The news and social media sources bring us daily and moment-by-moment updates of casualties and deaths caused by war, shootings, environmental disasters and more. How can we cope with increasing anxiety that is caused by the pictures of death and destruction that we see every day? We worry about our students and children, the refugees who flee to countries in Europe and those that want to settle in America, inequalities and danger for minorities, to name a few. In a recent poll by the (APA) American Psychological Association almost 73% of those polled said they are worried about the recent crises facing the world right now.
Anxiety can produce physical reactions in our bodies with increased pulse, increased breathing, increased blood pressure, and rapid thoughts. But you can help mitigate these feelings.
Avoid looking at graphic pictures and use a brief time of 15 minutes in the morning to look at news updates. Use relaxation breathing, which is slow breathing that slows down physical reactions. Set aside time to write down your thoughts at the end of the day to avoid all day anxious thoughts and feelings.
Here are a few tips that can help you manage anxiety:
- Accept your feelings
- Set boundaries and limits around media usage
- Focus on the aid that can be sent through community organizations
- Donate money and time to refugee settlement programs
- Exercise and use relaxation breathing
- Create a list of things you are grateful for
- Schedule time to focus on your anxiety and journal about it for 15 minutes per day
By Eric Libby, LCSW