What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed by All the Terrible Events Going On In the World

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Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

Looking at the news lately is bound to hit you right in the feelings. It’s almost impossible not to be overwhelmed by it all.

There are so many terrible things happening. Massacres in places of worship. Thousands of people heading to the US all at once, demanding to be let in. Bombs being sent through the mail. A heated election cycle that is only a glimpse of the coming presidential election. One horrific crime after another.

And at the foundation of everything is hatred.

The venomous things that people are saying to one another all in support or rejection of these dreadful occurrences are the most dangerous part of it all.

If you’re a peace-loving person who just wants to get along with his or her fellow American, all of this stuff can be enough to make you want to crawl under the nearest rock, preferably a rock without Wi-Fi or a cell signal.

When you spend your days engrossed in the news

Sometimes I get emails from people who wonder how I can write about the things I do and still remain upbeat.

I’ve been working in the alternative news industry since 2011. There have been days at I time I was glued to my laptop covering manhunts, constitutional insults, or scenes of horror. It would be a lie (not to mention rather unhinged) to say that I was unmoved by it all.

Sometimes I ended the day with such awful scenes playing through my head that my night was filled with restless nightmares replaying all that I had learned. Sometimes the last thing I wanted to do the next morning when it was time to start work was switch on that laptop and see the most recent gruesome act of hatred humans had perpetrated on one another.

But here I am, eight years later, still doing it. Still trying to make sense of it all and write things that pull people together instead of tearing them apart. Still looking for that common thread that runs between us all and hoping that more people grab onto that instead of trying to sever it.

And most of the time, I’m okay. Most of the time, I can keep from becoming terribly depressed by the awful things about which I spend my days researching and writing. I can share with you a few of the ways that I prevent the bad news from causing so much anxiety that I want to throw my laptop in the lake and live out the rest of my days, blissfully uninformed.

How can you handle the mental toll of terrible events?

First of all, stop thinking that you’re being weak or fragile by being bothered by these horrific events. I’ve seen people commenting that they aren’t “tough” enough to handle all of the awful things we’re being bombarded with by the media.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with toughness, weakness, or fragility. If you are a caring human being, of course these things get to you. It’s natural and, bonus, a sign that you aren’t a sociopath. This isn’t to say that people who can put some mental distance between themselves and the events are unstable – it is just to say that there is nothing wrong or weak about those who are overwhelmed by it.

As much as these things may strike at you, deep in your heart, you can learn to put a bit of healthy distance between yourself and the events.

  • If you are able to help in some way, whether it’s a financial donation or providing some kind of emotional support for others, that can help you to handle the event because you’re taking a positive action instead of feeling helpless
  • If you are a person of faith, you can pray for those involved.
  • If you are afraid of some event that seems to be looming, you can switch off the news and focus on preparing your home and family for that possibility.
  • If you can’t do anything for the people involved, maybe you can just do something good for somebody else, locally where you are right now. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Grab a cup of coffee for a homeless person. Make some donations of unused clothing to the women’s shelter. Never underestimate the power of doing good in an ugly world.
  • If the rest of your family loves a passionate debate, let them know politely that the topic is really getting to you and go enjoy a nice walk while they’re having their discussion. You aren’t obligated to bear witness to their discussions if it’s causing you stress.
  • If you don’t need to be on social media for work, then stay away from it. That toxicity won’t do you any good. If you must be on it, then use the “hide” function to keep certain people out of your newsfeed. Use the “block” feature in groups that you visit if there are people you find particularly negative and stressful.
  • Spend time outdoors. There’s nothing more healing to your spirit than Mother Nature. Take a sunrise walk and listen to the birds. Go to the park with your dog or your kids. Focus on the here and the now.

Most of all, do your best to surround yourself with kindhearted people who aren’t going to badger you about the event in an effort to make you see their point of view. And that means in the real world as well as the virtual one.

How do you remain informed without getting overwhelmed?

We all want to be well-informed about the goings-on in the world. That’s why you’re on a preparedness site. That’s why you are paying attention to this. You don’t want to be one of those oblivious, reality TV show aficionados whose form of entertainment actually has nothing to do with reality.

But how do you balance this when you’re feeling horribly beaten down by the things in the news?

Some of this overwhelm can be relieved by the sources from which you get your information.

