The World Around Me Can Make My Mood Worse
Today is the Fourth of July, American Independence Day, and the world around me seems as dysfunctional as ever. After celebrating the holiday with a nap (self-care is always the priority, even on a day filled with barbecues and friends), I turned on the news. I could not have made a worse mistake. The news is always negative and, worse than that, is always triggering for me. After quickly changing the channel to a baseball game I asked myself what I can do to make myself less upset at all of the negativity going on in the world around me.
Problems in the World Around Me
Access to News in the World Around Me Is Easier than Ever Before
It used to be that one had to search for information about what was happening in the world. Today, ads and headlines scream about the top story of the day everywhere we turn. The radio in my car pauses for news updates, simple web searches contain ads for news services, and social media is overrun with links to stories on all possible topics. It can seem impossible to avoid news items that are triggering while not shutting myself off from everything and everyone.
Today's news media is not in the industry of merely reporting facts as the giants of yesteryear were. In the huge business of news reporting, pretty much all sources try to elicit emotion from their viewers, listeners, and readers. For me, much of that emotion comes out in anger and depression. "How can people be like this?" I think to myself. "There must be no hope for the world." These thoughts come, naturally, with a sense of sadness and an accompanying spiral downward.
I Resist Getting Drawn In
With that in mind, it is hard to resist being drawn in, to have that emotional response to the world around me. If something bothers me, I have been trained as a person and as someone who struggles with mental illness to respond to it and to try to make the situation better. I can do nothing for the media. Likewise, I can do nothing for people on social media who disagree with my view of the world. At least once a week I find myself in a back-and-forth with a friend on Facebook in which neither of us will ever change the other's mind. We both get angry and again, I spiral downwards.
No matter what your beliefs and worldviews are, there will be those people in your life who feel differently. They, like you, have been emotionally charged by their interactions with the media and, like you, are probably angry and disgusted by those who have a different emotional reaction. Nothing positive can come out of having that fight. At best you agree to disagree; at worst you end a relationship. Furthermore, your own self-care will suffer.
As challenging as it is, resist having those conversations. When triggered, don't even go on Facebook or other social media where you will be more easily drawn in. Remember that your stability has to come first.
Remember Not All Is Bad
This is the part I fail at regularly. The media exists to get me to feel emotions, typically negative. And it works. People in my life don't always see things the way I do and I get drawn into fights when I shouldn't. These things combine to make me feel that there is no hope for anyone. I have gone so far as to declare that I am glad I am not having children because people don't deserve another generation.
At the end of the day, this is my anxiety and depression getting the best of me. Every day, I am surrounded by people who love me. For every negative person in my life, there are a hundred who are positive. They might not be as loud as the single negative voice, but they are there. The world is the same way. The negative voices are the loudest, but they are not the only ones there. It can be a challenge to hear the positive, to see the upbeat examples of goodness, but that doesn't mean they don't exist in the world around me.
Today, I turned off the news in time to save my mood. Tomorrow, I hope to be able to do the same.
Berg, J. (2018, July 5). The World Around Me Can Make My Mood Worse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, December 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/relationshipsandmentalillness/2018/7/the-world-around-me-can-make-my-mood-worse
Author: Jonathan Berg
I think this is such an important message with today's current media culture. A lot of what we see and consume is largely negative and that can have a bad feel for many. Remembering and realizing that it's not all bad and seeking that out can be very uplifting and helpful.
Thank you, Lizanne. Yes, these days there is so much negativity around us. I hope that the media realizes the effect they are having on the mental health of everyone.