How to deal with constant bad news

02/10/20 – BOSTON, MA. – Kristen Lee, associate professor, poses for a portrait on October 2, 2020. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

By Eva Botkin-Kowacki

Northeast News

Needless to say, reader, the past two years have been trying, to say the least.

And it’s not just feel as if two years had passed. Friday, March 11 marked the birthday of the date on which the World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. We have officially lived two years of pandemic life. And, even though the United States has begun to put the pandemic in the country’s rearview mirror, tragedy continues to unfold.

“It’s just one thing after another. We faced challenges that most of us haven’t necessarily seen before. It’s a lot to process, understand and adapt,” says Kristen Leebehavioral science professor at Northeastern and author of It’s Worth the Risk: How to Microdose Bravery to Build Resilience, Connect More, and Offer Yourself to the World. “Now with the [Russian] invasion [of Ukraine] and war is like an unbearable burden.

It’s at times like these that tips on how to deal with a constant onslaught of heavy news start circulating. But they’re not magic, says Lee, who studies resilience. For those watching from afar, violence and death fill the news, headlines and social media. Experts wonder if there could be a world war three brewing. Deep uncertainty continues to dominate.

“Healing is within our reach. We can heal through atrocity,” she says. “But it’s not a three-step pop psychology solution.”

Here are some things Lee says to think about when he feels overwhelmed by the enormity of the world’s problems:

What you are going through is not completely New. Corn …

“People have suffered throughout human history,” Lee says. “What makes it unique is that we have access to unprecedented information. We can be on the lookout all the time. So this repeated cycle of social media news can really amplify our fears and anxieties to a whole new level than what past generations, who didn’t have these technological tools, had to experience. It’s a lot for the human spirit.

But, she adds, “We have a lot to tap into these days. We have a lot of resources and knowledge to tap into.

Tune in… to yourself.

“Sometimes I think people are like, ‘I need to watch [the news]”, Lee said. And “being informed is not necessarily problematic. We can save room for difficult news and difficult circumstances.

However, a reprieve from the deluge of news can give you time to assess what you need and focus on what’s in your “place of control,” she says.

“There are things we can do to maneuver thoughtfully every day, to leverage our own strengths, our own values, and the resources we have,” Lee says. “What’s important is that we find out what helps feed us every day. The micro-strategies, if you will, the pause rituals, the little things we can do that have a cumulative positive effect.

“That doesn’t mean we’re cavalier or we’re not socially conscious and don’t care and turn a blind eye. But if we do those things, we’re more likely to support each other so we can be conscious global citizens, so that we can intentionally and thoughtfully present ourselves with an active contribution in the world.

Resilience may not mean what you think.

“One of the big myths about resilience is that it’s a trait-based thing. Whether you’re born with it or not. It’s that gritty mindset, ‘suck it in, don’t let anyone see you sweat it. ‘, says Lee. It’s not true, she says, every human being is resilient.

“Resilience is a process that we are all capable of engaging in and we can cultivate it in our lives. It’s a process of enduring adversity and being able to sustain, being able to renegotiate those initial provocative states,” Lee says. “As a species, we are hardwired to adapt, and because we are metacognitive, we can reflect on how we think, we can reflect, we can identify the tools, strategies and levers that help us keep going. .

“We tap into protective factors like our sense of agency, our sense of togetherness and community, our problem-solving skills, our analytical skills,” to go on, she says.

(Reproduced with permission from the News at Northeastern.)