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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.


Staying present in the modern era  

Once upon a time, I seemed to wake up and there was more destruction, disaster and doom. I often looked at what was on the news with a face of abject horror as the list of things going wrong in the world spirals on and on and on. This can be a very stressful way to live your life, so while the world has seemingly zoned out of all that is good in humankind, I made some conscious decisions in an attempt to zone in to what is important to my own physical and mental wellbeing. This has culminated in trying to be much more present to offset the bizarreness of the world outside my window.  

The world didn’t suddenly become the egalitarian utopia with glitter, unicorns and no one ever wanting for anything ever again, that I so desperately want it to become, by making small changes to my everyday habits I found the seemingly constant bad news easier to swallow.  

Below are the five things that have been most helpful to me, so if you have ever felt stressed, ungrounded and anxious about the world like me, hopefully they will help you.  

  1. Practicing mindfulness  

Mindfulness is described as a technique used to allow an individual to be fully in the present and recognise how they feel, and how their surroundings feel, in the present moment. Taking regular stock like this can be really helpful in rationalising our thoughts and emotions, bringing perspective on difficult days, and allowing breathing time which centres the body. By practising mindfulness we give ourselves the time to zone into our bodies without judgement of it, helping us stay grounded and present.  

There are many ways that someone can practice mindfulness: mindful colouring, breathing exercises, mindful movement etc. and I would urge anyone looking to become more present to research and try different types out until they find which one works for them.  

  1. Sleep, sleep and sleep 

Now, there can be too much of a good thing, and therefore I’m not going to suggest that everyone spends the rest of their lives sleeping (as nice as that may sound).  

That being said, there are countless surveys and research papers that suggest that people in the modern era, not only struggle with lack of sleep, but their quality of sleep has been reduced thanks to extensive work loads, blue light from computer screens and other such pressures. Therefore making sure you get 6-8 hours of sleep a night is one of the best ways to zone into your body and start feeling a lot better about yourself and your place in the world.  

  1. Monitoring my screen time  

As mentioned above too much screen time can affect your sleep, but it can do a lot more harm than that. The term ‘doom scrolling’ came into prominence at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and is a term used to describe the act of scrolling endlessly through bad news via the internet and social media apps. Even if you aren’t necessarily looking at bad news, the act of continuously scrolling can still create feelings of insecurity, anxiety and stress about the world around you. 

I think it is naive to suggest that in this day and age you can live completely off the grid – every aspect of our lives are now informed by the internet. But reducing our intake, especially of the doom and gloom, can help change our perspective and allow us to feel more present in ourselves and our surroundings.  

  1. Talk, talk, and talk  

It is really important to talk about how you are feeling, good or bad. For one, having good lines of communication with other people can help ground you to reality when things start to get a bit overwhelming and the phrase ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ is almost always correct.  

When talking through your worries with someone else, it is important to remember that they are unlikely to be able to fix the problem, especially if you are stressing about socio-political issues, or big moral debates etc., but that the goal of talking is rather to create a safe space and allow you to release some of the background noise in your brain, which allows you to focus on what’s right in front of you.  

  1. Zone in to what’s important  

Many of us, over the last 18 months have become much more aware of our duties towards activism. Whether it is the climate emergency, femicide, Black Lives Matter, or any other worthy causes that have been brought to the foreground recently, more than ever we find ourselves barraged with the most negative and worrying statistics and experiences.  

While it is really important to continue working within different activist circles to better the world and create safer spaces for everyone, to ignore the emotional and mental strain this has is dangerous, therefore it is important to focus on what is truly important to us, and to remember that there are positive things happening around us.  

If you are feeling overwhelmed and fatigued by the world seemingly falling apart, I’d recommend having a read of this article I wrote last year about coming with activism fatigue. Even if you don’t count yourself as an ‘activist’ there are bound to be little nuggets of info that might help you zone into the world without getting completely caught up in it.  

Iona Hancock

Aberdeen '22

PGDE Primary 21/22 @ Aberdeen 1st Class Honours in Politics and IR @ Aberdeen
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