There are times when we are constantly bombarded with information from every corner, majority of which are bad news. You turn on your television and someone appearing hysterical is staring back at you. You tune in to a radio station and there is a sad, pathetic song hitting the air waves. Try visiting a gossip site and jungle justice stories about the woman who was burnt alive for stealing cocoyam or a man who murdered his brother over a thousand Naira note, will hunt you for the rest of the day (Trust me, there is every tendency that you will find it on about 3- 4 blogs).
It is so tempting to cruise the different information platform headlines, and to fill our tea breaks with the gory details of ‘did you hear what happened?’ We start to ask questions like: ‘what is this world turning into?’ Before we know it, we are filled with fear and trepidation.
Research has shown that the brain takes 90 seconds to fully process a traumatic event that you learn about (not experience directly) from beginning to end. What this means is that it takes a mere 90 seconds to hear or read about something negative, then think it through and process it fully. Any consideration beyond that creates something called negative bias, which can actually instill trauma and create a new stress response within our bodies.
In the case of our country, Nigeria, with the kind of news stories making the rounds ranging from insurgencies in the North, to killings, mutilations, eviction of people from their homes, etc; it is very difficult for us not to be affected by the negative information. Someone recently reminded me to go renew my passport, in case we have to run away from Nigeria because of the alarming rate of insurgencies.
The question now is; how can we find peace in this seemingly insane world? What can we do as individuals?
First, we can start by tuning out some of the media voices that try to reach us. There is a theory called selective perception. This theory posits that of the million and one messages that we come across each day, we have the ability to choose the ones that most suit us. It is the process by which individuals perceive what they want to in media messages while ignoring other viewpoints.
Those gorgeously dressed and dashing reporters love to spin every detail into a new angle of fear and sensationalism. Every information platform on the Internet is telling their stories in their own way; televisions and radios are not sparing us either. Frankly, our nervous systems are already overloaded with life issues — we don’t need to add to adrenal stress by feeding our brains with too much fear and drama.
As we watch/read/listen to multiple media platforms reporting the same disaster/mishap from different angles, our brain gradually adopts them, we react by becoming pained, angry, frustrated and aggressive. This way, we simultaneously create a vicious stress cycle as our natural peaceful response patterns fall by the way side.
Most of us have come to realize that attempting to control the world around us is futile — all we can really control is our inner world.
How, then, do we control our inner world when the outside world appears to have lost it?
It may sound overly simplified, but after we do all that we can do to help a situation — appreciating the life we have while walking in balance with love in our hearts — is a healthy course of action.
We can meditate, practice kindness, and remember to be compassionate – while loving the ones we love with more intensity. When we practice visualizing peace and trust that what we wish for in our tiny little world affects the whole, we make a difference.
As Gandhi once said, “You must be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Spreading the “did you hear what happened?”, “OMG! Our world is falling apart” reactions, tainted with fear, despair or anger does nothing to repair the situation.
Rather, tuning off media voices, meditating or praying, helping the little way we can, loving our lives and those around us, teaching future generations to love and respect not only the planet, but also the people around them, and most importantly, visualizing our world as healed and perfect — does.
Photo Credit: madamenoire.com
Precious Uwisike is a graduate of Covenant University, where she studied Mass Communication. Precious is passionate about helping people live happier lives. She is a PR executive and a social media enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter – @preshest”