  • I try to post articles that, while newsy, offer suggestions for readers to put into action. Other articles posted here have nothing to do with current events. Subscribe to my newsletter to get these in your inbox.
  • If you haven’t subscribed to Prepper Website’s newsletter, do so. It’s full of articles that have productive suggestions as opposed to scary headlines that will leave you feeling worse than when you started. You can get a general idea of what’s going on along with constructive suggestions for dealing with it.
  • Another great website is Ready Nutrition. There are tons of articles on self-reliance and natural health there for those who want to focus on constructive things.

The next thing to do is, for the love of all things cute and fluffy, avoid the comments section of any news piece you happen to read. In most of them, you’ll be besieged by laptop warriors who spew hatred and ill-conceived 30-second “solutions” for complicated issues.

You can stay informed while taking a step back. You can avoid the news outlets that are the most controversial, the ones who stir up the problem to keep the hits coming in, the ones who make insulting, blanket generalizations. Avoid those with obvious bias and stick to the ones that report in a less sensationalistic manner. Reuters is rather dry but they tend to be a little bit less blatantly biased. You can often get a good idea of what’s going on in the world by simply scanning the headlines on their homepage. Check out their service, The Wire, too.

And please, please, stay away from politics. Nothing is more likely to turn into a heated insult-fest than a political discussion or website. Politics is poison, and you are under no obligation to partake in that.

Focus on the things you can control

I’ll tell you a secret. Sometimes I feel this way too. I also get overwhelmed, and when I do, I take a step back to get a little bit of distance from it. It doesn’t mean that I’m burying my head in the sand. It means that I’m focusing on the things that I, personally, can control.

I can’t control mass shooters or mail bombers. I can’t control the American immigration policies. I can’t control the elections or the people protesting them.

But I can control my response to all of it. I can focus on the things I can actually do for myself and my family.

  • I can go shooting at the range.
  • I can add to my preps.
  • I can improve my home security.
  • I can grow microgreens in my kitchen windowsill.
  • I can work on making Christmas gifts using a new skill I’ve been learning.
  • I can mulch my garden so the soil is rich and nourished in the spring.
  • I can improve my fitness.
  • I can read informative books and articles about skills that I want to learn.

If you’re in this place of overwhelm right now, then switch your focus to the things you can control.

You can do things differently.

Cultivate things that are positive and reduce your exposure to things that are negative.

Remember that you can’t control the huge, horrible events in this world, but you can control your response to them by focusing on your preparations and your mental well-being.

You can choose to stay out of these arguments that nobody wins. You aren’t going to change the minds of people calling others names on the internet. You aren’t going to enlighten people who aren’t seeking that kind of knowledge.

If your own well-being is at risk, take a step back. Observe it all from a place of distance. As the old saying goes, those who wrestle with pigs get muddy too. Stay out of the mud and you will feel far less overwhelmed.

What about you?

How do you regroup when it’s all too much? How do you handle the barrage of horrible events? Share your secrets for preventing overwhelm in the comments below.

Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • I usually take a step back and try to fix those thin I have control over, and set aside those I do not for later action. By later action I mean contacting those who can assist in fixing what I by myself am unable to fix, this may be my state legislatures office, a local County Commissioner or even Town/City Councilman, I may even talk to a fellow clergyman about the issue, but for my sanity I leave it to them and let them know I expect them to take honest action not feel good actions.

  • I read what is going on in the US of A and the world. Does it bother me: YES but I just take note. I am prepared for dren to happen around me, I will act accordingly. Remember: white safe, yellow be alert, red be on guard. If anything does happen, you may have to shoot to kill: NEVER forget that and you will have to life with it. ALSO: it is them or me, I will live or die fighting.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! This article was exactly what I needed. I have been feeling overwhelmed by the world for the longest time and I thought it was just me not being tough enough. Thank you for putting it into perspective for me! I’m going to focus on home and hearth and try to distance myself from the outer world for a bit

  • Hi Daisy. Your article was something I needed to hear. I have recently sold the home I had grown up in and raised three children in too. My mother also passed away a year prior to that. I’m living in the same town in a rental but feel quite displaced because I miss my home, neighbors and all the house meant to me. My landlord turned out to couldn’t care less, so adjusting to certain living conditions for high rent, is depressing daily. It’s just me and my 12 year old dog here and though I am friendly with neighbors and have friends, feeling alone is constant. I have PTSD and two of my adult children live on the other side of country. My youngest is local but don’t see him usually unless he needs babysitter. I have had brain surgery several years ago for tumor, but it was benign. I have done some prepping with food and other supplies but I don’t know how to connect with like minded people. I don’t have family around really and I’ve wanted to learn how to can foods and other skills for long time. I’m now 59 and feel it’s the end of the world and too late for me. I will take your advice on focusing on the things I can do. Thank you for listening and writing your article. It was what was on my heart lately. Stay well and safe.

