It seems things are going from bad to worse, huh? In reality, global affairs move in cycles. How we perceive them very much shapes how we react to them. How we perceive global affairs is also very much shaped by the coverage they inspire. In today’s 24/7 news cycle, that coverage can be enough to leave you in a state of fear and worry.
The first steps toward remedying this reality are laid out below. You’ll want to identify what you’re feeling and why. From there, you’ll be empowered to take the steps you need to address the problem.
A Few Signs That War Coverage is Negatively Impacting You
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
The age of social media and smartphones has turned us into non-stop scrollers. In a time of intense worrying, this obsession can feel like a form of control. You may tell yourself that if you keep up to date, somehow, this will all make sense.
In reality, it only dominates your daily life and escalates your anxiety.
Slipping Into a Spiral
The current war in Ukraine might hold no specific connection for you. However, relentless updates can result in you “seeing” it directly impact you.
Every new story might lead you to spiraling thoughts on inflation, the economy, your job, and, of course… the perceived threat of nuclear war. Suddenly, you see the situation as urgent to your daily life.
Pre-Existing Issues Worsen
Many, many Americans live with at least one mental health condition. Anxiety and depression are particularly common. You may already dedicate a fair amount of time to managing your symptoms.
If your best self-care efforts are falling short lately, it could be that all the war coverage has triggered you more than you realize.
What to Do When War Coverage Triggers Fear and Worry
Put Down Your Devices
The aforementioned FOMO is real, but not insurmountable. You can flip it on its head any time you choose. Taking regular news and social media breaks puts the control back in your hands. Some suggestions to get you started:
- Figure out which apps cause the most stress and delete them
- Stop following pages or profiles that increase your fear and worry
- Set strict time limitations when using your phone or computer for news consumption or social media scrolling
Understand How War Coverage Works
It is similar to pandemic coverage. In fact, the media covers all crises in a similar way. Since every media outlet is a business, they need readers and viewers. The way to attract and keep an audience is to create stories that capture your attention. By definition, the most dramatic angles are taken in the name of getting “clicks.”
This is not to say your favorite sources are engaging in fake news or misinformation. Rather, I offer this perspective in the hope it can ease your mind.
Get in the Habit of Fact-Checking
This can be time-consuming, but it’s better than just clicking from one nightmarish headline to another. Before you let every clickbait link send you into a spiral, learn how to discover what’s real and what’s speculative.
Reduce your odds of becoming a sitting duck for websites looking to increase their advertising revenue.
Take Care of Yourself
Once you get into the habit of taking news breaks, you can fill that time instead with self-care. Build your resolve and resilience with a daily regimen that includes:
- Physical activity and exercise
- Relaxation techniques and stress management
- A steady amount of quality sleep
- Healthy eating choices
- Face-to-face interactions with loved ones