• 22/07/2024 11:20

How to cope with anxiety from watching and reading the news

Whether it's turning on the TV in the evening or scrolling through social media, it's safe to say that news seems inevitable at the moment. And with so many terrible things happening around the world and in the UK, simply opening our apps or Instagram feeds can be a frightening, upsetting and anxiety-inducing experience. How to cope with anxiety after all this?

ContentWhy do we get so anxious when we watch the news? How to deal with news anxiety: Set healthy boundaries Practice self-care How to deal with news anxiety: Think about what you can control Focus on the good things that are happening

Of course , it is important to know what is happening in the world. But how do we reconcile the need to stay informed with the desire to protect our mental health? WomanEL will share the opinion of two mental health experts.

Why do we get so excited when we watch the news?

 “Because we have constant access to constantly updated television news, websites and other media, we are potentially watching every problem affecting billions of people around the world, in real time.” John-Paul Davies, psychotherapist and representative of the British Health Council, says this to Stylist.

“Often there is little we can do to make any difference to the event we see. Emotionally, this can lead us to become overly agitated, stressed, anxious, chronically angry, or irritable. And in other cases, to disconnection, to feelings of hopelessness, despair, numbness or emptiness. Many of us will find ourselves between these two states at various times.”

This has to do with what our brains experience when we try to process the information we see. “Watching traumatic events on the news can activate our brain’s limbic system, especially the amygdala, which is responsible for processing emotions and detecting threats.” Psychologist and author Lalitaa Suglani says this.

“This triggers the body's stress response, releasing cortisol and adrenaline, which can lead to feelings of anxiety, fear and distress.” Suglani also points out that reactions may be felt more strongly by “people who are already vulnerable or have experienced trauma in the past.”

Coping with news anxiety: Set healthy boundaries

Take a break from your phone and TV, to restore emotional state, Source: freepik.com

Set limits on news exposure to avoid overexposure and emotional overload. Suglani suggests practical ways to do this, such as using a site blocker to control how long you can view certain websites and turning off pop-up notifications on social media.

Practice self-care

Incorporate into your week all the healthy and relaxing ways of thinking and feeling, as well as body activities and other behaviors that keep you balanced as much as possible. Behaviors such as mindfulness, creativity, fresh air and being in nature, helping others, singing and generally staying as physically active as possible are great ways to do this. When your body feels safe, your thoughts will be safe too.

Coping with news anxiety: Think about what you can control

“Instead of obsessing over events beyond your control, focus your energy on actions you can take in your life or community,” advises Suglani.

Davis emphasizes that you should never feeling guilty for focusing on your life and the things you can control in it. “It's not a lack of concern for others, it's an important act of caring for oneself,” he says.

Focus on the good things that are happening

Take time to focus on the things you are grateful for in your life. Keeping a gratitude journal or simply reflecting on the positive aspects of your day can help take your mind off the news.

Davis also adds that it's important to plan ahead and think about what you're looking forward to in your life. “If you're feeling upset, try whenever you can to bring your attention to the fact that, even with all the traumatic events going on, good things to be grateful for do exist in your life,” he says. “It's also a good idea to continue to plan your life despite the uncertainty in the world.”

The act of self-care also includes getting enough sleep. If you've tried everything, we suggest you find out what else helps you fall asleep quickly.

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