negative news coping
photos: © Victoria Rayu / @victoriarayu

How to Mentally Cope with Negative News

How to keep your sanity in a world that is constantly feeding you negative news

Global warming, the rapid extinction of animal species, pollution and now COVID-19. How do you mentally cope with negative news at times like this? Here are a few tips from a serial negative-news-sufferer. 

Negative News is Now Everywhere and It’s Coming for Your Mental Health

For the last couple of months, I find myself deeply disturbed by negative news on social media. Quite often I would be browsing through Facebook or Instagram and suddenly see that one bit of negative news that just ruins my mood for the whole day. Sometimes that news even keeps me up at night for hours, popping into my subconsciousness and giving me nightmares. You know, that one piece of news that just makes you hate the world we live in? For example, an article on Facebook about dogs being tortured at Chinese markets with a nice big photo, as well. Of course, I cannot bring myself to actually read it because that would destroy the little bit of sanity I have left. But just knowing that such injustice exists in our world is enough to fill me up with anxiety and leave my mind restless. I find myself being tortured by the fact that there is nothing I can physically do at this very moment.

So after stumbling onto another post that left me feeling restless, not to mention I was already struggling with all the news about COVID-19, I decided to reach out to my Instagram followers with one question: How do you mentally cope with negative news? Here are the answers that I got summarized in 6 tips.

photos: © Victoria Rayu / @victoriarayu

6 Tips on How to Mentally Cope with Negative News

1. Occupy your mind with something that is not work-related

Write, draw, read a book, replant your pots, play an instrument, listen to music, clean. Do something that allows you to focus and brings you peace of mind. Don’t do anything that is work-related! The point here is to absolutely destress and fill your mind with something that will not add to the noise. Allow your mind to focus on something else entirely for a couple of hours, that way your stress levels and anxiety will also go down. I’ve obviously chosen writing in this situation.

2. Do some physical activity

Working out is generally known to lower stress levels. So doing any physical activity can help free your mind of all the negative news in the world. Go for a run, go to the gym (or maybe don’t right now), workout at home, practice yoga and meditate. I’ve heard that the last one is especially good when dealing with stress. And if you don’t know where to really begin with a workout or yoga, there are plenty of videos online that can help you make the first step.

3. Find some happy news

A fellow Popara writer, Nicole, also reached out to me with advice. She said that negative news won’t disappear, but what I can do is process it and remind myself of the positives. She advised me to write down a gratitude list and go through it in silence. Her advice also made me seek out some happy stories on the internet. As it turns out, there are many pages out there dedicated to sharing positive news. And while I looked at all the happy things happening around the world with a heavy heart, it did make the weight on my shoulders feel a bit lighter.

4. Detox from social media

Practice detoxing from social media for a while. This one I find particularly hard for two reasons. One, I live away from my family so social media is a way for me to kinda be a part of their lives. Two, I currently work as a social media manager so a big part of my job is keeping track of what’s trending on social media and always knowing what’s up and coming. If you’re in a similar situation as me, a good solution is to practice social media restriction. Limit your app time to an hour a day, that way you are still connected but the intake of negative news becomes much lower.

5. Find charities that can help

As a proactive person, a big part of why I struggle so much with news about injustice in the world is knowing I cannot do anything about it at the very moment. That drives me crazy. But what I can do is find charities and organizations that do have the ability to do something about it. Just by donating some money or supporting them in any other way, you are already helping the people that are there and can stop this. So next time you’re struggling with anxiety over the things you cannot do, support the people that are already fighting the good fight for the rest of us.

5. Turn to spirituality

This one I had a very hard time with. While I do believe in spirituality, I’ve always thought of praying as an excuse used by people who are too lazy or scared to actually do something. I’ve always thought of it as a last resort. You know, when you know you’ve tried everything and the only thing left to do is pray.

However, a friend of mine who is very religious explained to me that at times like this she likes listening to worships and praying. She said that it brings her peace and makes her feel like everything will be ok. Like a whisper is telling her that this is all happening for a reason. The world will wake up and see that our planet is crying for help. That people will realize we can’t keep on living the way we do. She believes that life will eventually deal with those who live immorally.

I have to admit, this is still a very passive view for me. However, I have to come to terms with the fact that, at times, this is all we can hope for. I am not religious, but I do believe in the power of prayer. I think of it as positive energy being sent out into the universe. And that can never be a bad thing, right?

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We are all museums of fear

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Accepting life as it is

After much pondering, I’ve realized that I just have to face the facts. In life there is good and bad, it’s a balance. We live in a time when we are constantly connected to the internet, making ourselves vulnerable to a lot of negative news. And while my very first instinct is to delete all of my social media, I know that’s unrealistic. After all, we do not want to exclude ourselves from reality. Putting on the pink sunglasses and acting like everything is fine in the world is not the right thing to do. It is our duty as human beings to not be oblivious to all the bad things happening in the world.

But it is also ok to accept that dealing with it can take a toll on us sometimes, and that’s ok. At moments like this, we need to learn how to control our anxiety and “disconnect” for a little bit. And while I’m still trying to figure out things for myself, I would love to hear from you, my dear reader. How do you mentally cope with negative news?

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