It’s been another big week in the world…one where the cold fingers of fear have been felt across the planet.
The ripple effect is profound- each event of carnage has a huge impact on the collective psyche.
Something that has occurred on the other side of the world can affect us greatly….
Living in a global world is not always easy. Technology has made “news” instantly accessible- we are on 24/7 live-stream right into our own lounge-rooms…the place we are supposed to feel most safe.
Some days it seems like there is no escape from it all….
Human beings are strange creatures.
We have a fascination with the negative and an almost obsessive compulsion to know all of the details, no matter how distressing.
We seem to be unable at times to self- regulate incoming information, to discriminate between what is useful and what is potentially harmful to us.We simply open ourselves up to the avalanche of incoming information and let it sweep over us in an unedited pile…
We are then hard-wired to try to make sense of things: to ask the question that often has no satisfactory answer…..
“Why” often leads us down the garden path and right into the darkness of fear…
Still have an image in your head of something you saw on television years ago?
Or a vivid memory of something that you once saw on the front page of a newspaper that still disturbs you? Well, you’re not alone.
So often we allow other sources to fill our head with an emotionally toxic poison, to immerse ourselves in it completely and then have no idea how to get it out of our system. Eventually it seeps through our entire being until we become paralysed with it- it’s called fear….
The media has a big part to play in the illusion of fear. It’s generally only interested in the shock/ horror value of the “news” it selects.
“Good news doesn’t sell” is the old adage…I’d like to believe that there’s a time coming soon where that changes…
So, how can we protect ourselves?
Here are a couple of simple strategies I use:
1. Edit Incoming Information:
How much do you really need to know?
Something terrible has happened…but how many times do you need to see the same footage over and over?
Turn the TV off. Once you know the general details (if you need them) that can be enough. Check in occasionally for updates if you need to, but use the remote control’s off button- that’s what it’s for….
Skim read the headlines but avoid the gratuitous detail. How much suffering do you need to immerse yourself in?
Does knowing every traumatic detail make you feel better or worse? Often we keep piling the bad stuff in without even noticing the cumulative negative effect it’s having on our own wellbeing. I can go days or even weeks without “news.” Feels great!
2. Do A “Re- Edit:”
Bad stuff happens. It always will. But, like everything, it’s how we choose to see it that really counts. We can view it through the eyes of fear or we can choose to see things in a different way altogether.
Sure we can see “bad,” but if we take a different look we can also see “good.”
If the media chooses not to show us the good news we can create it ourselves based on what we already know about the human species….
Often, adversity often brings out the best in humanity. The human spirit is one of the most incredible forces on this planet.
The acts of bravery, the kindness and compassion, the unconditional support and the outpouring of love that follows any tragic event is often life-changing. To watch a community, a nation, or a world, rally around those in trouble unites us all.
(The media usually gets to that part a week or so after the event, when the bad news has become old news…)
After working with so many people affected by disaster a common theme I found is the overwhelming gratitude that those affected have for the beautiful people who give so willingly of their time, their love, their money and their support.
The common feedback down the track is that something bad has been far outweighed by the good that follows it…that people’s faith in humanity is often restored in a way that they never believed possible.
Focussing on the victims or focussing on the heroes- what you choose will have a profound impact on how you cope.