There are many positives to living in an increasingly globalised and connected world. Endless information is at our fingertips. We have the ability to immediately see and talk to loved ones on the other side of the world. We can enjoy food from all over the world without needing to travel. And we are informed about news and events worldwide, in real-time. In the case of the latest Covid-19 virus, this information has allowed us to be better prepared and take measures to prevent a worse outcome.

This capacity to be so well informed about the going on in the world has its downsides, though. People report growing anxiety about the state of the world, despite the fact the in most measures, we’re doing better than ever. Life expectancy has improved globally. Child mortality rates have gone down, as well as maternal mortality.

Yet we’re constantly bombarded with news of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and now global pandemics. We are aware of every earthquake, every school shooting, and every election that occurs anywhere in the world.

While it is important to be informed about the state of the world, constantly being worried about things that are going on can make us panicked, anxious, and depressed - especially when we are unable to affect any of the events that are going on.

Global media streams can often impact caring people with a sense of impotency and thus thwart the possibilities of making a positive contribution. We feel a duty to read and educate ourselves, as well as share important news with others. As we scroll through our social media feeds, it’s not uncommon to see stories of animal abuse, teenagers who commit suicide due to high school bullying, and young children sick with cancer, being followed by pictures of our friends at the beach.

The constant bombarding of negative stories can make us feel overwhelmed and paralysed by the volume and magnitude of issues. Even apparently "good" news such as Instagram type gossip, trivia and lifestyle sharing can bring on FOMO, envy and insecurities.

The truth is that when we’re in an overwhelmed state, we’re not of as much use to others as we would be if we were calm. When we’re overwhelmed, we go into one of the “four Fs” of dealing with stress - fight, flight, freeze or fawn. Many people turn to a state of freeze as we scroll through horrifying stories and repeat to ourselves, “I should do something.” Yet telling ourselves we “should” do something usually has the paradoxical result of making us less likely to do it as we are too exhausted by the feeling of guilt and shame.

In some cases, we are able to make a financial donation that temporarily satiates our guilt. However, this isn’t a long-term solution, especially since new problems are quick to demand our attention.

So, what is the solution?

The first step is to realise that it’s not our responsibility to save the world. In fact, the only person we can save is ourselves. Limiting the amount of time we’re exposed to negative news can help minimise our anxiety and prevent us from taking on the burdens of the world.

You might have heard the saying “hurt people hurt people”. The continuation of this is that “healed people heal people”. When our focus is on self-care, when we ensure that our cup is filled before we try to pour, when we make sure we are not acting from a place of ego when we get involved with other people, only then can we get to a place where we are truly able to help others.

When we act from a place of wholeness and love and not guilt, we are able to objectively look at what it is we can give, from a place of recognizing the gifts we have that we can share, instead of a place of guilt and panic. We can then find ways to contribute that will actually lift us up. Whether it’s volunteering through a mentoring program or using web design skills to help a charity level up their website, the solution will become clearer once we work with the heart instead of the ego.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Hamilton is on a mission to empower people with the skills they need to quit their job and live their best life. He strongly recommends this training class which shows you how to turn your love of personal development into an exciting new direction. If you are currently feeling a bit lost, and would love a new path in your career, you might want to consider the exciting world of coaching here.