Sunflower Thoughts

Kind, supportive and forward-thinking

Practicing self-kindness (in an unkind world)

Hands holding a cup of coffee next to a phone screen with a pink smiley face emoticon
TW: This post mentions terrorism and content that may be upsetting to some.

I don't believe it will come as a shock to anyone when I say that 2019 is not a nice time to live in. It's easy to argue that the world hasn't changed since the 70s, 80s and 90s, when there was also bomb threats and terror attacks, but with 24/7 communication via social media, the world has definitely become smaller. 
Now, mass disasters are trending on Twitter and Facebook hours before they hit mainstream news, with smartphones capturing each and every gory detail via video evidence, which is uploaded in seconds for millions to see. It's often the cause of extreme anxiety, and leaves people feeling unsafe in their daily lives, sometimes not wanting to leave the house through fear of the same happening to them.

One major example is the Manchester arena bombing during the Ariana Grande concert. I remember waking up that morning, checking Twitter as I always do, and being immediately faced with hundreds of tweets of mass panic. I don't really want to get any deeper in describing the content of the tweets as I'm sure we can all remember it well, but it hit me hard that morning, and I gained special permission at work to keep checking my phone throughout the day, as a lot of my fellow bloggers and friends had been at that concert and I was absolutely worried sick.

Following the attack, I stayed off social media for a few days. It was the best decision I could have made for my own health, as the constant obsessive checking for updates was stopping me from sleeping at night, long after I'd been assured that all my friends were safe and sound. I couldn't stop seeing the faces of the victims in my head when I closed my eyes, and I wished I'd never seen them to begin with. I was supposed to be going to Meadowhall shopping centre the same night, but I was absolutely convinced that it was going to be attacked, and that I wouldn't be safe unless I stayed at home.

As a consequence of this, I began putting the following points into action to protect myself from further traumas, which are unfortunately always happening in the world we live in. Here's my advice on practicing self-kindness, whilst in the midst of an unkind world.

1. It's okay to not want to talk about it

When something bad happens on a mass scale, it's all people want to talk about. Their first words to you that day are usually "have you heard about..." or "have you seen..." and in this instance it is perfectly normal to not want to talk about it. People need time to process these things in their own way, and immediately following the event when all the facts are up in the air is never the best time for a sympathetic discussion.

2. Consider muting trigger words on Twitter

Everyone I spoke to in preparation for this post told me the exact same thing - the first place they read about this type of news is always Twitter. Unfortunately, Twitter has the absolutely huge disadvantage that tweets are only able to contain 280 characters, meaning a lot of the facts and information are eradicated, leading to confusion and anxiety about what exactly has happened.

Instead, use Twitter's mute function to ban words that you find upsetting from appearing on your timeline. Untick the video autoplay setting to prevent yourself from accidentally watching anything you'd rather have not seen, and only read about events once all the facts have been published on a reputable news site, such as BBC News.

3. Check in with friends and family

During times of mass panic, we often tend to sensationalise the facts in our heads, imagining our friends and family members in place of the victims, irrelevant to whether or not they were in the area of the attack, or even the same country. When you're feeling like this, send them a quick text asking how they are, even if it's just to reassure yourself that everything is ok. Give your grandparents a call, just to chat. They'll appreciate it more than you expect, and you'll feel much better afterwards for hearing a friendly voice.

4. Take care of yourself and your needs first

Sometimes, ignorance really is bliss. If you find that current events are preventing you from living your life (such as being afraid to leave the house) consider taking a break from social media and speaking to a trusted friend or family member about the way you are feeling. Make sure you are eating well and practicing other methods of self-care.

We aren't able to stop terrible things from happening, but we can control our exposure to them. If you're struggling with the idea of ignoring the news, think about it this way - Would you tell a small child about a terrorist attack if it didn't immediately impact them or somebody they know? The answer would usually be no, as it would frighten and upset them, and there is no reason for them to know about it.

Think about yourself and your needs in the same way - if something would seriously affect your mental health and well-being, it may be best to prevent it from reaching you altogether.

2 comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this blog post, I really enjoyed reading it with my morning cup of tea. I can totally relate and agree to everything that you have said. I am totally all about being kind, positive and happy all of the time and making the best of every situation. Really loved this blog post. 💜

    With love, Alisha Valerie x | www.alishavalerie.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very powerful words from a wise lady! Thank you for this read 💕💕

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