We have this week, yet again, woken up to headlines informing us of more atrocity in the world. Heart-wrenching news that leaves us in tears, feeling uncertain as well as more than disappointed in the world we live in.
It seems like a day doesn’t go by without a reminder of how frightening the world can be, whether it be from crime, war, violence or another type of injustice.
As much as people complain about the reporting of bad news, we need this information. There is no doubt that there are a lot of bad things that happen, and it is a right for people to be informed about what happening in the world they live in.
It’s always a choice for us to not read, watch or listen to the news. We don’t have to absorb what is going on. But we still do. I'm sure I'm not the only one that makes a pact to not watch the news again, but then can't even last a day without doing so.
But, you have to watch yourself in terms of how the news impacts you. It’s well known that certain distressing content in video games, films and television programs can affect mental health. Particularly, when it is repeatedly viewed. It can do this by directly affecting our mood, which can then flow on to our own daily life by affecting the way we think and behave.
We have been conditioned to tune into the news. It's our biological instinct to pay close attention to potential threats, so we tend to absorb the fearful events in our environment more so than the happier events. We do this because we feel more prepared and then use the information to make decisions to prevent ourselves getting harmed. The terrorists of today are the predators of yesterday. There has always been something around that is a threat, and it is important for us to be on the look out for it.
However, constantly tuning into the fear-driven news can make us anxious, and leave us with a skewed outlook on our life. Particularly if we are obsessively looking for it.
If you're finding yourself anxious about what you've seen, heard or read in the news lately, it is important that you take steps to put your mind at ease. If you are mentally in a place of fear, then you are not going to be able to make a difference to the cause anyway, whether it’s at a personal or on a larger scale.
So if you are distressed, have a think about what you need around you to make you feel better at this time. Surround yourself with people and things that make you feel secure and safe. Make sure you keep doing the activities in life that make you happy and function at your best.
And most importantly, balance the information you read. Be mindful of what information you are feeding your brain. If it’s too much negative and frightening news, then look for the good news, on purpose.
Purposefully look for the good stories about the good people out there; the helpers of the needy, the savers of lives, the inventors of gadgets to make our lives easier, the curers of illness, the discoverers of treatments to make our quality of life better, the people that help take animals off the endangered species list and the people that make us laugh.
In doing this you will likely find you get a more balanced perspective of life, and you will feel less anxious.
And when you are feeling less anxious and fearful yourself, you are in a better position to make a change in the world.
Good news often doesn’t get the headlines.
You have to go searching for it and then create it yourself.