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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

How To Cope When the World Seems Like a Scary Place

Sometimes I just take a break from the news. Just a minute ago I flipped the TV on in our living room and saw a split screen showing a hurricane in the Atlantic, an earthquake in Mexico, and local news anchors were talking about a recent shooting in our community of Plano, Texas.

It made me scared. I started to watch. I felt more unease.

So I turned the television off. Black screen. No sound. Silence.

….and I liked it.

You may think that decision is trivial but it’s not. Ask yourself how often you stare at the screen when the news is on and you just absorb all the negativity? You may even just have your TV on in the background as you go about your evening activities or on the weekends. You absorb the negativity even if you tell me you aren’t paying attention.

It effects you.

For people who are experiencing depression, absorbing the negativity from TV, from people, or from situations can make it worse. You might not even realize it because you already feel like the world is a scary place so the negativity just confirms it. For people who are not depressed, it can bring you down when you might want to just filter it and expose yourself to more inspiring, uplifting influences.

Heck, everyone of us can benefit from inspiring uplifting experiences.

So I challenge you. Keep your TV off. Don’t even have it playing in the background. Chose your one show and watch it and then turn the dang thing off. I know I get hooked on something that I don’t intend to when it is on after I watch Survivor. I need to just watch Survivor and then turn it off. I need to only watch one episode on my laptop and then close it down. Some of you may be thinking Survivor? Now that is something that is depressing. Well, according to my 17 year old, it is all scripted anyways.

We usually hear the advice, “Get off your electronics.” “Interact with people instead of looking at your screen”.

I’m getting you back to some basics. Filter what you expose yourself to when you can. I say start with the TV. Surround yourself with more purposeful, uplifting influences. It’s one of the easiest things you can do today to stop yourself from stoking your own anxiety when you think the world is a scary place.

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