If something really bad happens, you’ll hear about it. No sense looking for it. But that’s just what we do when we read the news on our phones, check for updates frequently and read in depth about tragic events. There’s a slippery slope between being informed about current events and being consumed by them. Bad news seems to be all around us. But there’s a relatively easy way to make it ‘disappear’.
First and foremost: Take a break from the news. Turn your devices off and just take a minute to relax your mind and body. Obsessively worrying about big national and international events can erode your body with stress, and leave you feeling helpless. Take a walk outside, play with your pet or even spend time enjoying a hobby of yours. This action alone interrupts the negative thought process and replaces it with positive activities that encourage mindfulness and increase your mood. It’s important to be informed, but it is also important to know when to put everything away and take a break. The world isn’t as bad off as the 24/7 news cycle would lead us to believe. Take a break from reading, listening or watching the news. Really. You won’t regret it!
Understand that the news has incentives to produce high profile and exaggerated stories. The varied news outlets may all be talking about one event, from multiple perspectives and bringing up a multitude of related problems. In that moment, you may not have control over the externals, but you do have control over how it affects you, and how you react to it. Recognize that it is one event, not a million different ones. Accept that you cannot control everything, but you can control your mental reactions to these externals. Sometimes, it’s relieving to just let what you cannot control go from your feelings of responsibility.
Think of ways you want to help (either locally or globally), and pursue them. Doing something good for others and good for your community can increase feelings of influence. Although you may be a far distance away from a tragic world event, you can make a small impact every day! From simple acts of kindness to joining a relief effort, your actions can have a benevolent impact. Change, improvement and growth are possible. It is important to remind yourself of all the good that really does exist in the world.
These steps can help avoid those negative, skewed thoughts that can lead to depression. Creating a better sense of positive self-esteem starts with actively choosing what information you permit to flow into your sacred day.