Finding the bright spot

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By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

Every time I turn on the TV, the news seems to get more disturbing. The temptation to avoid media coverage altogether is becoming harder to resist; but yet, I don’t want to feel blindsided if something important is unfolding. Knowledge is power…even if you’d rather not hear it.

But, how much more heartache can we take?

I read an interesting study once about our human tendency to internalize and magnify negativity. If we view a situation from a glass half-empty perspective, even after receiving evidence to refute it, the ability to redirect the focus in a positive direction is much harder.

It is undeniably stressful to see pictures from the devastating impact of the hurricanes in Texas and Puerto Rico and the unspeakable carnage in Las Vegas. Once you have seen it, there is no way to “un-see” it and that can be haunting. Obviously, the grim reality is not pleasant. There’s no way to sugar coat the images; they are what they are.

However, what we can do is make a concerted effort to find the good in some very bad situations.

I noticed several of my friends posting a meme of Mr. Rogers on their Facebook page in recent days. The quote under his picture states simply: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” And, that is the truth. It is heartwarming to witness the unifying force a tragedy can have on complete strangers. Reaching out to lend a helping hand, albeit remotely through our donations and monetary contributions, can alleviate the helpless feeling most of us are struggling with.

But, there are also things we can do as individuals to decrease our stress levels. One of my favorite apps on my phone is called Stop, Think, Breathe. It is a simple, free meditation app that guides you on a journey towards mindfulness. That may sound like psycho-babble, but it is really beneficial to help you center and focus on positive affirmations. Click here to read more:

The other healthy coping skill I have been utilizing lately is exercise. When the news is particularly draining, getting outside in the sunshine and going for a run helps to clear my head and brighten my mood.

Talking with others about your frustrations and fears is always beneficial. I went to dinner last night with a bunch of girlfriends and we talked about immigration reform and gun control for a good portion of our time together. Perhaps not the lightest of subjects, but, I think all of us felt better being able to support each other in such a volatile time.

We can’t control what we see in the media, but we do have control over how we deal with it. I realize that this is supposed to be a light, fashion article….but, sometimes it just turns into my personal journal…which is my last suggestion for shifting your perspective. Write down a few things each night that you are grateful for and why. I promise that after a few weeks of consistent practice, you will be more likely to find the bright spot.

Happy Weekend

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