Staying positive in the age of the modern news cycle

As a society, we are being constantly flooded with images of violent acts and heartbreaking stories. The rise in social and digital media has meant an increase in our exposure to the details, sights and sounds of troublesome events. With this stream of negativity, it can be difficult to maintain a positive mindset. We invited Anna Marsh-Belote, BS, CHEP, CHEC, director, Safety and Emergency Preparedness to share her thoughts as seen through her lens.  

With all of the mass shootings and terrorism and civil unrest, it’s understandable that many of us have concerns. Sometimes these things hit closer to home than we’d like and can be difficult to wrap our minds around. I think we’ve all asked ourselves the question, “How do I keep this from happening to me?”  Truthfully, the best defense is to always be aware of your surroundings, and if you see something, say something. Taking a proactive approach to safety and well-being starts with you.

I think many people would be surprised to know that I don’t watch the nightly news. (What? But you’re an Emergency Preparedness Director!) Yes, that is true, and I do have apps on my phone and email blasts that I receive if something significant happens, but I don’t think inundating yourself 24/7 with news is a good thing. It’s very easy to “what if” things to death and allow yourself to become consumed with the trouble in the world. Media sensationalism is something we live with every day. It’s important to keep yourself informed, just be careful not to drown in the drama.

If you are feeling fearful and anxious, Parkview has several great resources to assist coworkers and their families, as well as the community, in dealing with these emotions. EAP, Chaplaincy Services and our Parkview Behavioral Health are a few, but our region also has an outstanding Disaster Mental Health chapter. Local fire department and law enforcement agencies also occasionally offer Critical Incident Stress Management courses, which are very helpful in working through some of the post event traumatic stress. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Something that I have found very helpful to de-stress is to get involved. Volunteering is a great way to take the focus off the negative and place it on the positive. Find a cause you believe in and invest in that. There are so many worthwhile charities in our area. Once you start seeing the great things going on in our communities, it helps shift your thinking away from the victim mentality to one of empowerment and inclusion.

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