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Anxious time

Anxiety can upset our day to day lives and in these times of heightened stress, in the middle of global events, what can we all do to maintain an equilibrium in life and manage anxiety?

It can be difficult to maintain our hold on our anxiety levels, but when we see tension in the world, it can make us feel overwhelmed by feelings of powerlessness, fear and anxiety.

So how can we manage conflict in our minds that might be caused by world events or events around us?

Mindful exposure

It is important to be aware of the world around us but sometimes we can expose ourselves to news too much. TV News is 24 hours and if there isn’t news, there are podcasts, magazines, newspapers and radio shows, all carrying the news for us. When we are exposed to news 24 hours a day it can make some of us feel like we are drowning in sadness. This absorption in media reporting of world-wide events can start to feel less like information gathering and more like information drowning. Especially when we are being confronted by multiple perspectives which can sometimes feel confrontational or aggressive. It is important to realised when you are reaching a point before you become anxious and being aware enough to step away and take a break.

Take time after you have consumed any news information to think about how you are feeling. How are you responding to that news? It is completely understandable to have empathy and become engaged with the content you have heard, but if you have found that hours afterwards you are still feeling emotional and having difficulty regulating your emotions and feeling generally low, it may be time to consider reducing your exposure to news media.

Gain perspective

It is vital as well to keep a sense of global perspective when watching or listening to any media. Just as completely immersing yourself in 24/7 news may be harmful to your mood, similarly social media can remove a sense of perspective and understanding when we live in an echo chamber of news that isn’t always challenged or accurate.

If we have a wider viewpoint and a broader perspective, we can be more able to have a full understanding of the nature of global events. It’s important to allow ourselves time seek alternative perspectives and alternative news stories to give us all a broader understanding.

Try to remain open to alternative perspectives and don’t forget that social media often encourages extreme viewpoints as part of its algorithm. There is always a middle ground, and it can be helpful to maintain perspective and listen to moderate voices.

Balancing the positives

Just as it is important to find multiple perspectives including some that have a more positive aspect, it can also be helpful, if you find yourself overwhelmed by the potential negativity of challenging global events, to try to maximise positive emotions throughout the day. This does not mean denying the reality of global events, but it does mean that in your own small way you can stay informed and aware and yet maintain your ability to regulate your more challenging emotions.

We can all seek out positive emotions by seeking out positive affirmations. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by difficult emotions, for example, fear and worry, it can help look for small positive moments within your most immediate life. Whether that is connecting with nature, walking or running, appreciating people around you and your surroundings, or taking the time to connect with a loved one. These things do not deny global events are happening, but they do allow you to remain calm during times when news stories are overwhelmingly negative.

Small Actions

Feelings of powerlessness can be common during times of global conflict, and we can all feel unable to change or help anything in the world. When we feel powerless, how can we manage these feelings?

One thing we can do is channel our feelings of wanting to help into something practical that can help in a small way, for example, helping out with a local charity can help us feel we are making a difference. These small but meaningful acts of can all help to make us feel connected and that we are doing all we can, to help towards a greater good and ultimately, a better world for us all.

If you find yourself responding to a global event or crisis with feelings of powerlessness or frustration, ask yourself what I can do. What small step can I take today that will be a move towards helping the situation? If someone can take a small step you can protect yourself against feelings of passivity or powerlessness, which in turn can help to manage any sense of overall anxiety.

Using these four ways, we can navigate our feelings in times of global crisis whilst maintaining our own balance. Acknowledging our own anger and channelling that anger into action, balancing negative exposure with positive engagement, acknowledging social media echo chambers and being mindful of our news consumption, can help us all during times of global crisis to avoid overwhelming feelings of anxiety.

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