During these times of instability and unc+ertainty both in our country and throughout the world, it is easy to become concerned about our future. In fact, if you are a Pollyanna who is not concerned about the future, then your head is probably in the sand dunes of Egypt and you are not being realistic in your thinking.
But these are unstable times. There is constantly a threat to our way of life and the peace to which we have become accustomed. Whether it be man-made or by nature, ranging from the international conflicts (pick any two countries- Russia and Ukraine, China and Taiwan, North Korea and South Korea, Israel and Palestine… etc.) and the tensions within our own nation, to the increase of solar flares and abundance of hurricanes/floods/tornadoes/droughts, there are more than enough situations to cause worry.
Watching/reading/ listening to the news can keep us informed, but it can also cause us to be overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. Hearing about the skyrocketing rates of murders and other felonious crimes, as well as the pending economic collapse and the disappearance of our pensions and double-digit inflation hitting almost every area of our lives, can fill us with a deep sense of dread.
To combat this sense of dread, some would just advise us to stop listening to the news altogether. Some would counsel us to disregard the news because there is nothing we can do about it anyway. And although they are generally correct in regards to world and state news, we can often have a positive effect on our local situations- the ones we find out about on the local news.
Others would try to convince us that the situation is not as bad as we believe it to be. I always wonder what news these people are listening to, because it IS bad and it seems to only be getting worse by the day.
What are we to do? It is my opinion that a good citizen should be aware of the circumstances affecting our lives, so turning off the news completely is not good guidance IMHO.
We need to find a compromise- something between worrying after watching the news on one end and being ignorant and oblivious from not being informed on the other end. I have listed some recommendations below that will help you to be informed without becoming overwhelmed.
- Be cautious where you get your news. Some sources cannot be trusted to bring you the truth as they are heavily influenced by the powers that be, and others still will give you a “worst-case scenario” and present it as factual and realistic. Most news channels don’t truly present the news; they present their biased opinion of the news. Something that I will do is to listen to several sources- both liberal and conservative- and then determine what is really plausible.Also, be aware that some on YouTube will present headlines from articles that are not news. These articles are nothing more than their opinions on true situations. Also when someone quotes a source, take the time to verify it. I once heard a statistic regarding recent vaccinations in Israel (one of the most jabbed nations in the world) and their extremely high rate of infections post-jab. This statistic was supposedly from The Jerusalem Post. I did my research and found the article was indeed from that reliable source, so I was comfortable sharing this news– knowing that it really was documented as being true. I ended up sharing this statistic with a family member who was very pro-jab. She said that she had never heard of the statistic and even questioned my source. My, was she surprised when I said that I had read it in The Jerusalem Post!
Some of the ones I prefer are listed below (In no specific order):
Perhaps in the readers’ snippets on Wednesday, you can share some of your favorite news sources.
So choose your news sources wisely.
- Know when “enough is enough”. I remember when the 9/11 terror attacks were happening in real time. I was homeschooling my children at the time, the oldest being 14 and the youngest 9 We did not have the television on but turned it on when a friend called to tell me of the ongoing terrorist attacks. Like most people watching it unfold on television, we were mesmerized and kept watching. After a few hours of news, the 12-year-old told me that he thought we should hide his 14-year-old brother in a cave so people wouldn’t come and take him away to fight in the war on terrorism. That was a wake-up moment for me to limit the coverage of the events that my children were watching and/or exposed to. And even now, I find myself becoming a bit edgy and apprehensive from taking in too much news. So know your limit. If the top news stories are all you can handle, that is fine. Everyone is different; know YOUR OWN limit.
- Every day, early in the day, make a list of five blessings. You should actually write out the list. I suggest going to the dollar store and picking up a small notebook to record these entries. Your inventory could include your family or your pets, or the fact that you have a roof over your head, or food on the table. Your blessings can be as diverse and assorted as your imagination will allow.
- Make a listing (maybe in the same notebook as your blessings) of simple, small activities that you can do that bring you joy. This is an excellent way to fight off the urge to be burdened down with the situation du jour. An example might be working on a crossword puzzle, or calling up a friend and sharing a joke and a laugh. Or cleaning out the junk drawer (we all have one!)
- Accomplish a task that makes you more prepared. Notice that I didn’t say, “Go out and buy something in the preparedness category”! Becoming more prepared for disasters might mean taking an inventory of your pantry. Or maybe learning a new skill. Or reorganizing the closets. Or reading about and practicing a new skill. This could be most anything, such as: canning, food dehydrating, water storage, clothes-mending, gardening, fruit tree pruning, or livestock husbandry.
- Spend time with family and friends who build you up instead of those who drain you of energy and zest for life. We all know and have those people in our lives that, if they could, would drag us into the cellar of despair. (Misery loves company, or so the saying goes.) But if given the choice, we should try to spend as little time as possible with these people- especially if we are struggling with worry due to the news and the situations at hand.
- Fill your brain with encouraging words. Consider GIGO. Do you remember this acronym, from back when computers first proliferated, in the1960s? GIGO stands for Garbage in, garbage out. If all we take in is stressful, anxious news (and that is basically all that is out there) then that is what will come out of our mouths. And what comes out of our mouths is what is in our hearts and minds. You can easily determine what people are filling their brains with by just listening to their conversation.
As a follower of Jesus, I memorize verses from the Holy Bible. There are some specific scriptures that can turn your anxious heart and thoughts around and help you readjust your attitude. Here are some of my favorites:
- Joshua 1:9- Have I not commanded you to be strong and courageous? Do not be terrified and do not be afraid for the Lord your God with go with you wherever you may go.
- Isaiah 35:4 – Be strong and do not fear for your God will come and save you.
- Isaiah 40:31- they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary and they shall walk and not faint
- Psalms 55:22- Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken or their seed begging for bread.
- Philippians 4:6,7 – Do not be anxious for anything, but in every situation, with prayer and asking, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
- Realize that NO ONE knows the future. NO ONE. A lot of people can guess and make educated speculations. They can look into every crystal ball. They can read all the signs of the times. They can presume and deduct and surmise after inputting all the factors, but the bottom line is still this: NO ONE knows the future. At times I find myself scouring through YouTube videos and other news sites for that one article which will give me a truthful glimpse into tomorrow. I am only wasting my time, because (say it with me) NO ONE knows the future! Too many people besides myself fall into this trap. Don’t allow the possible burdens of tomorrow ruin the joy of today. Plan and prepare for tomorrow, but enjoy today!
- Pick your news sources wisely
- Know when enough is enough
- Count your blessings daily
- Do simple, enjoyable things
- Prepare a bit more daily
- Spend time with uplifting people
- Think about something more encouraging
- Enjoy today and plan for tomorrow
Hopefully, these suggestions will help you control your anxious thoughts concerning these uncertain and tumultuous times we live in.