Coping With Current Events

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Coping with Local and World Events

When bad things happen around us locally or globally, feelings and reactions may come at different times and perhaps in waves. For very public traumas and upsetting events, even those who have not directly experienced the crisis, may be affected. If you have experienced past traumas, you may be experiencing memories and feelings from those events and have increased distress as newer stressors arise. Some common experiences include confusion, mood swings, anxiety, changes in appetite or weight, social withdrawal, and difficulty to find meaning in your normal activities.

While it is normal to have varied reactions, they tend to lessen over time. That said, there are things you can do in the meantime to manage your reactions and develop resiliency. Developing a repertoire of resiliency strategies and developing social support is important to maintain well-being when facing tragedies or personal struggles.

Suggestions for things to try:

  • Seek support from family and friends. Talking with others is healing and connection with others is one of our most powerful resources. Many times, others have the same feelings but everyone is afraid to start the conversation thinking they are the only ones.
  • Allow yourself to have personal time, doing something that gives you meaning and is healthy for you.
  • Consider what activities help manage your mood, such as exercise, time with friends, journaling, reading, favorite TV shows, creative outlets, etc. Sometimes mundane activities can be helpful as well, such as cleaning your room or organizing.
  • Spiritual or religious resources can be helpful for some. Please be sure to check out the Office of Religious Life for resources on campus.
  • Recognize that everyone has their own reactions, so do not compare yourself to others. Give yourself permission to feel different.
  • Take a break from social media. Although it may be important to you to be current, consider taking a break if it is consistently affecting your mood negatively. It is healthy to take a break from the news.
  • Structure your time. Make plans with friends or create a study schedule, which can help manage the mood, maintain your productivity, and slow the momentum of a negative mood.
  • Be sure to eat well-balanced meals, get adequate sleep, and stay hydrated. Though it may sound like simplistic advice, inadequate sleep can easily make us more vulnerable to mood swings, poor eating habits, and impaired performance/studying.
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and excessive caffeine.
  • Alternate exercise with relaxation to alleviate some of the stress.
  • Explore our website at Counseling and Mental Health Services for information on Meditation groups, self-help resources, and more.

Please see the American Psychological Association’s web page for information about resilience and coping in difficult situations.

If you would like support for your thoughts/feelings/reactions, remember that the USC Counseling and Mental Health Services are here to help.


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