    • Fran, you are only 59 years old; you have another 30 years ahead of you which can be happy and fulfilling. Life can be tough but we keep at it anyway because that is the way we grow and develop empathy for others. I can name at least 32 people I know who have been through what you described and some through much worse.
      1. If you have PSTD go to a qualified physician and get some help or find a support group to join.
      2. Go help some body less fortunate than you; there are thousands in every city across the country. Volunteer at a food bank, a library, a hospital, a senior citizens care center.
      3. Find a Christian church near by that you feel comfortable in and make new friends in the congregation; take part in their activities even though it might be hard for you; eventually it gets easier.
      4. Stop waiting for your kids to make you happy; they probably don’t come around as much because you make them sad.
      5. If you want to learn to can foods, start with something easy like jelly, pickles or tomatoes. Check a book out of the library or find a Ball Blue Book of Canning.

      Try doing one kind thing a day.

      Everyone has value and if you can

      4. Learn how to do a craft, maybe knitting or crocheting. Make hats, mittens, scarves and give them to homeless people.

    • Dear Fran,
      you sound so sweet, it is never too late, i live in the country and let me tell you, people are different these days, i like my neighbors, so don’t get me wrong, they just don’t get it, that we are in big trouble. maybe things would change when the poo hits the fan, not really sure. you can only do so much to prepare and not having people around that are like minded people, let me tell you i know first hand, it can be a problem. but you just do what you can, put your best foot forward, that is good enough for me. everything i have done, is by myself. I live on a fixed income, so everything has been done in small doses so to speak. Don’t give up Fran, a lot of older generations know what is going on, and they will be there for you.
      God Bless,

    • Fran, I’m near your age, I live alone, and I’m in college! And I am doing better than everyone else in my classes! (now granted, I have the GI Bill to pay for it.) But my point is, It is not all over for you and it is not too late for you to do something that is meaningful to you and that will increase your happiness. There is probably something you always wanted to do and can do it now because you live alone and have no obligations to anyone. Is there something creative you wanted to do? Writing fiction, painting, sewing, etc.? Is there a class you can take cheap or free? I wish the best for you!

  • I take it with a VERY LARGE grain of salt! I don’t argue with people – they have their own opinions, and you can’t change it! Why try? I do love your articles, they are very informative. Thank you .

  • I always try to keep a positive attitude when reading news online. Thank God the holidays are coming and hopefully there will more about the joy of the season instead of all negative things trending.

    For me this is a busy time of year in getting the menus made up for Thanksgiving and Christmas and baking cakes, cookies, and pies for the freezer, so that is a nice beak away from negative news, and “Wartime Farms and Wartime Christmas” on YouTube is also a great break away when you get down or find things are getting overwhelming.

  • Thank you Daisy! This was exactly what I needed, too, and I can tell you have reached countless others, too!

  • I have pretty much stopped all ‘social’ media, finding it not social at all. I can and garden and just got a new freeze dryer that I will be learning to use. I believe that the acid that some spew is eating their souls, so I have consciously tried to avoid contact.

  • I’ve never been particularly religious but I have noticed lately that the worse things seem to become the more Calm I am getting. I am prepared to take care of my Family in a SHTF situation & prepared to Eliminate Any Threat by Any Means Necessary with Extreme Prejudice but I also notice that if I Pray to Jesus/GOD I am Always Thankful for Life & Health for Me, My Family, Friends, Neighbors, Business Associates, My City, My State, My Country, OUR World. WE MUST DESTROY EVIL – but WE MUST PRAY for PEACE. There is Too Much Hatred in the World & I am Not Naive but without any Hope what’s the Point?
    Pray for PEACE be prepared to KILL.

