So much tragedy has been in the news recently, from mass shootings to natural disasters to mounting racial and political tensions. Even Facebook, which was once just a place to view cat videos and see what your friends are eating, has become filled with divisive and disturbing posts. What’s a person to do to keep from being overwhelmed by current events?
1) Limit exposure
It can be just too much to see repeated accounts of the latest incident across so many media platforms. One way to get relief, especially in the early time immediately following an event, is to limit exposure. This might look like only checking social media once a day, being intentional about what news you watch, or taking a break from the lunchroom conversations. It might also be necessary to hide certain friends or news sites from your newsfeed or unfollow someone on Twitter. Maybe turn off the news notifications on your phone for a day or two, since so much of the early news is inaccurate anyway. You may need to ask yourself if you truly need to be informed about every aspect of an event. For some people being informed is very important, but the price may be too high when it leads to anxiety and damaged relationships.
2) Refrain from debates
Another important way to limit the impact of current events is to avoid engaging in debates, whether with strangers or friends. Unless you know the other person is truly interested in hearing another perspective, it might not be worth an argument. This is especially true in online forums. It’s difficult to read someone’s tone, and the anonymity provided by the internet often leads to people typing things they would never actually say to someone standing near them. A good rule of thumb is not to read the comments on a news story, since they can get really nasty.
3) Choose your media wisely
Each news outlet tends to put a different spin on things, so choose your source carefully. There are also different cultures on the social media platforms, so you can decide if you’d prefer the more public and political Twitter compared to the more feel-good vibe on Instagram.
However you decide to manage your exposure to current events, make sure it is intentional. You get to decide what fills your mind and your media.