It seems like not a day goes by without the news reporting another mass shooting, a bloody terrorist attack, war atrocities, a nuclear war threat or some other imminent disaster that could end the lives of every man, woman, and child on the planet.
I can usually isolate these terrifying events into a “not here, not now” category, but then the news blares out tragedies closer to home such as racial clashes, political riots, sexual attacks, and drug-related crimes. All this bad news on top of my personal problems makes me feel like I'm losing my mind.
And if that wasn't enough, the news reporters have the attitude that all this is the new normal and you might as well get used to it.
Well, I have had it!
I wrote this article to understand how and why the world news is hurting me and to find positive responses to the terrifying news.
#1 When will the psychological warfare end?
Never! Many people profit when the news drives people crazy. When news broadcasters trap people's attention, they get more money from advertisers. Advertiser benefit if you buy their products when disturbed by the news. There are entire industries that benefit from customer's fears.
Psychological warfare is not new. In fact, it one of the oldest and most powerful weapons. Even animals do it. They growl, grimace, and lunge to scare their opponent. Fear is the most powerful emotion for controlling what people do.
Psychological warfare has evolved into a fine art, maliciously manipulating people in new and subtle ways. And the powerful modern communication industry continuously blasts you with their message, making the news harassment many times worse than it has ever been in history.
How do you handle this?
You must change. The world is not going to change as long as psychological warfare is profitable.
The following will help you deal with the news.
#2 How much news do you need?
World events can affect you, but normally, global conditions change slowly.
Slower than a snail.
Don't worry about the wild gyrations of daily events. An occasional check of the news is usually enough to keep up-to-date.
You do not have to know all the gory details about every disaster on the planet. Consciously evaluate and select only the stories that directly affect you and ignore the rest. Minimize distractions from your high priority goals, such as improving yourself.
Don't watch videos of disasters as they unfold. If the disaster is not in your neighborhood, you will not benefit from a blow-by-blow, high resolution, in your face, gory video of a tragedy.
In most broadcasts of occurring disasters, the announcer or witnesses are constantly saying that they can't see the details of what is happening, but you should stay tuned for the latest information.
Usually, nobody knows what is happening until at least 3-5 days after the event. If you feel you have to know the details about a disaster, wait a week and then read an accurate text description on the Internet.
Don't worry about missing the video, replays of the video will occur for months. Or, if you have to, I'm sure you can find the video on the Internet.
#3 How to chase the stress away
Let's be realistic, bad things are happening all around us, and they are stressful. We have to know how to handle the stress so we can give our best response.
When you are afraid, your body produces the hormone Adrenaline to prepare you for the fight-or-flight response. Adrenaline will increase your heart rate, muscle strength, blood pressure, and sugar metabolism. Boosting the body up to peak power is all fine and dandy if you are facing an immediate danger. But if you do not fight or flee, then that Adrenaline lingers in your body, creating mental and physical stress. And if you are under stress for days or even months, your health and mind will suffer.
If your body has produced Adrenaline that you don't need, you can burn it off with physical exercise at your the earliest convenience. I knew a karate instructor who would drop and do twenty push-ups when he had to switch quickly from a stressful fighting demonstration to a friendly and caring instructor. If push-ups are not appropriate, vigorous walking or stair climbing are good alternatives.
When you are under stress for long periods, regular and strenuous exercise keeps Adrenaline and other hormones under control. Exercise will also help with the next most important activity which is getting enough sleep. You will also need the support of a good diet. Eat fresh and natural foods, foods high in antioxidants, food with good fats, and avoid foods with toxins.
Muscles can become tight, resulting in muscle strain and joint damage. A good stretching routine helps relax muscles. An occasional body massage will do wonders for relieving physical and mental stress.
Sometimes all these solutions are not enough and you to go for the mind reset described next.
#4 A mind reset can save your life
When I am overwhelmed by the crazy news and stressful situations, powerful negative emotions and worry lock up my mind.
When I suffer from mental paralysis, I am non-productive, accident-prone and damaging my health. If I notice I am in this mental state, I immediately start planning for a mind power down and reset.
Many activities can reset the mind. For minor mental stress, taking a break or going for a walk outdoors may be enough. For serious lock-ups, shift the mind and body with an all-consuming activity. Martial arts, sports, and all physical, competitive games are good candidates.
