The world has always been as brutal as it seems it is today. Always. We humans are barbaric. However, our consciousness level of this brutality has increased with the decreased censorship of our media. We feel we need to be responsible citizens and be “all up on in it”. To be informed of world news is to be smart. To have it become overwhelming and debilitating seems more common than not suddenly. Perhaps it’s time we unplug. In an article published on Salon titled Self-care isn’t Apathy : You Don’t Have to Watch the Trump Horror Show, Mary Elizabeth Williams says “Remember that self-care is not apathy, and that sensory overload isn’t social justice. It’s estimated Americans consume roughly ten hours of media a day. And 33 percent of Americans — a full third — say that they follow the news all throughout the day. That is an overwhelming amount of information to take in — especially when a fair amount of that information involves a paranoid yelling person.”
Where we used to fulfill this informed responsibility by reading the newspaper, now we get our news differently. With the newspaper, you got to chuckle at the comics for a few minutes and the world devastation was one step removed because these were just words. Now it’s real live life or video tape. Visuals are a very different input. We are not trained for this kind of daily anxiety. Societal stress hormone levels are raising, obesity is increasing, and anxiety and it’s resulting compulsions are climbing at an alarming rate.
The only way I can begin to advise on how to keep the world and all its violence at bay in your life is to say,”Stop watching”. Bring yourself back to a safe zone within your inner world by switching off the knowledge even for just a little while. Ask someone to be your filter and tell you what you need to know. It isn’t sticking your head into the sand. It is keeping yourself sane so that you can be there for the real people in your life who rely on and need you. That they find you distraught weekly over television news isn’t doing a bit of good for their or your relationship with you.
That the world needs a version of you that is in fact distanced from it may not make sense immediately but seems a larger truth than what you see on TV. To be effective at doing what we can, we need to understand our own limits and the power of remaining neutral and balanced. Fear and anger only creates more of the same.
Consider keeping the television or the news off for a week and see if you don’t notice yourself feeling less stressed. And consider what the long-term effects of this practice could have on an entire nation. We could all be a little calmer, a little less unsettled when we make our own life’s decisions. And that would be the world I want to think I’m living in.
In an post written by Anna Lovind titled What We are Called to do When Our Hearts are Breaking, she acknowledges our immediate need to save everyone and yet we can’t and we’re overwhelmed. What can we do? “Don’t close your heart to protect yourself from the hurt. Let it break over the children, men and women you cannot save. Pray for them and send them whatever light and love you have, and then focus on the one thing that you CAN do right now. Help one person, stay later, lend your ear, your soul, and be present for someone right now.
I have days when I feel raw. When the slightest thought of negativity can throw me into a depressive tailspin where I see the entire world and my own inner world as tumbling into a vortex from which there is no return. And this is all a product of my mind, not a reflection of reality, which I have the power to steer in whatever direction I choose. Doesn’t feel like this is true all the time but it is the truth. And to be aware of the dance your mind is doing is the most power you can ever wield.
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