Although news bulletins keep us up to date, accounts of suffering, together with mind-boggling figures of deaths and hospital admissions, remind us constantly of the enormity of everyone’s distress.
What is the continual barrage of misery doing to us and how can we cope with this aspect of the pandemic?
You might expect that constant exposure to suffering hardens us to it. Research, however, suggests otherwise. In a study, the more severe the trauma a section of people witnessed, the greater was their own distress.
How, then, can you lessen the distress you will feel when you’re reminded of the suffering that’s all around us?
Avoid updating yourself when you’re alone. Talk through distressing encounters with like-minded others. This allows you to feel supported and helps boost resilience. And when you update, read rather than watch whenever possible.
Learn to self-regulate. We’re often unaware of how stressed we’re feeling, so it’s important to check in with yourself regularly. Are you tensing your arms or neck, or clenching your jaw? Learn to relax using progressive relaxation or try yoga.
Restore your sense of control by carrying out one positive act each day, however small – tidy a drawer, take a walk or contact a friend.
The Daily Telegraph