I recently typed the biggest headline of the day into Google, and in less than a second, 52 million news articles screamed for my attention. This was an active search, so considering all the passive media in our lives—social media, television, radio—along with streaming and traditional print news, it’s easy to see why Americans can be overwhelmed by current events.
If you find yourself anxious, sad, angry, depressed, or any combination of emotions after reacting to recent news, first know that all of these feelings are valid. Then, take care of yourself. Each person’s needs are different, but consider the following if feeling stuck:
- Disconnect: Turn off the TV, close the Twitter app, and disconnect if you find yourself glued to the screen. Get physically active to refocus your brain, go for a walk outside, or do something with your hands, like baking, playing an instrument, or working on a DIY project around your home.
- Refocus: Try meditating, yoga, or deep breathing to calm down both your body and mind. This can help shift your thinking and reduce scary thoughts about the future (anxiety).
- Yell into the void (of a notebook): Write down your feelings. You don’t have to show anyone, so write whatever comes to mind, no matter how silly or angry it sounds. Putting it on paper (or a computer screen) can be a wonderful emotional release.
- Help others: Volunteer with an organization that does something you support, like an animal shelter or food pantry. When feeling pessimistic, it can help to find small ways to directly help others.
- Talk to another person: Connect with people if you feel alone or isolated. Call or meet up with family, friends, or even coworkers. Find tips on making connections.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are experiencing prolonged feelings of distress or depression. Talk to someone you trust, like a friend or spiritual leader, or call a warmline to discuss your mental health concerns with a trained responder. Find out how to find professional help.
If you are in crisis, you can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1- 800-273-8255 (1-888-628-9454 para español) to talk to a trained listener or you can reach Crisis Text Line (in English or en español) by messaging “MHA” to 741-741.
The best defense to upsetting news is protecting your mind and being kind to yourself.