First there was Brexit and the Covid pandemic. Now other issues may cause panic in your daily life. Feeling anxiety about the news can be a natural response. However, you may not want these concerns to affect other areas of your life.
Typically, people tend to gravitate more towards news with a negative tone. That could explain the old saying that bad news sells. Yet you may find that it causes you to feel a heightened amount of anxiety. You may even notice you have trouble sleeping because of these negative thoughts.
It can be helpful to learn about the symptoms of anxiety, so that you can understand what it feels like. This could greatly help you to become more aware if it and be in a better position to aid yourself.
Check your facts
While social media has a number of wonderful benefits, it can also increase your anxiety about the news. Many people, known as conspiracy theorists, come up with ideas about the world that can lead to wider panic. There is always the possibility that some of these might turn out to be correct. However, for the most part they could be deemed as dangerous, and simply scaremongering. When looking for news and current events, you may want to stick to providers that you know and trust.
Regarding social media, you might want to act with caution. If there are people within your social circle who are spreading such stories, you could hide their content. This doesn’t mean that you need to stop associating with them. After all, we all have different thoughts and opinions. Yet, it could help to keep that anxiety at bay by allowing you to stick to the facts.
Discuss your concerns
It is entirely possible that those around you may also feel anxiety about the news. This could especially be the case if people feel like there is a personal risk attached. You could find it helpful to talk to friends and family about what you have seen or read. As with other areas of upset, communicating with others can help you to feel less alone. Your concerns may be justified, but that doesn’t mean you should suffer in silence.
Explain your concerns in a way children can understand
You may be concerned about whether or not to mention your anxiety about the news to your children. While you may not want to tell them in-depth about the issue, some information could be helpful. In the current climate, you might want to seek advice on how to discuss the Russia-Ukraine war, as an example. Within this, you could explain that you feel nervous for both those involved as well as what may come next. Discussing your own fears can help to normalise these emotions. This could help your children to show more empathy to others who feel anxious, and even be more open to talking about their own issues.
Although it may not be ideal for your children to see you in an anxious state, it might be unavoidable. This could especially be the case for single or solo parents who do not get respite from their children. You might want to try and hold it together until your children are in bed, but you are also human. Younger children might be frightened at seeing their primary caregiver afraid or upset. To overcome this, you may want to gently explain what caused your emotions. You could also use this as a means of reminding them that all people, including grown-ups, can feel scared or sad.
To overcome anxiety about the news, you may want to find ways to ground yourself. You may be able to do this by practising mindfulness each day, as well as when you feel anxious. Mindfulness can allow you to be more present in the moment. This might also involve acknowledging the thoughts and emotions that currently plague you.
Some people find it helpful to simply sit in silence to achieve this. Others might prefer having calming music on. It can also help to tie mindfulness in with other relaxing activities, such as walking or yoga. Keeping a mindfulness journal could also allow you to take note of your feelings, as well as how they may have changed.
Anxiety and sleep
Some people might find that their anxiety about the news and events is worse at night. This could be due to your mind wandering as you try to fall asleep. There are some ways that you can try and soothe yourself, allowing for better rest.
While bedtime routines can be great for children, they may also work wonders for adults. Think about your caffeine and alcohol consumption, as well as what you do in the hours closest to bedtime. You might be overstimulating yourself, which could contribute to further anxiety.
It could, therefore, be helpful to avoid reading or watching the news at night. You may also want to cut back on eating, as well as drinks other than water, as well. Turning off electronics can also benefit.
The room you sleep in should ideally be dark and cool. This can prevent light or overheating from affecting the quality of sleep.
Some people find that reading a book prior to switching off the lights can help them to unwind. You may want to try and pick something light-hearted that won’t overstimulate your brain.
When to seek help
While mild anxiety may be manageable, you might want to look out for signs that you need support. These could include:
- Severe exhaustion
- Feeling tearful more often than not
- Taking long periods of time off of work
- Fear of leaving the house
- Anxiety leading to physical problems, such as stomach upset or inability to eat
- Long-term anxious thoughts that do not go away
- Upsetting thought patterns
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings
There is never any shame about needing additional support with your emotions. Anxiety can feel absolutely horrible and crippling. It may feel more overbearing when it is in relation to something you can’t control, such as the news.
By ensuring that you pay attention to the facts, and try to avoid scaremongering or rumours, it can be overcome. You do not need to allow yourself to be controlled by your anxiety, especially when support is available.
If you, or someone you care about, is in crisis, please remember to check the HELP page for a list of professional contacts.