Current Events and Your Stress Response

A Mindfulness Approach to Self-Care

It's OK to take a break from stressful news.
It’s OK to take a break from stressful news.

The news and current events can affect us all differently and sometimes that effect is emotional and traumatic. It is normal to be hurt by the experiences of others in our community and in our world. Whether through human action, accident, or disaster, what we see on the news or social media can impact us profoundly and may bring up difficult emotions. Here are some recommendations on now to mindfully manage your stress response.

Give yourself permission to feel. Your feelings are normal and news and current events can impact everyone differently.

Identify the feelings and acknowledge them. Part of giving yourself permission to feel is to also recognize that you are being affected by news and current event and that those feelings and symptoms may change over time.

Act on what you can control. This can pull you out of spiraling thinking and show yourself that you can impact your life, whether a task for work or a chore around your home.

Set boundaries with news and current events (when possible). Taking a break and setting limits from television or social media, especially when being active or engaging in a favorite hobby, can help refocus your thinking and thus improve your mood.

Get active. Start with something manageable, like a walk to a park or just around the block. The exercise can serve as its own distraction and triggers the release of endorphins that can improve your mood and improve your symptoms.

Relaxation. Strategies for relaxing include deep breathing and picturing a favorite calming place, but also taking a bath and getting healthy amounts of sleep at night—neither too little nor too much.

Healthy consumption. Know your limits. Check in with yourself and ask: How am I feeling? Am I ruminating? Can I control any of this? What can I control?

Talk to others. Call a trusted friend or family member to talk about how your feeling. Part of the pain associated with your feelings may be that you think your feelings are abnormal or that you’re suffering alone. Let people who care about you know that you’re struggling.

Should you need additional assistance, Employee Counseling Services offers a safe space where our campus community members can share their thoughts and feelings about sensitive issues and events and receive support.  Please contact Dana or Claudia to set up an appointment.

Dana Scoville, PHD