Managing Anxiety over Worrying World Events

Sometimes TV and social media can be full of vivid images and distressing accounts of events that are happening miles away in other countries.  These events may not be issues that directly impact us, but they can still affect how we are feeling.

We may have relatives in that distant part of the world and have little information on their specific circumstances.

We may simply worry about the effect of these events on world order and be anxious about what could be coming or the effects on our security and safety.

What might you do to help your mental wellbeing at times like these? 

Do you need constant access to news and social media?

If a constant stream of news is making you anxious then think about limiting how much time you spend on social media or reading, listening or watching the news. If you feel you need to know what is going on, then you may want to think about the reliability of where you are getting your information from. Is it a trusted and reliable source or is it sensationalising and scaremongering?  Find your trusted news sources, perhaps set a time limit on how much you access them.

Recognise that we have the luxury of being able to switch off from the reality of these events and that it is OK to do so to protect our mental wellbeing.

Be mindful

When we are anxious our minds tend to run out of control, worrying about things that have happened and things that might happen. Instead, it can be really helpful to stop and just focus on the present which allows our minds to stop whirring out of control; The NHS Every Mind Matters website has lots of techniques you can try. Mindfulness applications such as Headspace and Calm are also available on mobile devices and provide guided or self-guided meditation exercises.

Look after your own health and wellbeing

Take steps to ensure you are sleeping and eating well, exercising where possible and practicable. There are lots of online exercise and yoga videos you can do in your own home.  Maybe think of something you can do that is fun, positive and you enjoy.

Some people find it useful to have a ‘Worry Time’.  Where they set aside any feelings of anxiety or worry during the day and consider them in their ‘Worry Time’- a specific and limited time to sit and consider any of their concerns. Or keep a journal to review during this time.

Watch out for your inner critic

The BACP (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) says watch out for your inner critic – it tends to get louder when we feel overwhelmed or powerless. You might feel ashamed that you don’t know enough about why the conflict is happening, or you might feel guilty for worrying about how the conflict could affect you personally. Whilst these are understandable responses, try not to be too hard on yourself – self-criticism can fuel anxiety and fear. Try to notice your thoughts and feelings and respond to them with kindness and compassion

Practice moments of kindness and appreciate the good things in your life

Reach out to people with moments of kindness – it does wonders for our own feeling of wellbeing.

If you want to help support people in a particular conflict.  The British Red Cross is a place to start.   British Red Cross

Talk to a People at Work first responder and find out how we can be part of your wellbeing support.  

020 3286 1545.  Support@peopleatwork.co.uk

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