  • Dear Daisy,

    I have taken great comfort on your site, yesterday was the first time i have visited your site, today is the second. guess i will be visiting it everyday now. Yesterday was really well needed for me. I was so worried about the migrants and the borders, i don’t argue about those things with anybody. i just know we are headed for some terrible things , better to prepare than worry, because there is nothing we can do about it. I have prepped for years, you try and think about things that you will need, and get advice on different things, but you can never actually be totally prepared, it will come as the days wear on. i live in the country, but try and talk to people about what is coming and they think you are wacky. there is nothing you can do about that either. i do have days where i am on the internet for most of the day, but after your article yesterday, well i have put everything in perspective, thank you Daisy!

  • When I quit my job to go back to school, I discontinued cable TV. I am no longer forced to watch any televised news whatsoever just to keep my job. I also do not read newspapers (except for the arts and leisure sections), and do not listen to radio news. I do pick up the free, hyperlocal newspaper at my grocery store.

    I am resolute about not saddening myself with all the little horrors of the day. I do not want to read about mothers abusing their children, the police beating and killing innocent people and pets, senseless violence committed for fun, etc. I do not want to read the latest lies being told by leftists. I do not want to know in excruciating detail how leftists are destroying my neighborhood, city, state, Army and country. These things engender helpless, hopeless fury.

    As we are overrun by barbarians, I remind myself that even the Roman Empire was overrun by barbarians and that something new and beautiful will be born in the ruins of America.

    I check news aggregator websites to be aware of major events in the city, nation and world:
    –New Samizdat, a service of RT (Russia Today) news.
    –Drudge Report
    –Preppers Daily News
    I look at the headlines. If the story is going to infuriate me, I don’t click on it. I only want to know about it if it could personally impact me, like news about the economy, or health news.

    I don’t do social media. I was forced to set up a facebook when job-hunting, because employers want to snoop on prospective employees. Then I deleted it. But I am feeling pressured to start a facebook again because this is the only way I will ever see photos of or hear news about certain people in my life.

    If I lived with another person, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to cut the news out of my life like this.

  • Here’s one thing I found worked for me. I use to read the news and comment on the computer throughout the day. Finding I wasn’t getting anything done that NEEDS to be done.

    I now SHUT IT OFF as soon as I’m finished and won’t turn it back on till as late as possible in the evening.

    I not only save my sanity, but I also save electricity and am more productive during the day. I use that time the computer is shut off to do lots of jobs around my house.


  • Even as I’m reading the comments, I’m ruminating on the wonderful advice you gave suggesting staying away from comments. While that’s really, really hard, I suspect that my blood pressure would drop 20 points if I could just reliably perform that simple task. There is so much idiocy masquerading as informed comment. It certainly contributes to the social conflict we experience instead of intelligently informing folks about the painful realities of human flaw and the most helpful ways of attenuating those underlying sources of conflict.
    I’m amazed that elections are considered useful – speaking of irrationality – since most elections produce statistically random results. And the ones which are clearly one-sided usually give us a distinct winner for all the wrong reasons. Democracy is not a mechanism suited to human governance. In fact, humans probably aren’t suited to free community life, given the lessons we are learning about our serious personality flaws, our unconscious foibles, and the other five hominid species that either died from our domination of resources or were wiped out by our aggression. But only after we slept with them, of course. Benign despotism would be a much better system of governance, if only we could figure out a way to make it work.
    You offer really thoughtful and insightful advice. Unfortunately, way too many people are not rational, so they fail to benefit from reason and logic. An awful lot of the time, as the saying goes, it’s like teaching a pig to sing. (Sorry, Mr. Heinlein)
    Thanks again. This time, I’m really going to try hard to follow your excellent advice about avoiding comments on the sites I visit. Right after I finish reading all the ones below.

  • Hi Fran,

    I just read your comment and it too makes me sad. You sound like a lovely person. The other posters offered you wonderful advice. You have value and purpose, you just have to find a new hobby or niche. It sounds like you love your dog and pets. Have you considered volunteering at a therapeutic riding facility? They provide training to volunteers. You could care for the horses used in the program (they are most often the kindest souls). Of course you would be giving to the riders as well , those of all age ranges, abilities and handicaps often including our dear veterans. You may want to consider it as treatment for your PTSD in conjunction with medical help as well. If there is a facility like this near you, I encourage you to become involved. Good luck and Gob bless you.

  • When I saw the lovely picture at the top of the article, I thought you would advise folks to spend time in nature. That is what I do to recover my senses and sanity. I have to drive an hour to get into a clean and quiet forest but I always come away refreshed in my perspective. The creation connects me with the real time world and not the cultural world. Even though much of that is being destroyed, there is still a lot of goodness left there to supply my discouraged heart. It’s a natural reset button for my soul. Walk in nature I say. The supply of beauty is still with us!

