We live in uncertain times. So did the generation before us, and the one before them, and on and on and infinitude. It seems an unavoidable part of life on earth that there is always a devil at large. There have always been tyrants, wars, disease, torture, natural disasters, and any number of threats to our lives or way of life. Makes things interesting, doesn’t it?
There have always been world problems, but it is only in very recent history that we have been so immersed in them. The 24/7 news cycle and social media feeds keep us informed of every tragedy and political battle unfolding in real time. There is nothing wrong with staying informed, but we are now mainlining bad news - shooting it up straight into our neural pathways. We are altering our view of reality this way. We internalize all these news stories and fever-pitched rants and we become angry and sad and hopeless and exhausted.
The news is skewed towards disaster. We hear statistics about suicide rates and opioid use, but no one ever says, “In 2017, 300,000 people helped a stranger in need” or “250,000 people helped an elderly person cross the street.” There is no positive to balance out the negative and so there is a very real burnout that is happening among caring people who are frightened about the state of the world and fearful of their children’s future.
It is important to step away from time to time. It is important to re-calibrate. It is also important to remember that while these news stories may be reporting things that are really happening, that it is never the end of the story. It is not hopeless. The world has always been a challenging place to live, but people have always found ways to thrive in spite of the challenges. And if you give yourself space to restore, you will be better able to rise to the challenges with fresh energy.
It is not “sticking your head in the sand” to rest your mind from the news feed. It is self-preservation. It is a chance to get some perspective so that you can respond with greater clarity and wisdom.