Things are scary out there. Everywhere you turn the news is grim; climate, disease, political unrest, terrorism. There’s no end to the boogeymen hiding under your bed, ready to pounce. and no difficulty at all finding out all about them, non-stop on our phones, computers, TV’s, everywhere. I even have an app on my phone that gives me every piece of breaking news anywhere in the world, in real time, that beeps incessantly all day long. And you can bet…..it’s mostly bad.
It’s too much; too much bad news and too much news period. People are being deeply affected, even more than post 9-11. When 9-11 happened it was horrific and those especially in the NY Metro area were traumatized for a very long time but it was an isolated incident that had a start, middle, and end. Even those who were impacted were still able to hold on to the people, places, and things in their lives and believe that time would heal us and normal would return. Even though a terrorist attack on our soil re-defined a new normal, hopefulness was still within reach.
The tide seems to have turned The people I talk to and work with are really struggling, beyond the challenges of their lives. There is more expressed fear and hopelessness and anxiety about the future, for themselves, their children and grandchildren, for the planet. Where once people were focused on their lives, they’re now overwhelmed with issues far bigger and seemingly beyond their comprehension and control. What I hear often is a sort of shrinking away from it all, people just want to hold on to what they know, what they feel they can control, and to want to effect the lives and circumstances that they feel they can actually do something about.
Honestly, it’s been a challenge for me as well. It’s difficult to be a calming influence when I too am having the same buttons being pushed. So this is what I’m doing to bolster myself;
1. I’m on a news diet. I take in exactly what I believe I “need” to know and then, shut it down. This is going to be different for everyone but right now I’m believing that less is more. It helps me keep perspective. I’m also being very careful as to where I’m getting my news and balancing it with news and information that is uplifting and empowering to me.
2. I’ve bolstered my mindfulness practice, keeping me centered, present, awake and aware to what is happening in “this” moment. Much of what we’re being inundated with is future speculation, what might happen. Mindfulness teaches us that presence is the soothing salve to much anguish that lives in the unmovable past and speculative future. My practice, including meditation, focuses on breath and constantly coming back to, with all my senses, what’s here now.
3. I’m reclaiming and re-invigorating centering activities. It’s different for everyone but I know that there are certain activities that help me feel more grounded and uplifted. Sometimes it’s being near water, or being outdoors near trees that are strong and rooted, or connecting with important people in my life. Sometimes it’s certain yoga poses or music or a book that helps feel me feel uplifted and inspired. And sometimes it’s a really funny movie that releases stress and endorphins.
The bottom line is: key in to how you’re being impacted by the news around you. And, if it’s too much, give yourself permission to shut it down.