Violence In Our World: How To Safeguard Your Mental Health
It seems as though our world is getting more and more violent. Perhaps due to the recent tragedy in the Colorado movie theatre, or maybe it’s because our local newspaper keeps reporting on our new “stand your ground law”…at any rate, how do we process all of this violence?
It’s really easy to lose track of the good things in life when we are faced with a shocking violent tragedy. When presented with disturbing images day after day via the newspaper and television news, it’s hard to remember a time before. But there was one, and it’s still there if we look for it.
The speed at which information travels and the efficiency of how it is distributed is one of the marvels of living in current times. Technology has done much to make the lives of men and women easier, but it is not without risks. One of these risks is the constant and instantaneous exposure to the dark side of human nature. It has always existed, however the difference in today’s society is that the world is informed with the blink of an eye.
Therefore, one of my recommendations is to limit your exposure to the news. Limit yourself to reading one newspaper a day, or listening to brief bursts of news on TV, or reading a few chosen blogs per day. Don’t be a news junkie. People who have never experienced a violent event can show symptoms of PTSD via secondhand exposure courtesy of the media. Protect your eyes and your ears and you can help to protect your mental health.
Secondly, keep things in perspective. Remember that the movie shooting, although horrific, is just the latest thing that happened. It does not define society any more than the latest charity fundraiser does. Remember that there is also good in the world. We don’t hear about it nearly as much because it just doesn’t garner ratings quite like violence and mayhem.
Lastly, we also need to accept that we live in a world that is sometimes arbitrarily painful. Look to your own spiritual beliefs to help you make sense out of things. There is a greater plan to our world than any of us individuals can understand — it’s like an ant trying to understand physics. We can’t possibly understand why tragedy happens, but it has a place in the greater context. So look to your personal spiritual leaders for guidance, comfort and answers.
If you’re still struggling…contact your local mental health counselor. We have training and resources that can be beneficial to you. For example, here is a good resource on bereavement and loss.