Wars, terrorist attacks, shootings, innocent people suffering and dying, protests, hate, DIVISION, severe political upheaval, mass shootings, disease, injustices, more hate, sadness, crimes, economic struggles, political division, death, animals and the environment at risk, ANGER, refugees, racial division, VIOLENCE, bombings, environmental strife, frustration. Was that long sentence overwhelming? It should be because it’s a sampling of what’s been going on in the world for the last twelve months. What’s even worse is that it doesn’t seem to be abating any- it’s only getting worse. The problem is that all of these horrible things are happening at once and are right in our faces thanks to TV and the internet. The news programs focus on the sensational scandals and downtrodden events while the internet takes those events and internet allows us to all discuss and share them. And to make it worse, we hear all of this repeated through conversations with friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances. So we experience it not once, but over and over again. These subjects soak into our lives and souls and can become like anchors that drag us down.

All of this is exhausting even for the toughest person. The continuous onslaught of negative news can be overwhelming and depressing. The information is almost insidious in the way that it works its way into our lives, through newspapers and TV and by basic human contact. It seems as though it’s everywhere these days; it’s hard to do anything or go anywhere without running into the negativity. The unfortunate side effect of this is that it can affect our daily lives on a deep level. It gets so bad for me sometimes that I begin to think that the world is nothing but a flaming mass of awfulness.

This has made my mood take a nosedive with all of the negative things happening lately. The war, suffering, anger and division are so depressing. It seems like it’s so bad that there’s practically nothing good left in the world anymore. People are becoming so polarized, too, everyone taking up different opinions on the things going on. I see these polarizing opinions starting arguments and pitting people against each other. What really scares me is that sometimes I catch myself getting swept up in all of the anger I see around me. I let my political and ideological opinions get the better of me and before I know it I’m arguing on social media and thinking that everyone who doesn’t think like me is an idiot. I don’t like thinking and feeling this way. I don’t think it’s me. I’ve always felt that I am a kind, understanding person, but sometimes I feel like that part of me gets a bit trampled when amidst the gloom. This can leave me feeling sad and mentally exhausted and wondering where the good in the world is. It just often seems as if there are so many more negative things than positive things going on in the world today.

It’s so hard to balance because I feel like it’s important for me to keep up with the news, and I’m a news junkie, yet it brings me down so much. It’s so difficult to do this when all I see is destruction, anger and sadness. For awhile I was able to keep up with things, but recently I’ve had to back off a bit; it’s just too much. I used to watch morning news programs, but had to stop for awhile; I also used to be on Facebook nearly every day, but haven’t been for over a month now. It’s just so overwhelmingly negative these days.

But there is still good in the world! It isn’t a flaming mass of awfulness. There are plenty of good people and good things all around us; all we have to do is look for them. I also like to remember that there is good in all of this bad that we see around us. In the midst of war I see people reaching out to the displaced and hurting, people donating food and clothing to complete strangers who are experiencing economic challenges, resteraunters trying to develop programs to feed the hungry, people trying to encourage unity amongst divided parties, and people searching for the right answers and a better life for others. Haven’t heard of any of this? Well, don’t worry, the good stuff isn’t always reported on- or at least not very much; but it is out there. Try Goggling ‘positive news’ and take a look at some of the many web sites that specialize in reporting good news.

Remembering the good in the world isn’t the only thing to do when bad news is overwhelming. Something that helps is not allowing myself to become some helpless bystander. I try hard to figure out what I can do in response to these sad things going on. I try and make sure that my reaction to things is positive as often as I can manage it. I don’t have to be a prisoner of the negativity; I can counteract it by being positive. Have you ever heard the saying ‘fight fire with fire’? Well, I don’t think that works in this case. Fighting the negativity with more negativity will only make things worse; I think neutralizing the gloom with positivity is the answer. I like to spread the positivity, too. It reminds me that everything doesn’t suck.

Another thing I try and remind myself of is that this is simply part of the cycle. What I mean by that is that things ebb and flow; happy times come and go as do difficult times. If we look back on the past, we find good times and bad times. So since there have been bad times, there will be good times in the future. This era we’re in is simply a more challenging time and it will pass and make way for better days. This really helps me feel more positive about things. Things will get better and there will come a day when the news might not be so bleak.

Volunteers helping those in need, sharing kindness with others, concern, cute cat memes, puppy videos, help, friendship, turning negatives into positives,  resilience, new inventions, humor, fun, comedy, birth, starting new lives, people coming together, healing, happiness, flourishing arts, joy, LOVE. Was that sentence long? Well, it should be, because it’s also a sampling of what’s been going on in the world the last twelve months. It’s not a flaming mass of awfulness after all; it’s a ball off love and wonder.

Is this an issue for you? And if so, how do you handle it?


Photo:Free Images/Myriam Maul