The news and our mental health
It will come as no surprise when I say, ‘There’s a lot going on in the world at the moment…’! We are on the tail end of a worldwide pandemic; in South Wales, we have had floods and storms causing damage to property, and now the situation in Ukraine is making the headlines.
Every time you pick up your phone, flip through social media or turn on the television, there’s the news. It’s seemingly impossible to escape, so it’s natural that we might feel anxious, upset, and overwhelmed!
First, it’s important to say that of course, it’s right to think about and care for those who are caught up in the conflict directly. With 24-hour news being what it is and technology being what it is we are seeing very clearly what is happening. It’s a normal reaction to feel anxious and upset by what we see.
There may also be feelings of helplessness, that we can’t do anything and the frustration and upset that those feelings bring.
These feelings though, as we know logically don’t help the situation and ultimately make us feel anxious, angry, miserable, stressed and depressed.
What can we do?
The NHS and Anxiety UK agree on some key ways to avoid it: Eat well, get outside, put your phone down, connect with people, rest.
It’s often easier said than done, though. So how do we put it into practice?
1. Make time for things you enjoy
We need to be disciplined and find those things that work for you to help you feel better. Make time to do those things that you enjoy doing make time to meet a friend for coffee, go out for a jog, or have an indulgent bubbly bath (though maybe not all at the same time!?) In Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, we might call these things ‘Positive Actions’!
Why does this help? Well, when there’s something the world that is upsetting us, it takes over our world and makes it seem like everything else is terrible too…
When we can take ourselves away from the thing, whatever it is, even for a short time, it means that we gain our perspective back and can think more clearly and sensibly, getting out of our panic mode.
2. Stop doom scrolling!
What do I mean by that? Well, when we are faced with something that is scary or unsettling, we often need to keep looking for more, in the hope that we’ll feel safer…. It actually can increase our level of stress!
Imagine you are a cave person… if you know a Saber-tooth-tiger is somewhere outside your cave, you’re going to keep looking for it! It’s the same thing when we read the news, we keep looking, going round in circles, reading a variety of sources, accurate and not to feed this need to find out more. We can lose hours of our time that way.
It’s OK to allow yourself to feel safe, it doesn’t diminish your concern for what’s happening. Be mindful of the amount of time you spend on social media and news channels – make sure you only use reputable sources and give yourself time off. You can’t control the situation, but you can control your access to news articles.
3. Only use reputable news sources
Don’t believe everything you read on social media!
4. Turn off your phone at night
It can be so tempting to keep scrolling because at night we were never as successful as those things that were trying to hunt us… so we generally feel a bit more anxious at night. Allow yourself to feel safe and grounded. Remember that by reading the articles, you’re not helping yourself or anyone else. Turn off your phone so the temptation isn’t there! The news will still be there tomorrow.
5. Reach out
One of the biggest things that can help us when we feel anxious or miserable is to reach out and help other people. Dr Hepburn has put together a great picture that suggests some ways of helping in a useful way in this current situation. You can find it here.
If you are still struggling with anxiety, it can be helpful to talk to someone. Hypnotherapy can be a wonderful way of helping with stress, anxiety, habits and depression.
James and Ceri are qualified hypnotherapists who use the latest techniques to help you feel better. Why not give them a call?