With the news full of doom and gloom, it’s very easy to be worried about the future. Energy costs are rising, it looks like we’re headed for a recession, companies might be looking to streamline their operations and let’s not forget that Russia is still at war with Ukraine. Everything is a bit shit.
Or at least, the media focuses on the fact that everything is a bit shit on a daily basis. Gone are the heartwarming news reports about a lost dog being found or a little boy walking a mile to raise money for charity!
‘Let’s just bombard everyone with doom, DOOM! Because that’s what makes them watch us and keep coming back for more!’ Or at least, that’s what I imagine news network executives saying….
I was chatting to a friend recently and he said that he was feeling really down. I asked him why and he preceded to list the top 5 things that had been covered on the news in the last week – he was worried about his kids growing up on a planet that we’re still destroying. He was worried about paying the bills in the winter.
He was worried about job security and whether he had enough money going into his pension pot. He was worried about what would happen if he suddenly became ill – would our health care system even have the resources to get the ambulance to him in time? He was in a right old state worrying about all of these things and imagining disasters that hadn’t even happened yet!
My friend has always been a worrier but this was extreme, even for him. As it turned out, he’d been getting an overload of news content through his news feed, social media, radio and television. Plus he’d had some really difficult work projects to manage. It had all just got on top of him.
He found that he couldn’t just exist in the ‘now’ without constantly worrying about the future. Turns out he’s not alone. More than 43% of adults in Great Britain feel anxious about the future of the environment, whilst half of 16-25 year olds fear for their futures and their job prospects.
We’ve become a nation of worriers and it’s exhausting. The term ‘future fatigue’ is described as a general sense of dread, apathy and fear about the future. We’re all on high alert worrying about a vision of the future that the media bombards us with day on day.
Of course it’s important to be aware of current events and concerns, but there’s a lot to be said for how often we find it thrust in our faces. Over the last few years we’ve lived through a global pandemic, political chaos and war. With so much gloomy news, the fear that the future is heading in an unpredictable, downward direction is completely understandable.
Unfortunately this can have a huge impact on our mental health, causing anxiety, apathy and depression as a result. Hence, a lot of us have started to suffer from future fatigue as we’re worrying so much and are beginning to adopt a ‘what’s the point?’ mentality as a result.
So what can we do to reduce this sense of fatigue and hopelessness? Well, firstly, it’s important to try and stay grounded in the ‘now’. To help you do this, it’s important to remember that you can only control the choices that you make and the aspects of your life that are within your sphere of influence.
Make a list of all the things that are currently worrying you. Then go through the list and ask yourself if there is anything that you can do personally to change it? For example, if you’re worried about money then take a look at your spending and see where you can cut back.
If you’re worried about the environment then look to see if there’s anything in your household that you could be doing differently. Concentrate on the small things that you can do now to make yourself feel better, empowered and in control. You can’t change the world on your own but you can change the way you feel about the future and take control of your choices.
Most importantly, take a little break from the news for a while or at least limit your daily consumption. You don’t have to stick your head in the sand but you also don’t need to be overwhelmed by it 24/7 either.