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Remember this: you are not alone.
If, as the team here on Marie Claire UKyou felt deep sadness at the news of Her Majesty The Queen’s passing, you are not alone.
Buckingham Palace announced that HRH Queen Elizabeth II had passed away on Thursday, September 8.
She lived to be 96 years old.
We have not only seen heartfelt tributes from her friends and family but also from the rest of the world. One writer, Matt Haig, described it poignantly in an Instagram post Thursday night: “It’s just sad when you’ve grown up with someone, on TV, on the news, on stamps. Someone you didn’t really know but kind of did. Because when you see someone’s face long enough, you know them. It’s sad because she was as unifying a figure as a monarch could be. A generational bridge.”
He continued: “It reminds us of the people we love who we feel are also as eternal as a postage stamp but are also as fragile and mortal as humans are. My Nan loved her and she made her happy to see her on her little old Hitachi TV even when my Nan died of cancer. She meant a lot to a lot of people. An era is leaving us. Rest in peace.”
Are you feeling a little numb from the constant barrage of highly emotional and upsetting news? We’re with you on that. We have spoken to Gail Marraclinical hypnotherapist and author of Health Wealth & Hypnosisand Joanna Konstantopoulouhealth psychologist and founder of Harley Street’s Health Psychology Clinic, to get his take on how best to cope – mentally and emotionally – with current global events.
Sad to hear about the Queen’s passing? 4 coping mechanisms for dealing with negative news
Konstantopoulou shares that sometimes it can feel like we’re seeing a constant barrage of negative news coverage—especially given the past few years. “From climate change to war, terrorism to major crime stories, media coverage can feel relentlessly bleak and it can be incredibly distressing,” she explains.
Do you find that the news often increases your fear and anxiety? You are far from alone, she continues – especially given the current situation. “Whether you feel like you’re regularly influenced by the news or not, seeing and reading current coverage can be upsetting,” she continues.
Know that as humans we have what’s called a “negativity bias,” which unfortunately means we tend to be drawn to negative and distressing news often without even realizing it, explains Marra. “It’s good to be aware of current world events, but we can get sucked into the negativity,” she explains. “It can become overwhelming and ultimately leave you feeling completely powerless. But by default, you’re looking for more of it.”
While it may be part of human nature to seek out negative news, as with anything in life, the hypnotherapist explains that how you respond is key.
When we react negatively to negative news – especially dramatic news that threatens to affect us personally, such as the passing of the Queen – we automatically go into fight or flight mode. “In this state, we’re on the defensive, pumping out adrenaline and cortisol that raise our blood pressure, increase our heart rate, making us feel confused, angry, stressed, anxious or afraid.”
Conclusion: it’s okay to feel stressed right now, it’s okay to feel nervous, and it’s okay to feel anxious. We are facing unprecedented times, which will undoubtedly affect your everyday life.
However, there are a number of coping strategies you can use to protect your mental health, both experts share. “You may not be able to change the situation, but you can change how you react to it with these simple steps,” shares Konstantopoulou.
1. Help where you can
Know this: You can’t deal with current affairs, but you can learn to live with bad news and make a difference where you can.
“Small actions may not stop bad things from happening, but they really do help, plus can help you feel like you’re helping the situation,” shares Konstantopoulou. Consider laying flowers, sharing your thoughts online or showing your respect in your own way.
2. Talk to people
A shared problem is a problem halved and talking about your anxiety can help you work through the feelings and perhaps gain a clearer perspective, shares the psychologist.
“Other people may have a different take on a news story or the future outcome, and hearing their viewpoints can help you find a balanced perspective,” she shares.
3. Shut down
One of the best coping strategies? Taking a break from coverage.
“Yes, it’s important to stay informed about world events, but if it all becomes too much and starts to damage your mental well-being, then it’s important to take a break from coverage,” shares Konstantopoulou.
Try this: Reset your social media feeds, avoid news websites and turn off the TV for a few hours in the evening. A break from the constant media coverage can give you the headspace you need, plus you can take in the information, acknowledge your thoughts and feelings about it, and then decide how to act on it.
If you know you’ve absorbed current news headlines and done everything you can to pay your respects, know this: decompressing and making sure you’re protecting your own mental health is one of the easiest ways you can help.
“In therapy, I encourage clients to close their eyes and imagine their mind as a clear blue sky with the occasional white cloud passing through it,” shares Marra. “Breathe slowly and deeply as you visualize the clouds gently floating by until they fade and disappear. Spending a few moments each day practicing this simple method can do wonders to restore calm and clear your mind.”