When the Bad News Feels Too Much

Following the news of the recent tragic events in Paris and elsewhere, I took a long break away form social media and the internet in general. (After I made sure everyone I know is OK.) Coming back to social media the next day, I saw a lot of frustration and grief. Some of it expressed as anger. Some of it expressed as guilt shaming (“how can you eat/selfie/laugh/play at a time like this”), some as “the terrorists have/not won” debates, and some arguments about which tragedies matter more. It’s frustrating. And a lot of it, frankly, is just noise.

A lot of us are grieving over the terrible events happening around the world. But seeing the outpourings of grief, argument, and blame in the places where we gather with friends for comfort can be stressful. So I’d like to offer some thoughts to those who may as frustrated as I am. I hope they help. 

  • First, keep in mind that on social media, everything is at the same volume. Every whisper is a shout, even from voices that don’t deserve your attention. And when we’re emotionally affected, those voices get harder to filter out. Take a break now and then. Recalibrate your sensors.
  • Also, bad news can trigger grieving even in people not directly affected. That’s normal. We all see ourselves differently, and some us might take the news of bad events harder than others might. Be kind and supportive to those who are grieving. Understand that we all cope differently. Being a friend means being OK with not understanding, but being supportive anyway.
  • Finally, remember that love breeds hope, and hope is a most powerful force for healing mental wounds. Spread love to those around you. Foster hope, not hate. Be a force for good. You might be surprised by how such a small thing can have such a large impact.

But above all else: Be caring and kind to one another. We are all we have. And it’s dangerous to go alone.

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