7 ways to stay positive in the face of distressing world events

By HarperLees

Smartphones and social media mean we are more connected than ever before, but this might not always be a good thing for your emotional wellbeing.

With a growing number of news platforms and social media sites at your fingertips, you can view images and news updates from around the world within seconds at any time of the day or night.

While this presents a great opportunity to stay informed, it can give you access to images, videos, and stories that can be distressing. It’s easy to let this become overwhelming, potentially letting it affect your mood and your emotional wellbeing.

Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to maintain a positive outlook even when world events feel frightening or overwhelming. Read on for seven things you can do today.

1. Focus on what you can control

A feeling of powerlessness can add to the feelings of overwhelm you might experience while watching news stories or videos from around the world. This can be really frightening, but one of the ways you can overcome this is by focusing on what you can control.

A helpful way to do this could be to write down all the things that are worrying you, then use a highlighter to indicate which points you can control, and which you can’t. By spending more time acting on the things you can control, you can help yourself feel more empowered, reducing the overwhelm you’re feeling.

2. Limit the time you spend watching the news

While it can be helpful to stay abreast of the important headlines, watching too much of the news can be detrimental.

Perhaps you could set a time limit for how long you will spend on social media each day, or commit to only looking on social media during your lunch break.

Additionally, be mindful of when you are watching the news.

Flooding your mind with distressing images and headlines during your first waking moments, for example, could set the tone for the rest of your day. Instead, use this time to focus on happier activities so that you start the day feeling positive and empowered.

3. Make sure you get enough good-quality sleep

Sleep is vital for your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical health. If you don’t have enough sleep, or your sleep is of low quality, you are more susceptible to anxiety and other mental health conditions.

So, rather than scrolling on your phone or watching the news until late into the night, you might notice that taking the time to implement a healthy bedtime routine helps you to feel more positive the next day.

This might include:

  • Avoiding screens that emit blue light, such as your TV, smartphone, or laptop
  • Taking a warm bath or shower
  • Drinking a calming cup of tea, such as peppermint or chamomile
  • Writing down your thoughts in a notebook.

4. Spend some quality time with people you love

Stress and worry can cause you to withdraw from the wider world, seeking the safety of home. But research has found that spending time with loved ones can help to lower your stress levels.

This is partly due to the hormones that your body releases while interacting with friends, family, or your partner. These include oxytocin and serotonin, two neurotransmitters known as “happy hormones”.

When you’re feeling happy and relaxed, it can be easier to cope with the news stories that might otherwise have caused you to feel overwhelmed.

5. Lace up your trainers and take part in exercise you enjoy

It’s no secret that exercise is good for your body and mind, but it can also help specifically with the way you cope with bad or distressing news.

When you’re stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol. This floods your body with nervous energy, which can make you feel restless and uncomfortable. Taking part in exercise such as running, swimming, or cycling can help you put that nervous energy to good use.

By creating an outlet for your stress, you can reduce the levels of cortisol in your body and calm your nerves to a more manageable level.

6. Talk about your worries with someone you trust

You may have heard the saying “a problem shared is a problem halved”. When you keep worries to yourself, it’s easy for them to spiral into bigger and bigger concerns. An outside perspective can help you to avoid this fate.

Sometimes, even just knowing that you aren’t the only one who is experiencing these worries is enough to help you start to feel better.

7. Channel your energy into taking positive action

Another way to turn your overwhelm into something positive is to channel it into making change for the causes you feel strongly about. There are a few ways you could do this, including:

  • Sign a petition
  • Donate money to charity
  • Join a volunteer group in your area.

When you can start to take matters into your own hands, it could help you to feel more empowered.
In turn, you may feel less anxious about the stories you’re seeing.

We could help you to feel more positive and in control of your finances

Feeling overwhelmed or anxious can affect lots of different parts of your life, including how you manage your money. For example, it could lead to you wanting to “play it safe” with your investments or savings, potentially losing out on returns.

If world events are causing you to feel concerned about your wealth, please get in touch. We can help to guide you through those difficult times in life and offer trusted advice to help you make the most of your money.

You can email us at info@harperlees.co.uk or call 01277 350560. We’ll be very happy to help.

Please note

This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.

The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Investments should be considered over the longer term and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.