Our mind health Q&A columnist Athena Lazarides is a qualified psychologist and the author of You’ve Got This. She’s on a mission to help you clarify your purpose so you can move onwards and upwards in life. You can see her work here.
This week, she received a question from Mabathu. See what she wanted help with:
I’m starting to feel really frazzled by external world events. I wake up and scroll through my feeds, and just feel so depressed and fearful. The world feels like one giant mess. I feel so helpless, like what can I do? I’m just one person. How can I manage this?
It’s really difficult not to feel saddened by current events, mainly because these events are throwing (most of) us into an automatic fear response. Here are a couple of things that can help move you from fear into compassion and calmness:
1 Begin by recognising and focusing on what you can change. Random acts of kindness are a great example of this at play. What is one action you could do that would make you feel more empowered? Is it visiting a homeless shelter and actively contributing? Is it making a monthly donation to an organisation you feel passionately about? What about something small like spreading love, compassion and hope in a world that seems very dark at times?
2 Recognise that a massive movement is almost always an amalgamation of individuals who decided to do something. So know that you, as just one person, really CAN make a difference.
3 Sometimes we look to things outside of ourselves to validate what we want to feel, and when we hand our power to something outside of ourselves, we actually end up feeling powerless and stuck. You can alter this helplessness by cultivating compassion and connection.
4 Ditch scrolling through your feeds on waking up. Start your day with intent. Calm your mind and your heart so the people you interact with on a daily basis will feel your presence and expand through it. Staying informed is one thing; becoming engulfed by a negative stream of news is another. You always have a choice.