How To Cope With Bad News in the World
Leave space in your mind for beautiful thoughts!
Let’s face it. The news media will never be the bearer of good news. Think of the news media as a basket that is delivered each day to your front door. It would be nice if that basket contained all sorts of lovely things to brighten your day, give you hope, and make you feel better, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, that is not the case. Instead, that basket usually contains the equivalent of horrible things that are dark and dirty. It contains all the evidence that can be found of the absolute worst side of humanity. Isn’t that just what you wanted to know? Don’t you wake up every morning excited to get out of bed, because you can’t wait to find out what horrible new things human beings have done to ruin themselves and the planet?
It is a well known fact that whatever occupies your thoughts contributes to how you see yourself and the world around you. In order to comprehend whatever you are reading or watching, those things must enter your conscious experience, and therefore become a part of your thinking. Headlines in the news media generally scream for your attention. Those headlines beg you to open the articles and read or watch every horrible detail that can be presented. Because the news cycle is 24/7, those details and images will be repeated over and over again. If you continue to take them in, they will eventually fill your mind, leaving no room for beautiful ideas. The fear and anxiety generated by all the bad news can overwhelm your thinking, and thereby create a negative filter through which you may view your entire life.
The world is obviously a very unstable place. Most of the events are out of the control of any one individual. If we position ourselves to require that such world events are stabilized, in order for us to feel stable as individuals, we could have a long wait indeed. So rather than being overwhelmed by such events, why don’t we take a different approach that empowers us right now? Rather than indulging in the human propensity for mass hysteria, why don’t we choose to calm ourselves instead? You can start by deciding to meditate each morning, even if it is only for 5 or 10 minutes. This gives you a chance to find your center – that quiet, calm place that exists beneath your breath. Let this be your anchor to love and reality.
Another thing that is very effective is to indulge in some form of art, whether it be drawing, painting, crafts, producing music, or otherwise. You can also spend time planning a beautiful life for yourself. Create plans that are practical and real, so that you provide yourself with something to be excited about. Look for ways to anchor your experience in something positive. Don’t confuse this idea with escapism. Escapism will only produce repression of your anxiety. We are talking about supplanting anxiety with something far better, so that anxiety doesn’t have any room to exist.
The next helpful thing that you can do is to put the nature of the news media in perspective, so that you can scan information without being overtaken by it emotionally. The following is a silly analogy, but it makes the point. If the news media was looking for groceries, here is what they would do. They would go to the produce aisle and dig through all the good tomatoes, looking for the most rotten tomato they could find. That tomato would become a headline! Next, they would extend their search to the banana aisle, and hopefully find a banana at the bottom of the pile that was really decaying. Yay! Another great headline! And if they wanted a super whopper of a catastrophe, they might be lucky enough to find a gigantic watermelon that had been left unattended for a very, very long time behind a shelf somewhere. Imagine the stir that could be created if a fruit of that size was so rotten, that it was virtually unrecognizable. Wow! That would be the mother lode of all scary headlines! Especially if they added the tag line “This could happen to you!”
You should always remember that the news media has zero interest in anything positive. They regularly comb through what is good and normal in the world, looking for the worst, most frightening stories they can find. And if they can’t find enough to really scare you, then they can always make something up. It comes in the form of what “might happen” or what “could happen”. It comes in the form of “what so-and-so thinks might happen. Maybe.” So if there is not enough actually happening to freak you out, no problem! They will just help you to entertain all of the bad things that might happen, instead. And there are plenty of quotes from kindhearted, official, and anonymous sources to help you with that fearful imagination, aren’t there?
It is always wise to be informed to a certain extent. But it is also important to stay in balance, in terms of what you are mentally willing to take in. See if you can find a balance in how you approach such information in your life. Pause for a moment and ask yourself this question: “Of all the bad news that I have taken in for the past 10 years, how much has physically touched me directly?” The chances are that it has been a relatively small percentage. Decide to limit your intake of facts that are cloaked in fear and hysteria. Look at enough to be informed, and then move on with your life. It does not help anyone if you contribute to the spread of anxiety, and allow it to be further amplified.
Leave plenty of space in your mind for beautiful thoughts. To go back to our original basket analogy, you may want to glance at the contents of the media basket on your doorstep. But you don’t have to bring it into your house. Have tremendous respect for what you allow into your consciousness. Think of your mind as your garden. Don’t allow the weeds of bad news to overtake the beauty of your creative capability. Just as you have the power to decide who comes into your house, you also have the power to decide what enters your mind.