The news is full of horrific and devastating things — school shooting, bombings, terrorisms. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. How can we not when it can make one feel like the world is unsafe? We begin to fear for our own safety, our children’s, our spouses, our friends and neighbors. We ask ourselves why these things happen in the world. I wonder, dear reader, if you have experienced these thoughts and emotions after watching the news yourself? If so, how do you deal with it?
As a therapist, I have seen people have anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and sometimes hopelessness and helplessness as a direct result of being exposed to the heartbreaking events going on in our communities. My job is to make them see that the world is not all bad. That there is good everywhere.
When one focuses on one thing, that one thing starts to feel like everything. Imagine one full circle, a pie if you will. Let’s say that this circle or pie represents every action in our communities. Now, imagine that a portion or slice of that represents all the devastating things we see in the news. In reality, if we take into account the entire pie, this slice is just a small portion of it. But, because all our focus and attention are on that small portion, it feels like it is not just a slice but the whole pie itself. If you have ever felt deeply affected by the events you see in the news, then its time to step back and see the whole pie. I recommend taking a break from the news and watching TV shows that showcases the good in the world. I love this documentary called, Operation Kindness, it is about a man who decides to travel the word without a penny in his pocket. His goal is to prove that there are good people out there. He does this by relying on the kindness of strangers throughout his travels.
I would like to end this blog by teaching a cognitive behavioral technique. Every single time you find yourself thinking about these devastating things in the news, I’d like you to stop and replace it with an action. I would like for you to do something altruistic. Go get your mother a glass of water, or call her and say hello. Call or text on a friend who may be going through a hard time. Ask your children if they need help with homework. Make a donation pile and donate unused or unneeded items to the Goodwill store. Pick a good deed. Engaging in anxiety, depression, or any sort of mental anguish helps no one. Be the good. Increase the good. Let’s make that already small portion of the pie even smaller.