We are now, more than any other time in history, connected. All the time and everywhere: we are connected to a worldwide network that narrows and expands. Through our phones, our televisions, our computers… in our cars, in our homes, in the office, in the park, in the restaurant, we have become reachable. It is now harder than ever before to just ‘disconnect’.
I will not go into the obvious benefits of these connections, but I want to talk about one disadvantage: Anxiety.
Anxiety that comes mainly from too much information about too many details about too many violent events all over the world, and especially this region which is as the saying goes: على كف عفريت , loosely translated “in the devil’s palm”.
So the information stream keeps coming and anxiety keeps growing, how to cope? Disconnect? Easier said than done… I’m not saying that we should become apathetic (may be I am, I’m not sure), but all this bad news can really wear on one’s thinking. It creates a negative atmosphere where logic and creativity can’t thrive, and where no real reflection can take place.
I remember a time when the internet was fun, when TV was entertaining, and when people didn’t freak out if they couldn’t reach you by phone for a few hours…
Here are some coping strategies that have helped me in the past that I thought I’d share:
Get your news only once a day, preferably in the late afternoon and for only half an hour. Find a place that summarizes stuff for you.
Watch only silly comedies and cartoons on television, skip over any station that has that annoying news reel on the bottom.
Follow up on the stupid gossip about celebrities, instead of browsing news on the web, browse the worst and best dressed photo galleries.
Turn off the computer and the TV and read an actual book.
Remove all apps and services that stream breaking news to your phone.
Bake a cake or cookies, I have found that baking is great therapy for anxiety, it’s when I do my best thinking.
Go out more, with people who are not into current events, like artists, athletes, etc… they are mostly into what they are doing, and are not prone to engage in too much political talk.
Spend time nurturing a hobby.
There are other coping strategies of course, like drinking, drugs, pornography, etc.. but those can come back and bite you in the ass and create additional anxiety later.
And I must admit, that none of the strategies listed above work for me anymore, so I am seeking new ones and welcome any suggestions.