to manage your exposure to news. Staying informed is valuable, but drowning in distressing news can have a negative impact. It's helpful to consider how much news you genuinely need to stay informed and choose reliable sources. We often find ourselves scrolling endlessly through negative news on social media, a habit known as "doomscrolling." This behavior is driven by our natural instinct to pay attention to alarming information as a survival mechanism. However, our minds didn't evolve to handle a constant stream of global negativity all at once. It's important to strike a balance in the amount of news you consume to protect your mental well-being.
In terms of how you can care for yourself, establishing a daily routine provides stability during uncertain times. It can be tempting to want to shut yourself out from the world when you are dealing with strong emotions. However, self-care practices, such as exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep, are vital for maintaining resilience. Engaging in hobbies and connecting with friends and family for emotional support can also significantly improve your well-being.
To regain a sense of control and make a difference, it helps to take action. Engaging in activities like donating, volunteering, or participating in political initiatives has been proven to reduce the risk of depression and increase happiness. Taking action provides us with a feeling of control and fulfillment, especially in uncertain times. If we look back at human history, we see that even in the face of painful events, positive changes have often emerged. So, even if you can only contribute in a small way, engaging in acts of kindness can lead to positive changes in your mood and make a meaningful impact.
In a world filled with distressing events, remember that you have the power to not only cope but also to contribute positively and make a difference in your own life and the lives of others.