Any activity that breaks the grip of the negative emotions and worries on your mind would be a good mind reset.
I also recommend meditation because it works on the source of the problem, ignorance of how to use your mind.
More about this in the next topic.
#5 Understand how your mind works and doesn't work
Your mind is your front line defense against psychological warfare. Unfortunately, your mind is also your worst weakness. The easiest way to manipulate you is by hacking your mind.
If you do not know how to resist mind hacks, you will lose your mind, and then, everything you cherish.
Meditation is an excellent tool for learning about and improving how your mind works.
There are plenty of books you can read to help you learn more about meditation. The books range from beginning level to expert level. Books are low cost, low commitment, and low risk.
I recommend meditation because it is simple and you can do it almost anytime, anywhere and at no cost. I wrote an article, “10 Bad and Good Meditation Secrets You Need to Know” to help you with meditation.
Meditation will give you new mental skills to protect you from psychological warfare and the mental freedom to take advantage of the next powerful activity.
#6 You need more choices
Have you ever seen a smart person do something really stupid and wonder why?
Well, when people believe all their good choices are blocked, they feel forced to make dumb choices.
But why would a smart person think they only have dumb choices? The negative news and bullies convince people their future is bad and they can't change it. So people think, “Why work hard and make sacrifices for nothing?”
Bullies send a message similar to, “Everybody hates you, nobody wants to help you, everyone wants you to fail, and you will be a failure.”
To handle this mind hack, first, you must understand the attack. Bullies convince you that all the good choices you thought you had are now blocked. Then the bully insists you have only one choice, the choice the bully wants you to make.
And the choice the bully wants you to make is good for the bully and bad for you.
But the truth is, there is no limit to the number of good choices you can make. You just have to learn how to think outside of the box the bully creates in your mind.
It may take a little research to find your good choices, but the possibilities are infinite.
An even greater opportunity is to create new choices that did not exist before. Examples are a new occupation, a new business or new social relationships.
One of the most powerful choices available to you is described next.
#7 Find a purpose that empowers you
The world is always changing. New and more menacing threats may shatter your plans and dreams. Your purpose that previously strongly motivated you is now a loss and is depressing you.
But these setbacks happen to everyone. It is a part of life.
First, recognize that a lost dream is depressing you. If it is irreversible, accept it and move on. Find a new purpose and path that will revive your motivation to do your best.
My idol for overcoming enormous personal problems and achieving success beyond what normal people achieve is Jon Morrow. You can read his story by clicking the title, “7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can't Move Anything but His Face”.
#8 What does love have to do with it?
We often have to face dark and disturbing experiences in the news and our lives. These experiences create negative emotions and attitudes which could drive a person to the dark side, becoming self-destructive and destructive of others.
The only way for me to quench the hate, anger and other emotions that I sometimes feel is to turn to the healing power of love.
First, I recall the times that people helped me and how they made such an important positive change in my life. Then I commit myself to helping others.
With love, you will be able to give and receive help.
The positive emotions of love will balance the unavoidable negative emotions from this troubled world. In that balanced conflict of positive and negative is enormous energy. Use that energy to build a better life for yourself and others.
Love will also help you find the most powerful force on Earth, which I describe next.
#9 Don't struggle, get help
There are many destructive trends in the world, and the challenges you face may be overwhelming. Instead of struggling, get help.
You can get help from experts. Finding help requires research to figure out who has the most useful information. Expert information may be free if from the library or the Internet. Sometimes the cost may be the price of a book or an online course. If you choose your sources well, the experience of an expert could save you a lifetime of work.
You can also get help from groups. A well-organized group is significantly more powerful than any individual. However, most groups are poorly organized and more trouble than help. Again, you have to research to find good help.
Some Internet groups can provide a low cost, low risk, efficient, focused effort on a specific goal. If you can find a group that aligns with your needs, it would be an enormous benefit.
Changing Who You Are
The news will continue to be terrifying. But you can do something about it.
You do not have to be a victim of the news.
You can change who you are and how you respond to the news.
By applying the knowledge and activities presented in this article, negative thoughts will not cripple you, and you can correct your destructive behaviors.
You can learn new attention skills, mental skills, and social skills.
You can make changes to your life. Steer your mind away from negative and destructive attitudes. Become more productive, more positive, less stressful, and happier.
You can change yourself and change your life.