themighty logo

5 Ways to Cope When You Get Anxiety From Turning on the News

Editor’s note: This story reflects an individual’s experience and is not an endorsement from The Mighty. We believe in sharing a variety of perspectives from our community.

Turn on the news, any time of day, any time of the week and it is devastating, tragic and crushing. Sure, there are a few good news stories spattered throughout but, for the most part, it is negative and sad news. Right now as I type this story, there is a threat of nuclear war, there has been a terrorist attack and this weekend saw hate crimes occur that I believe were reminiscent of World War II.

There are articles online informing you of what to do in case of this or that situation. Clips showing devastating moments of another person’s life. Arguments over who was right and wrong in these tragedies.  Technology makes it so simple for us to get our point of view out to the world, which can be great when it comes to positive sites like The Mighty, but it can have upsetting consequences when this allows others to spread hate, racism, murder, assault and a variety of other horrible realities of life in a matter of minutes.

This type of news can make anyone nervous or scared about the state of our world. When you have a mental health issue, in particular anxiety, it can be even more difficult  Your brain can go into overdrive having tailspins about the “what ifs,” “hows” and “whys.” It is exhausting! Sadly, our worries and anxieties cannot change the situation and they certainly do not help us to cope with it either. As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, here is how I cope in a tumultuous, bad news world.

1. Turn off the news.

It’s not that I want to be ignorant or lack knowledge about what is going on in the world, it’s just that when I am having a bad day with my anxiety, turning on the news will only make things worse. If it is information I absolutely need to do know, someone will fill me in during the day, but otherwise, I steer clear.

2. Cultivate your news feed.

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all have news feeds filled with thoughts, ideas, situations and pictures. If the people you are following often post news stories about the state of our world that make you anxious, then they shouldn’t show up in your news feeds. Unfollow, unfriend, block. These are negative energy suckers and you cannot allow them to bring you down. Create a news feed that is filled with pictures, friends and quotes that inspire you, motivate you and make you feel better. When you check your social media, it shouldn’t be giving you more anxiety.

4. Find the joy.

Turn on a funny television show or movie. Watch “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix. Pick your favorite book, curl up into a chair and indulge. Cuddle your dog. Go shopping. Do what you can to find the joy that will take your mind off of the negative and help you put into perspective that you own world really isn’t as scary as the news would make it seem.

5. Protect yourself.  

Yes the world is scary. Yes you need to be informed. But at the end of the day, you cannot change what has happened. In a world filled with tragedy, I believe the best thing you can do for yourself and for our world is to work on being a good and healthy person. If that means disconnecting from the world around you sometimes, love yourself enough to do it. If you take care of yourself, then your light can shine some positivity into an otherwise negative world.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via art-sonik.