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  • Writer's pictureMolly Schroeder, LMHC

Protect Your Energy

During times of high anxiety and fear it is imperative that we learn to protect our energy from the onslaught of sensational headlines and horrific images that bombard our senses. Many people may find this approach to be an attempt at burying your head in the sand and to that, I say, not at all! What I am suggesting is finding ways to keep our hearts, minds and souls protected from too much negativity.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where tragedies occur regularly. In fact, there are very few stretches of peaceful times in the recorded history of humanity. I’m talking about back in the Roman Empire! Humans have always waged wars, and it seems they probably always will. This is not a statement to make you feel even worse about the state of the world today. It is an attempt to normalize that wars have always and will always occur. It is not a sign that the world is becoming a worse place (despite what the media may have you believe).

I caution everyone to become protective of their energy. Take stock of what you are being exposed to. Choose wisely and be very selective. Think about what is motivating your need for information…Are you filling your mind with scary images because it feels necessary to be up to date with current events? Do you have a research paper due soon or maybe you plan to be a participant on Jeopardy? Ask yourself WHY it is important to have this information. Really think about what you plan to do with it. Question your motives and fully explore what drives you.

For many people, feeling that they cannot contribute to a conversation, or that someone else may judge them as being “uninformed”, or a feeling of importance from sharing information may induce your need to consume excessive amounts of media. There is nothing inherently bad or wrong about this! Just be honest and realistic about what is motivating you. Once you understand your motivation, you have the power to make different choices.

Exposing yourself to media can have a much deeper impact than you realize. Television, radio, social media, newspapers, magazines, everywhere you turn you have the potential to be exposed to something negative, scary or inflammatory. Simply driving in your car can elicit negative responses when you read a bumper sticker in traffic or pass a political sign posted in a yard. There are very few safe places where you are not being bombarded with negativity. Please attempt to find safety from this attack on your senses!

The world is a scary place. You already know this. Absorbing more scary information for the sake of being ‘well informed’ only adds to fear and fear is doubly harsh when we feel isolated and alone. It is basic human nature to want to pull others into fear with us. But we only serve to spread more fear and negativity because it feels too painful or overwhelming to be alone with it – effectively spreading the cloud of doom to everyone in our vicinity. How can you become a ray of light instead?

Again, I am not suggesting a media blackout. I am merely suggesting that you take stock of what is working for you and what is working against you. Since the strikes began in Israel, have you felt a growing sense of anxiety, fear or aggression? Maybe you sense it in yourself, maybe you feel it coming from others, or maybe you just feel off but you don’t really know why. Reflect inward and examine any sensations, emotions or thoughts that arise. Now think about ways to limit what you are ingesting. Maybe try some of these helpful tips:

1. Choose ONE media source for news (TV, internet or newspaper – not ALL sources)

2. Set a time limit (can be done on your phone, turn off TV after the report is complete)

3. Steer clear of social media (this is a wealth of misinformation and sensationalism for the sake of “likes” and views – don’t get sucked in)

4. Change the conversation (when others want to talk about the news, change the topic or explain that you are limiting how much negative information you take in)

5. Set boundaries! (you are in charge of your own mental health)

We cannot avoid the harsh realities of the world we live in, and I do not promote ignorance. Instead, I choose to promote positivity and light. Yes, the tragedies in Israel and the Ukraine are gut-wrenching. No, I do not suggest turning a blind eye. But rather than fueling more harsh negativity in my community, I choose to focus on what allows me to live my life the way I see fit. I choose to recognize the positives, to be grateful for all that I have and for what others provide for me, to see the good in what I have. From this place of hope, gratitude, privilege and positivity, I can SHARE with others who can also benefit from it. This gives me purpose rather than a sense of helplessness, a sense of peace amongst the chaos and fear. It is only after tending to my own needs first that I can then help others, whether in the form of donated money, clothing, time, food or a safe place to rest for a brief moment in peace.

If you would like to make a donation to help those in need in the Ukraine or Israel, these links are suggested:

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