How to Cope: When Current Events Cause Anxiety


In today’s world, we are inundated with a barrage of news headlines and stories on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. We wake up and glance at our phones or devices to get the first glimpse of whatever headlines have pushed their way through that morning. We are reminded throughout the day of the latest tragedy from hashtags and posts to articles, links and live feeds. Not only is our exposure never-ending, the stories deemed “news-worthy” tend to focus on violence, war, terrorism, racism, hate, and fear.

So how can you handle this constant influx of seemingly never-ending bad news? Discussing your feelings of anxiety with a counselor can help you achieve a broader perspective which will help you find personalized solutions that work for you. If you feel you might benefit from counseling, click here.

In addition to counseling, there are steps you can take to lessen the blow of the bad news train.

1. Limit news exposure. Set aside a period of time during the day to consume news stories then take steps to ensure that you aren’t bombarded with unwanted headlines at other times throughout the day. Take a minute to consider whether reading, watching or listening would be least anxiety-provoking, then set a given time period and stick to it. Set limits and rules such as “no news after 8 pm.”

2. Filter, unsubscribe, unfollow and delete. We have the option to control to some extent what we are exposed to in terms of content and frequency. We can filter what we see and when we see it and we can unsubscribe from daily emails and subscriptions that can contribute to anxiety and negative moods. Go into individual apps and subscription settings and take the time to limit what is pushed through. This will cause you to have to seek out headlines rather than have them pop up all day long. Check your inbox and unsubscribe from any subscriptions that aren’t good for your mindset.

3. Narrow your focus. Focusing on global events and tragedies worldwide can cause us to lose perspective and feel that everything is horrible everywhere. Placing more of a focus on your world, on a regional, local or even personal level, will allow you to keep a healthy perspective. Choose to follow local and community groups on social media rather than mainstream media and major news sources.

4. Have a “go to” activity. Take a yoga class, develop a new hobby, clean, read a book, draw or find other ways to engage in healthy activities that will get your mind off the news. This can be your outlet when a particularly tragic event has occurred and it seems to be talked about everywhere. Avoid alcohol, drugs and other unhealthy coping mechanisms.

5. Exercise. In addition to numerous physical health benefits, exercise is good for your mental health. Exercising releases brain chemicals that fight off anxiety and negative mood states. It will allow you to work off any nervous energy and re-focus your mind on something other than what is going on in the world.

If you find that these methods aren’t making a difference or if your anxiety seems like it is constant, hard to manage, or affecting your life in a bigger way than you would like, you might benefit from counseling. To make an appointment with a licensed counselor who can help you with anxiety, please click here.


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