When times were tough my stress was unbearable. I was so pressured by demands on my time and finances, not to mention worrying about my wife, that I found myself unable to even listen to music while driving. I tried different kinds of music, including soothing classical music, but it all made me very anxious.
In the morning I was usually awake long before my wife, and had a habit of going into the kitchen for my morning ritual of orange juice and pistachios. I would absent mindedly turn on the TV to catch the latest news and weather while I “dined,” and suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks.
The news was making me more nervous and stressed than I already was.
Think about it – the news is filled with murders, rapes, robberies, beatings, gangs, corrupt politicians, traffic accidents, wars… the list is endless, and most of it is negative and very depressing and stressful. There is a saying in the news business, “If it bleeds it leads,” meaning if a story has to do with anything that caused someone to bleed (such as a murder or terrible accident), it will be the lead story. That’s just great – they’re going to start off with something that I don’t want to hear.
Then I had another startling revelation: I had no reason to listen to it. There is absolutely nothing I can do about any of the mayhem; I have to spend my time and energy taking care of my own little world and I just can’t be worrying about the rest.
If you are stressed, here’s my advice: don’t watch the news. You’ll start feeling the difference immediately.
This article is one in a series on coping strategies for patients and caregivers alike. For more thoughts on caregiving, coping strategies, and just plain fun subscribe to my free monthly newsletter at www.CaringAndCoping.com Need a speaker for an upcoming event? I have a program that will knock your socks off! www.ThePPP.org/speaking#handle