How to find equanimity within a maelstrom of negative news

Equanimity is defined as calmness and composure in the face of difficult situations. When you reach a state of equanimity, then you are better equipped to serve your family, friends, and community.

The problem, especially amidst an election season brewing within a pandemic, is that the news media is bombarding people with negative news that does anything but provide calm. Of course, reading the Optimist Daily is one way to get out of the negative news spiral, but the reality is that it can be very difficult to avoid being exposed to the maelstrom of crisis-based news. And when you’re bombarded by bad news, it only makes it harder to feel equanimity.

This begs the question: How do you find equanimity when the news is overwhelming? You can find four suggestions below.

Create and stick to a news diet: You don’t need a constant stream of news in your life. Instead, determine the amount of time necessary to acquire the information that will allow you to be a knowledgeable, effective, and relatively upbeat citizen. Once you figure out how much time that is, stick to it.

Restore yourself: When you burn out, you are little use to yourself or anyone. Find out what restores your calm. Is it talking to a friend? Is it enjoying art? When you determine what restores you, schedule time each week to devote to your restorative practice. This will help you keep your equanimity in check.

Choose the right forms of citizenship and activism: What kind of activism helps you feel energized? Which kinds drain your energy? If being an activist on social media is actually bringing you more frustration than anything else, cut it out. Remember: you cannot solve all the problems we are facing right now, but you can make a difference. See where your citizen engagement can help to make a difference and try to focus more on that.

Envision and plan for a positive future: The news may paint a bleak picture of the future, but that doesn’t mean you have to believe in this vision. Instead, envision a future in which people and nature are able to thrive. Then ask yourself: What are the keys to building such a future? What systems need to change? Where and how can I participate, using my talents and skills? If we all think this way, then we can collectively work towards a better future.

Finding equanimity in these turbulent times isn’t easy, but by following these four steps, you can restore your calm and take back control over your responses to the chaos around us.

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