Devastating news is a common part of our daily media intake. While we can avoid television, radio, and even printed news, we are unable to avoid the onslaught of images and posts in our social media feeds. Constant scenes of violence, health scares, and terrorism can feel emotionally draining, even for the healthiest person.
However, for those afflicted with anxiety, scrolling through these horrors on Facebook is a land mine waiting to happen. Absorbing these awful, emotional stories can feel completely debilitating. Personally, there are days I cannot even leave my house due to the state of our world and the fears that manifest inside my mind.
To cope, I developed six strategies to help manage my anxious thoughts when triggered by the world we live in. If this world makes you feel anxious, too, here are six ways to help yourself cope.
1. Ask Questions
When you encounter an issue that triggers your anxiety, ask yourself questions. Am I in imminent danger? Why is this triggering me? What am I really feeling in this moment? By taking a few minutes to determine the root cause of your reaction, you can move on with a little less fear.
2. Take Action
Actions allow us to channel our anxiety. When news stories start up your hamster highway, ask yourself, “What can I do?” Perhaps you can volunteer your time or donate needed items towards a related cause. Maybe you can call your local legislator and use your voice to push for change. Doing something positive, no matter how small the action, can help reduce your anxious feelings and make the world a little less gloomy in the process.
3. Engage In Electronic Detox
Turn off your phone. Log out of Facebook. Unplug the TV. Removing the source of your anxiety and distracting yourself can help you calm down and recharge.
4. Minimize Your Fears
If feasible, minimize your anxiety. While all the electronics are locked away, try soaking in a warm bath or deep cleaning your kitchen. Turn on great music and exercise or dance out your fears. You’d be amazed at how quickly those feelings fade once you engage in an activity that involves all your senses.
5. Sleep It Off
I used to think I was superhuman and could do it all with dark circles under my eyes. However, all this did was create a drained, constantly exhausted version of myself with heightened anxiety. Sleep is physically necessary to live, and you won’t win a trophy for burning the candle at both ends. When you feel overwhelmed with anxiety, try sleeping it off. You may find that sleep was exactly what you were missing all along.
6. Do What You Need To Do To Live A Healthy Life
Wear your seatbelt. Take your vitamins. Wear sunscreen. Schedule and attend your annual physicals with your doctor. Eat a balanced diet. Protect yourself so that you can maximize life and always be prepared. Sure, you must also “accept the things you cannot change,” but do everything you can to ensure your health and wellbeing.
There are still days when fear wins and I cannot leave my home. There are days when my medicine works and I enjoy a great morning workout. The world will always be a scary place. However, with these management tools in my toolbelt, the world feels a little less scary. Hopefully these tips help you feel a little less anxious, too.