overwhelmedAre you overloaded and overwhelmed by today’s news headlines?  This seems to be the consensus of most everyone these days. It doesn’t surprise me.  There are some, dare I say, horrible things going on in the world today, and we are overloaded with real-time news reports from all angles. From mass shootings to political escapades to celebrity sexual assaults, to abuse and torture of animals and humans and everything in between.  It’s not often that we hear about anything good going on either locally or abroad. Maybe if there was more of a balance of good, or positive stories in the media, it might help with our sense of overwhelm.

From the moment we wake up in the morning, we are bombarded with news reports that continue throughout the day.  The more sensational the news, the more often we see these headlines. In terms of headlines, if it bleeds, it leads. I heard this statement years ago, and I can’t remember where, but it’s no wonder we feel overloaded and overwhelmed.

We are more susceptible than ever to hearing about the latest news headlines as they occur.  This is due to the digital age and being connected in a plethora of ways.  Not only television and radio, but computers and phones with internet connections.  These devices will keep us connected to real-time news and information 24/7 if we allow them.

Being overwhelmed means to have strong emotions, either positive or negative in nature due to a situation, or multiple situations in our lives.  When we are bombarded, or overloaded with negative situations, it’s difficult to rebound from one, before another negative situation arises.  This feeling causes us to become stressed and possibly anxious.

Everyone deals with overload, overwhelm, stress and anxiety in different ways.  We need to know about situations in the world that have an impact on each of us directly or even indirectly.  Managing how often we tune in to these news reports is under our control.  How we deal with the information received is also under our control.  We all need coping mechanisms to deal with negative situations in our lives.  Everyone is different and these coping mechanisms could be different for each person.  The tips below are not all-inclusive but will provide some tools to use to find out what works for you.

Tips to Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed

  • Start your day without turning on or tuning into the world. If you need audio stimuli to wake up or as you exercise, play your favorite music, or turn on a comedy sitcom; there are many re-runs broadcasted at all times of the day.
  • Take in information in bite-sized chunks. When you receive a negative news report, don’t read or listen to all the details.  Absorb the gist of the news, then move away from the source and on to the tasks you need to perform for the day.
  • Shift your focus to something positive in your life. It often seems as though there is nothing good going on in the world.  Fortunately, that’s not true.  When you hear a negative news report, think about something positive that is going on in your life right now.  It will take your mind off the negativity that may start to creep in.

Tips to Relieve Stress When You Become Overwhelmed

  • Deep breathing helps slow down your heartrate, which causes a feeling of peace.
  • Exercising works in the short term to reduce stress, and in the long term to combat anxiety.
  • Light a candle with a calming scent. Many studies have shown that aromatherapy can reduce stress.
  • Write down at least 10 things that you are grateful for at that moment. It shifts your mind to positive thoughts to reduce stress.
  • Chew a stick of gum. Studies have shown that chewing gum promotes blood flow to the brain, and causes brain waves similar to those of relaxed people.
  • Laughing is a great stress reliever. Watch a funny tv show, go to a comedy club, or call a friend and let the laughing begin!

What actions do you take when you’re overwhelmed?