In the past few days, the state of the world and the future has been an overwhelming focus for many people. With the recent presidential election in the United States being a major topic of conversation both on- and offline, it can sometimes be difficult to clear the worries from our minds.
No matter which side of the debate you are on, what your personal views are or what your outlook for the future is, we are all innundated with images and stories of uproar, unrest and violence. We are sometimes afraid to share our political views with certain friends, family members, or coworkers as we fear they will not understand. We feel helpless and search for reasons by reading everything we can about the events.
Weltschmerz is a German word that is used to describe the feelings of melancholy and anxiety caused by the ills of the world.
We mustn’t forget that the media, both social and mass –Newspapers, TV news reports, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook– make money when we watch and read and comment and consume.
It is the business of newspapers and magazines to make headlines that catch our eye, and sometimes to sensationalize topics that sell. Whether the content is solid or not depends on the quality of the publication. News shared via social media can be questionworthy as many people read, react and share without considering the source.
In the media we hear horror stories of a possible future. We hear about how the world could fall apart: economies, political ties, war, unemployment, poverty, hunger. It is true that all of these horrible things do take place in the world. However, there are also beautiful, wonderful, positive things happening every day.
The world will not be repaired by likes on a Facebook post. Turn your anger about events into the building blocks of future events.
Therefore, if you watch a documentary on poverty in India, you read a newspaper article about an attack on innocent people in Nigeria or you hear news about protests in your home town, do not give into despair.
Choose a cause that is close to your heart then get involved.
- Research how you can counteract climate change and take baby steps like replacing your light bulbs with LEDs or not using plastic bags.
- Donate money to save the oceans, to save the children, to save the rainforests.
- Volunteer to help refugees or help the homeless by volunteering at a soup kitchen.
- Spread hope and positivity by paying it forward.
- Randomly give a stranger $20 and tell him this is the country you believe in.
- Start a petition.
- Join a political party and make changes from the inside.
- Gather a group of friends to clean up litter in your city, rather than simply complaining about what has happened.
Rather than wallowing in regret about events in the world that are out of your control, remind yourself what IS under your control. Your thoughts. Your actions. Your influence on other people.
Stay true to yourself and your values and never, ever lose hope.