Rates for anxiety have skyrocketed since 2020. According to the World Health Organization, 25% of the World is experiencing anxiety, compared to former rates of about 12-18% in the US.
Anxiety rates have risen even more since the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel and subsequent emerging war in the Middle East. Horrific world events like this not only increase our sense of unease but also make us feel powerless. To some extent, it is normal to have an emotional response to tragedies. However, if you feel that your anxiety is preventing you from functioning, then it may be time to do something. Below are 5 tips for coping with anxiety around world events.
1. Limit News
We feel that having more information gives us more control. However, it actually does not for events beyond our control. Staying informed is important; just set some parameters around it. For example, you can set specific times to check the news and then limit the amount of time on the news source.
2. Set Strong Boundaries
If you have contacts obsessing over the situation, you can offer them support while limiting the amount of time you spend with them. Be honest and gentle about it. For example: “I’m upset about this situation, too. For my own mental health I can no longer talk about it right now.” You may also need to limit contact with people who trigger you. Exchanging ideas and viewpoints is wonderful. However, there is a time and a place for that. If you are in a heightened state then it is not the right time. Furthermore, some of theses issue carry a real moral weight. If someone supports views that violate the rights of others, then it may be best to not engage.
3. Find Your Tribe
Now is the time to seek and spend time with those who support you. This does not necessarily mean they share the same experiences or views. It just means they “see” what you are going through. In other worlds, they can understand your anxiety even if they don’t necessarily feel anxious.
Stress and trauma assault our physical and mental health. Your body, mind, and heart need rest ot restore. This means you may ahve to say no to some things or spend more time on your own.
5. Focus on what matters most
Think what is most important to you and attend to that. Maybe it is caring for you children or doing volunteer work. Double down on what holds meaning for you. This will give a sense of control and purpose.
The world is full of uncertainty. It seems like we can not go one month without some major event. Whether it is a weather event like hurricanes or government unrest or war, we are constantly in crisis. It is natural to have more anxiety as a response. However, you don’t have to be crippled by it. By setting storung limits on news and unhealthy interactions as well as seeking rest and support, you can cope with anxiety.
If you have tried these tips or others and are still suffering, consider professional help. At Nurtured Well, LLC we offer therapy and medication for anxiety. Let us care for you.
About the Author: Sharon P. Fisher, ANP-BC, PMHNP-BC, PMH-C is a medical and psychiatric NP and founder of Nurtured Well, LLC serving all of Maryland and Washington D.C. in person and on-line.