How to cope if the news is making you anxious

May 2020

Jemma Finch or Stories Behind Things, the storytelling platform that celebrates mindful consumption, sets out her top tips for stamping out anxiety towards negative headlines without turning a blind eye.

From our hourly dose of social media, to the daily global news headlines, we are constantly reminded that we’re moving through a global health crisis and edging closer and closer towards the point at which the earth becomes so warm that we lose control of being able to reverse damage. It’s understandable that the volume of bad news, coupled with the magnitude of the issues themselves, can be very overwhelming and there’s no one ‘trick’ solution.

As we all know, it’s hard enough keeping your own responsibilities in line, let alone feeling responsible for the state of the planet and our collective future. I’m here to offer you some peaceful insights into how you can turn this anxiety into a positive desire for inspired action. Because let’s be honest – we all need to take action collectively to implement global change but it’s no use feeling personally responsible.

Here are my seven tips you can implement TODAY to help combat anxiety towards the news without turning a blind eye:


1. Streamline your world. Finding the right communities online can be a total game changer. Your Instagram feed is your world to design, which means you can design and maintain it to be balanced and healthy. Start by deleting and unfollowing any accounts that don’t bring you education, joy or inspiration. Curate the world you want to see every day, fill it with positive people, brands and movements that are doing the right thing.


2. Engage with solutions not statistics. We all need to know the facts. However, these daunting numbers do not influence the average individual to make positive, incremental changes in their everyday life –  they’re just scary! Engaging with online communities and friends that want to make positive change can be a great place to begin. For example, choose the area you feel most passionate about and take small actions with friends. If you feel overwhelmed by our waste problem, try organising a beach or park clean up on the weekend, or attending a clothes switch.


3. Initiate a morning free zone. This has come up a lot in the press and recent studies, and for good reason because it works. Having just one hour when you wake up without going on your phone, allows you time to set yourself up for the day and to decide how you feel, before you start consuming other people’s content, views and emotions. This is a really important one for me, try it and see!


4. Understand that it’s not ‘all or nothing’. You don’t have to take on the whole issue of solving climate change on behalf of everyone on the planet (even though it may seem like it). Remember you are one person and you can make positive change with the way you live your life, just in your lifetime, through small adjustments in your daily life. Choose an issue that matters most to you, whether its female empowerment, plastic pollution, animal welfare, workers’ rights, etc. and focus your efforts on making choices that impact that area.


5. Try and practice blind optimism. No matter what bad news is being reported in the media, always believe that there is a way to fix it. Try to visualise a healthier planet, and always go back to that image when you’re feeling overwhelmed.


6. Re-frame your influence. Whether you engage with Instagram or not, use your voice/channel/following to challenge and educate friends on what’s currently going on in our climate landscape. Influence doesn’t have to take place just online, try having conversations about issues that are important to you, not only will you learn something but you will get people thinking!


7. Know that everything is interconnected. For me, importance lies in re-connecting to the material things we have around us and developing an understanding on where and how things are made. This act in itself allows us to understand the importance of how everything is interconnected. Once we have a grasp on the world’s interconnectedness – and only then – can we understand how individual meaningful change can create a whole force for good. This is what Stories Behind Things is all about and you can find more information our platform here.