The World is Overwhelming
A lot is going on in the world at the moment. We can’t look at our phones or turn on our TVs without seeing the doom and gloom engulfing the planet. That sense of dread when you see the little news notification on your phone screen is all too real. Life is difficult enough without all of this. Day-to-day living is stressful. It's worrying and can trigger anxiety even before world events are thrown into the mix.
We live in an age of constant updates. We’re up to speed on every detail, no matter how minor. And this can quickly lead to overload; it amplifies every negative thought and feeling you have. Dealing with news-related anxiety is essential; if you don’t, it will get worse.
Don’t Shut Off Completely
Because when you hear about it from an outside source, you’ll be unprepared to deal with it. And it’s important to keep informed about what’s happening in the world. The key to managing your anxiety is limiting how much you’re exposed to. Turn off your news notifications, but check the news once per day.
Give yourself half an hour to look through stories and headlines. Absorb as much information as you feel comfortable with. Once that half an hour is over, stop looking at the news; you’re in control of how much you see.
If there are news stories that speak to you and there will be. Do something about them. Help in any way you can, whether it’s volunteering your time or donating money. Doing something will help you feel less anxious because you’ve taken steps.
Limit Social Media Time
I recommend doing this anyway, especially when there are a lot of news stories about one particular thing. You’ll not only be bombarded with constant reminders but you’ll also be sucked into the comments section. That is where you’ll find the conspiracy theorists and harbingers of doom that thrive on drama.
Their main goal is to work people like you up into a frenzy, so you start to believe the nonsense they’re trying to pass off as fact. If you can’t limit your social media time, then don’t go into the comments section.
I know it will be hard because we all do it; we think, “okay, maybe I’ll just read a few comments.” But four hours later, you’re rocking in the corner in your shiny new tin foil hat.
Understand You’re Not Alone
Millions of people all over the world feel this way. The news makes them anxious, and they worry about everything. I know because I often feel the same way. But being concerned about world events is natural, I know it doesn’t make it any less scary, but it’s normal.
Being outside in the fresh air and hearing the birds chirping can be extremely relaxing. And physical exercise has been shown to help with anxiety. Do whatever exercises you’re capable of. It might be a 5-mile run or going around the block in your wheelchair. Exercise will help you both physically and mentally.
Self-care seems to have gained a strangely negative reputation at the moment. But as a therapist, I can vouch for it. It’s not selfish; or self-indulgent; it’s necessary. We live in a world that overwhelms us, so taking care of yourself should be high on your list. Self-care can be as cheap or as expensive as you like.
A nice hot bath with a cup of tea/coffee works just as well as something that costs a fortune. It’s about taking time for yourself, shutting the world out for a few minutes
Accept the Uncertain
You don’t have to embrace it; you just have to accept it. There are certain things that you have no control over. These things might worry you, but there’s nothing you can do about them. Some events are out of our hands, and we don’t know how they’ll play out. Accepting this is the key to feeling slightly less anxious.
If there’s someone you trust, or someone you know who feels the same way, talk to them. It can be helpful to talk out your worries with other people. Unfortunately, there will always be people ready to dismiss your concerns. They might tell you you’re overreacting or that you shouldn’t worry, which is unhelpful advice! Telling someone not to worry about something is like telling someone not to focus on their breathing. It’s counterproductive.
If you have nobody to talk to face to face, consider visiting a website to talk to people. Most mental health websites have chat functions now, so you don’t have to call them. Your fears are legitimate, and people will want to help.
You Might Feel Alone, but You’re Not
News-related anxiety can be isolating; you feel as though you’re the only person worrying this much. But you’re not; there are people everywhere worrying just as much as you. Reach out to them. And if you can’t find a website or a local group to discuss your fears, start one!