How to Cope: When Current Events Cause Anxiety




In today’s world, we are inundated with a barrage of news headlines and stories on a daily— sometimes hourly basis. We wake up and glance at our phones for updates or to get the first glimpse of whatever headlines have pushed their way through that morning. Maybe it is a habit for you to turn on the morning news while getting prepared for the day.


We are even reminded throughout the day of the latest tragedy from Apple News, hashtags on Twitter, Instagram feeds, Facebook posts, links, and live feeds. Not only is our exposure never-ending, but the stories deemed news-worthy tend to focus on violence, hate, racism, deaths, and lately—constant updates regarding COVID-19.


The news is accessible every day, all day— typically on rotation and repetitive on various outlets. You may not be searching for the news anymore, but you are still exposed to it in many ways, whether you like it or not.


There are great benefits to being aware of what is going on in the world around you. To name a few:

  • The news keeps you up to date on current events and what is taking place in your area.

  • It has the potential to expand your mind regarding political aspects and cultures you may not have experienced in real life.

  • As well, it creates a feeling of connectedness to the world and others around you.

However, there are several disadvantages to watching the news that you should be aware of as well:

  • As previously mentioned, violence and deaths are often depicted in the news.

  • The news can impact your mood whether you are angry, devastated, frustrated, or fearful which may carry throughout your day.

  • The news may focus heavily on negative aspects rather than hopeful or encouraging stories occurring around the world.

Taking in too much negativity, without finding a healthy balance, can have drawbacks. Nothing is good in excess. Take a minute to reflect on how you respond emotionally to the news:

  • Do you often feel sad, discouraged, aggravated after watching the news?

  • Are you anxious about the uncertainty regarding current events?

  • How do you typically handle this constant influx of seemingly never-ending bad news?

  • Do you normally monitor how much you watch or research?

  • Do you think about what type of accounts you follow on social media?

Reflecting on these questions will increase your awareness of yourself and how you tend to respond. The following are several techniques to cope with the current events that may be causing anxiety:



1. Limit your exposure to the news.


Determine a routine for when to watch the news and in what form. For example, you may watch the news on television in the evening, get updates on a podcast while driving, or read articles on your phone.


Take a minute to consider whether reading, watching, or listening would be least anxiety-provoking, then set a given time period and stick to it. Set limits and rules such as, “No news after 8 pm.”


Keep in mind that specific topics can also be triggering, especially when there is a personal connection to a subject. Therefore, take a break if you recognize this is happening to you.


Furthermore, you can control when and how much is best for your health. Perhaps watching the news before going into work affects your mood or watching before bed keeps you up at night. Take steps to ensure that you are not bombarded with unwanted headlines at other times throughout the day.



2. Filter, unsubscribe, unfollow, and delete.


We have the option to control to some extent what we are exposed to in terms of content and frequency. We can filter what we see and when we see it and we can unsubscribe from daily emails and subscriptions that can contribute to anxiety and negative moods.


Go into individual apps and subscription settings and take the time to limit what is pushed through. As well, check the inbox of your emails and unsubscribe from any subscriptions that aren’t good for your mindset. This will cause you to have to seek out headlines rather than have them pop up all day long.


Overall, be cognizant of your social media use so that you are not overloaded with information. Take occasional breaks when needed, even if that means deleting social media apps or putting your phone on do not disturb for short periods of time.



3. Narrow your focus.


Focusing on global events and tragedies worldwide can cause you to lose perspective and feel that everything is horrible everywhere. This does not mean that you overlook the national news, it means that you limit how often you are seeing it on a daily basis.


Placing more of a focus on regional or local news will allow you to keep a healthy perspective. Choose to follow local and community groups on social media rather than mainstream media and major news sources.



4. Determine a healthy coping skill or outlet.


Take a yoga class, develop a new hobby, clean, read a book, draw, or find other ways to engage in healthy activities that will get your mind off the news.


In addition to numerous physical health benefits, exercise is good for your mental health. Exercising releases brain chemicals that fight off anxiety and negative mood states. It will allow you to work off any nervous energy and re-focus your mind on something other than what is going on in the world.


This can be a healthy resource you turn to when a particularly tragic event has occurred and it is going viral on all the news outlets. Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol or drugs.



5. Reach out to others if you find yourself overwhelmed often.


Don’t forget to connect with your support system such as family or friends. You may find that others are having a similar experience as you.


Likewise, a licensed mental health professional or online counselor can assist you in developing an appropriate coping strategy to manage your anxiety. If you feel you might benefit from counseling, reach out to schedule a session.


If you find that these methods aren’t making a difference or if your anxiety seems like it is constant, hard to manage, or affecting your life in a bigger way than you would like, you might benefit from counseling. To make an appointment with a licensed counselor who can help you with anxiety, please click here.



To book our online counseling and coaching services visit: Nayaclinics.com/book-online





About Sam Nabil

Sam Nabil is the founder of Naya Clinics and is a Boston therapist and a Boston Marriage Counselor.

Sam offers therapy in Boston and Boston Marriage Counseling for adults suffering from relationship challenges, life transitions and anxiety. Sam Nabil was featured in many prestigious publications. Check out his interview with Aljazeera English, The Washington post, The Boston Globe, Fatherly magazine, Women's health magazine, Cornell university, Yahoo News, USA Today, Marriage.com



About Naya Clinics

Naya Clinics is a top-rated Marriage Counseling, therapy and Life coaching practice.

Naya Clinics offers Marriage Counselors near me, individual therapy near me, and life coaching near me in various locations across the USA and the world. Naya Clinics also offers Online marriage counseling, online therapy, and online life coaching.



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