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News is everywhere. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, it’s always right there in your face. You no longer have to turn on the TV and put it on a news channel to hear the news. If you have a phone, the news finds you, right there on your screen.
Constant banners and updates flash across your device, not to mention all the stories you see on your social media feeds. Even on the best day, it’s enough to overwhelm just about anyone. I mean, who hasn’t complained about all the political “news” trending online? It really does get annoying.
When the story trending is one about senseless violence, with many victims, it can become unbearable. Many people get sad or even depressed hearing these awful stories. When children are harmed, or innocent people who were simply gathered to enjoy a concert, it sometimes gets to be too much.
You are human, and it is normal for you to have a reaction to what is going on in the world around you. But, other than crawling into a hole with no phone and completely isolating yourself from the world, what can you do to protect yourself and not have to feel so bad?
Here are some things you can do when you are overwhelmed by violence in the news.
- Turn it off. Turn off the TV or your phone. Not forever, but just for a little while. You can turn it back on when you are ready, but at least turning it off temporarily puts you in control of what you see and when.
- Allow yourself to feel something. It is okay to cry or get angry or whatever it is your are feeling. You are a person with feelings, and some stories just elicit that response. It’s okay. This feeling won’t last forever.
- Remind yourself that there is truly more good in this world than evil. People are inherently good. Search for uplifting stories about good people and heroes.
- If you are finding it hard to get your mind off the news and you keep perseverating over it, try to distract yourself for a little while with something uplifting and funny. Watch a funny movie or TV show, read a funny book or watch some funny YouTube videos. You can even listen to some upbeat music.
- Reach out to others. Difficult times often bring people and communities together. Cling to your family and friends. Talk about it often. Don’t keep your feelings inside. Support each other.
- Arrange a talk at your school, led by an adult, where teens and adults can have real conversations about what’s happened and how to deal with it.
- Take action. Whether it’s writing letters to political leaders, getting involved in an organization for a cause, or any number of other ideas, taking action is empowering. You do not need to be silent and just allow things to happen. As you are becoming a young adult, you have an obligation to speak up and help shape the kind of country and world that you want to live in.
Similarly, when the news is all about natural disasters and things that are out of your control, it is common to feel sad and even scared. Don’t isolate yourself. Talk to others, get involved in helping victims any way you can, and most importantly, take the time to think about being prepared for your own emergency.
Talk with your parents about creating a safety plan for your family. Not only can it help keep you safe if a disaster eve happens, it can lessen your anxiety knowing that your family is prepared.
So many things in this world are out of our control. One of the hardest things about growing up is realizing that bad things do happen, and life is not really fair. But you do not need to be an innocent bystander. Your generation is our future of leaders, teachers, technology and more. Use the power to have to make the world a better place. And remember to look around and see all the goodness that surrounds you.