In today’s interconnected world, news of conflicts and wars is often just a click away. Even if you aren’t on social media, sometimes these kinds of stories are hard to avoid. Hearing about such events can evoke intense feelings of anxiety and grief. This blog will provide some tips and tools to navigate these feelings.
First, it’s crucial to know that feelings of grief and loss, and anxiety, are valid and normal when exposed to distressing news. Anxiety and grief are natural responses to the suffering and turmoil portrayed in the media. Even if you are not directly affected, hearing about conflicts can lead to feeling a loss of control, which can be frightening. So, if you’re feeling these emotions, take heart in knowing it’s normal and that you are not alone.
Second, consider limiting exposure to the onslaught of information. Constant exposure to distressing news can intensify anxiety and grief. While FOMO can make you feel like you MUST consume as much information as possible, consider limiting media consumption, particularly if you find it overwhelming. Consider instead, setting specific times for catching up on news updates, and avoid discussing distressing topics before bedtime. This can help create boundaries and reduce the emotional toll of continuous exposure to traumatic events.
Those boundaries can also be extended to decisions about what you want to discuss, or how much, and with whom. While some feel a need to carry the weight of a conflict on their shoulders, it does not make you a bad or uncaring person if you do not wish, or are not ready to discuss your thoughts or feelings either with people you know or through more public routes such as social media – despite requests to do so by others who are feeling intense distress. Try to be compassionate with yourself about making whatever decision is best for you. Everyone deals with these events differently. Setting boundaries around these decisions can be tough but there are kind and caring ways to do this, while protecting yourself.
Third, self-care is incredibly important in managing anxiety and grief. Focus on activities that provide comfort and relaxation, such as mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, and connecting with supportive friends and family. Try to maintain a healthy routine, which includes regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep. By incorporating these strategies into daily life, you can build resilience and better cope with the emotional challenges brought on by global conflicts.
Finally, remember that if you want to comfort others in distress, try to avoid ‘fixing’ problems, despite the desire to do so. It’s hard watching others experiencing distress!
As a psychotherapist, I work to help guide individuals in managing some of the big emotions you may be experiencing, and help guide you toward coping strategies. Reach out if you feel you need some additional support.