Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mental Health: Coping With the News

Whether via social media, television or radio, we’re often bombarded by all of the tragic, violent and disturbing things happening in our world today. This can certainly take a toll on our emotional health, and this is especially true if you have a history of trauma and/or are also struggling with a co-occurring mental illness. In fact, according to Stephanie Dowd, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center of the Child Mind Institute, there’s a higher risk factor for anxiety [and related issues] for “someone with a traumatic experience in their background.”

If this sounds like you, experts, say that your first step is to just accept your reactions. This means that if you find yourself reacting strongly or getting very upset over the news, remind yourself that it’s ok. These are your emotions and you deserve self-compassion.

While we can’t simply shut out what’s going on in the world, we can learn ways to safeguard our mental health when the news creates extra stress and anxiety. For example, you may want to avoid any visual images and just stick with written word. Here are a few more ways to cope:
  • Find the good. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers; you will always find people who are helping,” said Mr. Roger’s. In 2012, after the Newtown tragedy, this quote went viral – and for good reason. Focusing on the helpers allows you to find hope, faith and humanity amid the disturbing headlines. And it may even become the inspiration you need to offer your services or time to your local community.
  • Reach out for help. Calling a trusted family member or friend is always wise when your emotions are fragile. Arrange a time to meet for coffee or to go for a walk and talk about how the news is making you feel.  If the event is bringing up a painful memory or you’re experiencing triggers, make sure to seek support from your counselor or health care professional.
  • Engage your senses. Whether you meditate, soak in a bath or listen to relaxing music, engaging your senses can help provide some quiet time away from the stress and sadness.
Minding Your Mental Health During Recovery
At Rising Roads, we focus on the unique needs of women in recovery. We help our female clients discover new coping strategies to manage (not run from) their emotions, so they can continue to heal and reclaim healthy, sober lives. To learn more about our programs, call today: 866-746-1558.

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