Self-Care Amid Crisis: 5 Strategies for Distressing News

Self-Care Amid Crisis: 5 Strategies for Distressing News

Oct 14, 2023

Oct 14, 2023

Emotional Challenges of News Consumption

In today's world, staying informed through the news can be emotionally challenging. As a clinical psychologist who has dedicated years of study to media exposure and racism, I understand through my research and experience how news consumption can impact our emotional well-being. Whether it's divisive politics, conflicts, racial tensions, natural disasters, or acts of violence, maintaining a sense of safety and optimism can be tough.

Overwhelmed by the News? You're Not Alone

After tragic events, it's common to grapple with the desire to stay updated while struggling to process the emotional impact. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the news, you're not alone. The American Psychological Association reported that in 2022, a significant percentage of Americans experienced stress related to the nation's future and personal safety.

Negative News and Its Impact on Mental Well-being

Researcher Mary McNaughton-Cassill at the University of Texas-San Antonio has studied the effects of negative news on our mental well-being. She pointed out that while bad news alone might not lead to anxiety or depression, it can shape our outlook on the world, potentially leading to feelings of helplessness and a more pessimistic view of the future.

Drawing from both research and personal experience, here are some expert-recommended strategies to help you navigate these challenging times:

  1. Acknowledge the tragedy

The initial step is to recognize that a tragic incident has taken place. Take your time to absorb news from different sources and allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come naturally.

  1. Take a Break from the News Mindfully

Limit your daily consumption of news and social media to 30 minutes. Jot down interesting stories to explore later and avoid consuming news before going to bed.

  1. Assess Your Emotional Reaction

Recognize that people react differently to news events based on their unique backgrounds. Understand and assess your emotional response, and don't shame yourself for "doom-scrolling." Give yourself compassion for a natural response to tragedy.

  1. Connect with Your Support System

Connecting with others can be powerful and help you feel less alone. Share your feelings with friends and family who can listen and provide comfort. Use "I" statements to express your observations and needs.

  1. Embrace the Unknown

My therapy motto for dealing with anxiety, especially during world events, is to tolerate uncertainty. Though it may seem challenging to avoid thinking about potential negative future scenarios, try to remain open to the possibility of positive and neutral outcomes as well. Challenge yourself to practice tolerating uncertainty for at least an hour a day and approach it step by step.

Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you're feeling overwhelmed, consider contacting a crisis counselor through Crisis Text Line (text 988) for free and confidential support, available 24/7.

Author’s Note: In light of the recent events in the Israel-Hamas conflict, I want to extend my heartfelt concern to everyone affected by the situation, both directly and indirectly. This issue impacts a multitude of lives across various communities. My thoughts are with all who are navigating these turbulent times.

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Disclaimer

This website serves informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional psychological advice. Engaging with the content here does not establish a doctor-patient relationship with Holly Batchelder, PhD. For any specific concerns, consult a qualified healthcare provider. Electronic communications with Holly Batchelder, PhD, are not considered privileged doctor-patient interactions. Holly Batchelder, PhD, PLLC © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

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Serving PSYPACT states via telehealth

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Disclaimer

This website serves informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional psychological advice. Engaging with the content here does not establish a doctor-patient relationship with Holly Batchelder, PhD. For any specific concerns, consult a qualified healthcare provider. Electronic communications with Holly Batchelder, PhD, are not considered privileged doctor-patient interactions. Holly Batchelder, PhD, PLLC © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

© Holly Batchelder, PhD PLLC

Online Therapy
Proud Member of TherapyDen

Serving PSYPACT states via telehealth

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Disclaimer

This website serves informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional psychological advice. Engaging with the content here does not establish a doctor-patient relationship with Holly Batchelder, PhD. For any specific concerns, consult a qualified healthcare provider. Electronic communications with Holly Batchelder, PhD, are not considered privileged doctor-patient interactions. Holly Batchelder, PhD, PLLC © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

© Holly Batchelder, PhD PLLC