For the past couple of nights, I’ve found myself doom scrolling through social media reading of all the death, war, and pain that plagues our world. Whether it was the murder of Jordan Neely on the subway here in New York City or the latest mass shooting at a mall in Texas, the world feels heavy. All of this is in addition to everyday grief such as the loss of a loved one or illness. It feels as though there is no peace or joy in the world. As someone who is an empath, and feels the pain of others, I can often feel the heaviness of those around me. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way and understand how difficult it can be to have to continue surviving when some mornings it’s too painful to get out of bed. Please know that I see you and understand what you are going through. You are not alone, even though it can feel that way. This post is to help anyone who might be feeling the heaviness of this world with a few tips on how to cope.
- Your feelings are your feelings, and they are valid: With the amount of mass shootings that happen in America and the lockdown from the pandemic, I realized that I was beginning to display signs of being too scared to go outside. My apartment is a safe space for me, and I have a sense of control over who is allowed into my space. Outside I do not. I feel the threat that at any moment someone could start shooting or lose their temper. And while this has always been true, we’re more aware of it because of the 24/7 news cycle. I must remind myself that these fears are just my mind’s way of protecting me the best way it knows how. But it’s up to me to not let my fear control me.
- Step Away from the Internet: I know that in this day and age, it almost feels impossible to stop being connected, but nothing good will happen if you continue to scroll aimlessly falling deeper and deeper into a rabbit hole of bad news. Try and give yourself a time limit to scroll for maybe 15 minutes and once the time is up, step away and do something else.
- Find ways to release: One of the ways in which I work through any emotional discomfort is through writing. It often starts with journaling which I do either at night before bed or sometimes I wake up early and journal to start to my day. I also write either for my blog or through stories or poetry. Writing helps me to put the disorganized thoughts and emotions that I am feeling onto paper or screen so that I can make sense of what I am feeling. It’s not perfect and often it can be very raw, but it is necessary for me to survive in this world. For some people it might be music, or cooking, or exercise. Find a way to release the emotions from your body in a positive, healthy way.
- Focus on something beautiful: This will be different for everyone, but for me going outside for a walk and seeing nature in all its forms helps to remind me that there is beauty in the world. That there is happiness and joy, if only we remember to look for it. It’s a few minutes out the day where I am not responsible for anything, or for anyone. I don’t have to focus on any thoughts, I just let my mind wander as my feet move.
- Get help if you need it: If you feel that your anxiety and fear is becoming too great for you to overcome, don’t be ashamed in admitting that you need help. I am a big proponent of therapy as I have shared on my blog, and they are people here to help you work through your discomfort and your fears, without judgment.
I wish I could say that we lived in a world where we had more regard for human life, but we don’t. My heart is still heavy as I write this, and I imagine that I will feel this heaviness over the next week or so. But I do have the necessary tools to work through this heaviness and through my grief. I hope that you can find ways that you can bring joy into your life. We all need it!