How To Stay Mentally Strong When It Feels Like The World Is Falling Apart
By Korin Miller, photography by Unsplash
Your guide to navigating a scary news cycle.
It seems like it’s constant these days: You turn on the TV or log into Facebook, and you’re barraged with information about the latest scary thing that’s happened in the world, whether it’s North Korean nuclear testing or the tragic bombing in Manchester.
Sure, you’re well aware that terrible things happen to good people every day, but constantly being reminded of that fact daily can take a serious toll on your mental health. That can leave you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, stressed out, and helpless, says licensed clinical psychologist Dr John Mayer, author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life. Basically, regularly hearing about bad news can really mess with your life, even when it’s happening in another part of the world.
So…what are you supposed to do about it? It sounds obvious, but licensed clinical psychologist Dr Alicia H. Clark, says that dialling back on how much news you’re consuming can make a big difference. “‘News diet’ is one of the things I’m suggesting to people that are feeling overwhelmed by the news, and feelings of anxiety—limiting news consumption,” Clark says. Mayer agrees. He recalls one news junkie patient who was “flooded” with anxiety over the news—he found relief from dialling back on how much news he consumed by 80 percent.
It’s also important to put more focus on you and less on the scary stuff that’s out there. “Hobbies are good—keep them up,” Mayer says. Fun movies are also a good distraction (think: more Beauty and the Beast, less Before I Fall), Mayer says, and regular exercise can keep endorphins flowing to boost your mood. If you feel like you need to bounce your fears off someone, talk to your friends about them—even verbalising concerns can help.
But, above all, go out into the world. “Go shopping, go out to eat—this reminds us that the world is still OK and there for us,” Mayer says. “Don’t isolate yourself…that is a huge mistake.”
If you do all of this and are still struggling, it may be time to bring in a mental-health professional. “When you find that you cannot control these reactions and actions toward events that are troubling you, then seek help,” Mayer says.
This article was originally featured on www.womenshealthmag.com