  • I know I need help. I have panic attacks. I know it is chemical. I see a doctor’s assistant and I have xanax and prozac, but the lowest dosages only once a day. If I have more than one attack a day and need to take a second xanax, I’m one less for the next day. I had a horrible abusive childhood and have PTSD as a result of all the violence. I have a need to keep up with all the news and views because I was denied so much of what I needed growing up. I have a loving, supportive husband, 3 married daughters and 10 fantastic grandchildren all here locally except for one grandson, the oldest, who is married. I am 70 and partially disabled physically. I have a strong faith in God and a fierce love of America and just want to be left alone. I don’t bother anybody. But I fear what is coming with these caravans, and all the hatred in this political climate, and am sick to death of our president being blamed for everything. I try to prep as much as I can, but I’m scared, so scared.

  • I have found a news channel that doesn’t have opinion. OAN
    One America News.

    They do have opinion shows, but these are scheduled later at night. Mostly their news is National and World. They tell you what is going on where, and they don’t interject opinion or have “panels” that tell you what they think or what you should think. You can usually get a good idea of the news in about an hour.

  • Over the last 41 years I have killed my T.V. several times to jump start and reconnect with my ancestors ways of living & survival. We are so disconnected with the earth (Our Mother), the Zones we live in (the whole earth as our “Father”) and all that “She & He” provides in their time. God and his mate are not “alone” and have never been “Alone”. We are double yolked…forever…that is the balance. We need to balance ourselves and learn to be “satisfied & content” with the produced foods of our “regions “. Foods from “other regions” should always be treated as extreme “Exotics” and eaten with extreme conservatively…like the Amish “Sweet & Sours”.

  • I would practice yoga, qigong, and meditation. EFT targeted towards my thoughts and emotions about the news could help as well. And I might look into using calming essential oils like lavender.

  • Great article. I had a day of overwhelm this week because of the Corona Virus. My father has it and is dying from it. I wandered around, waiting for news, stressing out and feeling awful. Then I sat down, thought about the whole thing more rationally and came to some sort of peace. All of the ideas you share here would have been useful to me and I will take the advice on social media. We get upset because we care, but we don’t have to allow the media to ram the message home every minute of the day. Thank you Daisy.

    • Dear Sally:

      I’m so very sorry to hear about your father. I wish you peace and hope that happy memories with your father provide you with some comfort.

  • I cook vegan meals mostly from scratch for my family and my vegan food business. Since food and nutrition are crucial to existence, little is more satisfying than cooking. Except making music! My husband and I are professional musicians and we play every week at a local restaurant and at local parks in the area (YES, there are still live music events put on by musicians with the fortitude to continue despite the fake “mandates”!).

    I try to live my life as normally as possible. I still have not worn a Satanic ritual face muzzle but I’m able to get all the food and supplies my family needs from a few local stores (and yeah, I use digital services for some things because I refuse to submit my sacred body to the agenda).

    Another thing I do is talk to friends and neighbors about how they’re doing. It takes the focus off of the dark occultists and onto people.

    Also, I recall what Jeff Berwick says in his recent book (paraphrased): “Remember that conspiracies rarely turn out how the perpetrators expect because there are SO MANY people and turns of events across the world that must be orchestrated. Something is bound to fall through the cracks for various reasons.” One of those reasons is the resilience of the human spirit, and the fact that we are divine sparks of the Creator. Our basic inner-standing is freedom and love, and it always rises to the occasion.

    When I AM on the internet, it’s usually not on Fascistbook, Twitler, or Instapentagram, but on sites by bloggers like Daisy who are writing and sharing content to HELP humanity rise to the occasion. I love connecting with people from all over the world, even the ones with whom I disagree or who fight for their enslavement. Any time we can respectfully share our voices with others is a gift, since our voices are our most powerful tool in communicating. Don’t let the Satanists/Luciferians silence you!

    • @CaliGirlWonders,
      I really liked this part,
      “I love connecting with people from all over the world, even the ones with whom I disagree or who fight for their enslavement. Any time we can respectfully share our voices with others is a gift, since our voices are our most powerful tool in communicating. Don’t let the Satanists/Luciferians silence you!”

      The “Fascistbook, Twitler, or Instapentagram” was funny too! 🙂

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