Posted on 06 October 2017
I was pleased to see the actor Emma Stone opening up recently about her struggle with anxiety. She revealed: “I was a very, very anxious child and I had a lot of panic attacks and benefitted in a big way from therapy,” She explained that drawing her anxiety as a little girl monster and writing on the picture ‘I am bigger than this’ was one of the things which helped her.
On the US TV show the Late Show she joked with host Stephen Colbert that the last panic attack she had was on the night Donald Trump was elected. (Emma is a well-known Hillary Clinton supporter).
I don’t want to open up a political debate and I think Emma was making a joke but, as with many jokes there is an element of truth there. A world which feels dangerous and unstable can make anxiety worse. None of us live in a bubble and when we notice danger around it can spark off our fight, flight or freeze response. Because we live in a wired, 24-hour news cycle world it can appear that danger is very real and very close to us, even if it isn’t.
Some of my clients have found me after reading worrying news online and have become so anxious that they have immediately Googled - anxiety hypnotherapy Henley; anxiety hypnotherapist London Harley Street or something similar.
It is positive that modern technology means we can find help, but I do wonder if sometimes they would have been better off not reading the news in the first place!
I don’t want to suggest that you should cut yourself off from the world around you, that would probably be impossible even if it was desirable. But it might be worth taking the occasional news detox.
Try to go a few days or a week without constantly logging on to the news or having the 24-hour news channel on in the background and see how you feel. You may well find your anxiety levels are lower. Treat your news exposure a bit like a food. You need it sometimes, but not too much, not all day and you certainly don’t need to binge.
I am not suggesting that a news detox is a magic cure. If you suffer from anxiety you may well need help to get to the root causes so you can better deal with whatever the world throws at us. But there is no harm in giving yourself a bit of a rest. Be kind to yourself and read a novel instead.
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