With everything that’s going on in the world, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to deal with the seemingly endless negative news. From the war in Ukraine to the rising cost of living and the climate crisis, it can simply be overwhelming. Here are some strategies suggested by experts on how to cope when it seems like there’s nothing but bad news.
Put the kettle on
This is a classic British response to tough times, however, there are certainly natural calming effects of sipping on a cup of tea. Drinking this hot and soothing beverage is shown to lower levels of cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone, so it makes it a good place to start.
Manage your media diet
“Doomscrolling” through the news in times of crisis can be extremely tempting. Do yourself a favor, though, and try to avoid scrolling as this behavior and poor mental health has already been linked by various studies.
Of course, it’s important to stay engaged, so we’re not suggesting people get off the media completely. However, offsetting the negativity with uplifting stories and limiting news consumption are healthier ways to manage it.
Take positive action
Instead of letting a sense of powerlessness sink in, Harley Street coach and trauma expert Olivia James recommends focusing your energy on the positive action you can take. “Do something rather than just taking in all the bad news and feeling more and more immobilized by it all,” she says.
Like drinking tea, taking deep breaths is another classic piece of advice, and science does, in fact, back it up.
According to neuro-linguistic programming trainer Andy Coley, “deep and slow belling breathing triggers a part of the nervous system, which lowers cortisol and adrenaline, and raises oxytocin and dopamine.”
Coley explains that “oxytocin is the ‘chemical of love’—it floods your body with good feelings… [so] you will at least be able to think more clearly, with some perspective.”
Activate your brain for “aha” solutions
A certified coach and therapist Marilyn Devonish has more than just 21 years of experience working in the trauma field. She also had to overcome her own suicidal depression in the past. “Continual bad news almost tipped me over the edge,” she says.
Devonish is also an advocate for deep breathing, saying, “if you don’t oxygenate your brain, it will shut down to some extent, and that often means you are—quite literally—not thinking straight.”
The key to moving past bad news and towards a solution-focused response is to activate your brain in a positive way. “Sometimes that next step is to just sit with it and feel whatever you’re feeling,” she adds. “But if you tell your brain what you want, it will do what it can to help you. Out of the blue, you’ll come up with one of those ‘aha’ moments.”