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  • Writer's pictureFrank Basler

Don't Read the Paper

It can make you even more depressed and anxious. After reading about the economic crisis in Brazil I couldn’t get the image out of my mind of “rail-thin teenagers holding placards at traffic stops with the word for hunger — fome — in large print.”[1] Reading the paper or listening to news can be so depressing. If you’ve been feeling really low, don’t do it.

Think about it. Not everyone cares about the suffering of others outside their immediate group. If you’re like me and feel sad when you hear about others’ pain, another word for your feeling is “compassion.” The first part of Webster’s definition of “compassion” is “sympathetic consciousness of others' distress….” So your pain at seeing pictures of immigrant children in crowded holding pens along our southern border is compassion. And, not everyone is capable of compassion.

If you’re like me, there is an upside. At least we’re able to feel. We haven’t numbed out and become indifferent to the suffering around us – far away or close at hand.

The suffering closest at hand is our own. When you experience anxiety and depression, your suffering is real. Can you have compassion for your own suffering? When did your suffering begin? Can you have compassion for the little child you were when you began to suffer? If you can – if you can feel compassion for the suffering child of your past – you have found an important tool for alleviating your depression and anxiety in the present.

Google ‘depression and compassion:” As you see, there's lots of research showing that self-compassion helps alleviate depression and anxiety.

Yes, reading the paper or watching the news can increase your anxiety and depression. If you can’t break the habit, try imagining your own suffering child of the past. Access your compassion for her or him. Imagine wrapping them in your arms and comforting him/her. Let your love flow.

PS: Here’s another YouTube by Mooji. This one is on witnessing the suffering of others:

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