How to Cope When the News is Grim & Overwhelming

Friday, July 25, 2014

Do you ever get overwhelmed by the news? (Joyce Vincent)

It's been one of those weeks where the bad news just kept piling on: Death in Gaza and in Syria, unanswered questions about a plane crash in Ukraine, a botched execution in Arizona and an ebola outbreak in West Africa, and so much more.  

For a number of Takeaway listeners, it was all too much. "I tend to be an anxious person anyway, and with everything going on in the world on top of the usual stresses of life it's just overwhelming," one listener told us. "I want to stay informed but sometimes need to know when to turn the news off."

John Cassidy, a staff writer at The New Yorker, found himself trying to figure out how to stop watching the bad news when it followed him along on vacation recently. In a new piece for, he reflects on the value  and shortcomings of a "news blackout."

And rather than just feel helpless, if you want to do something for people caught up in these conflicts across the globe, visit some of these trusted organizations, like the American Red Cross, the United Nations, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.


John Cassidy

Hosted by:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Rupert Allman and Mythili Rao


T.J. Raphael

Comments [5]

tom LI the news is what? Look around you life is grim. We live life in the grim moments, all of which is fills inbetween the fewer truly pleasant ones. (and forget about uber-pleasant moments) What do we truly do each day that truly elicits happiness? Those moments are few and very short in time-length.

Like for example that moment each day when leaving work. We push those exit doors open, feel the sun on our faces, breath reasonably fresher air, feel like school kids on the last day of school, the world looks so awesome, so full of potential - then POOF! Its gone. Gone. Because then the car is too hot and we keep putting off having the AC fixed, or to park in the shade. Then we see the package on the back seat that we keep forgetting to mail. Or the shopping list is staring up at you from the console. You planned to go for a run after work, but forget to pack socks. The kids need to be picked up, dropped off, the dog washed. Etc, etc. Its all more drudgery...which is truly what the American Life is all about.

Trudging along, doing everything you told yourself you would never do, but lo and behold the so called American NEED for a too cool, too fast, too expensive, parking lot living car, and/or too big Mcmansion, and clothes you keep outgrowing all weigh you down, and you make excuse after excuse as to why YOU must live this way. So each day, that exit from work becomes one of the few highlights of your day. Those few seconds when all is good again.
Those are what we're really living for.

Life IS grim. Deal with it. And for those Sensitive types - get over it already. No one falls for that, "Im just a sensitive type." We all know its You looking for attention. That your mommy didnt put your atrocious artwork on the fridge like the other kids.

Jul. 25 2014 04:18 PM
marion from Media, PA

When the news gets to be too much for me, I go spend time with my community at the FreeStore (a project of Transition Town Media), because it's a very positive place to be. I'm also actively involved in my community to create a more local and resilient future. ( I'm a founding member of TTM.)

Jul. 25 2014 01:15 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

There is nothing but bad news, there has always been nothing but bad news. Become a Satirist like me. Learn how to go from the sneer of contempt to the frivolous smile.

Let me give you a lesson:

So, next week I will be going to Hollywood to waste my time pitching great ideas to Hack Producers. I told my girlfriend who is already there waiting for me, that with the world being what it is," I wouldn't be surprised if my plane crashed into Disney."

She said,"If that happened I would commit suicide."

I said,"I know, Disney is a special place but we'll always have Universal."

Expressing dark thoughts in a cavalier way, can be a great outlet for dealing with bad news, and lets also remember that yesterdays news is trash that nobody cares about even if history just repeats itself in tomorrows headlines.

So, in conclusion, I've lost it...Oh yeah, based on yesterdays headlines, these are the good times, cherish today, it will only get worse tomorrow.

Am I writing a manifesto, no, more like a manifisto!

Pay no attention to me, I only use 90 percent of the part of the brain that I don't use.

Jul. 25 2014 12:46 PM
Barbara Melton from Oregon

When I need a break from the news I think of two well-known sayings: Think globally; act locally and be the change you want to be. These ideas help me to remember that although I can do nothing about what's happening in the Middle East or Ukraine, I can connect with those I love. Or I can help someone here in my own neighborhood who needs something I can give.

Jul. 25 2014 12:15 PM
Terri leone

When I have to get away from the news,there is no need to travel. I just enter my patio garden sanctuary, close my eyes as the sun warms my face and listen to the bird's songs of peace...

Jul. 25 2014 09:32 AM

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