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Headline Stress Disorder?

2 simple ways for dealing with anxiety attacks

Headline Stress Disorder. Yes it’s a real thing! And you heard it here first! But help is at hand for dealing with anxiety attacks.

The news coverage this year has made the general public feel dazed and even plunged into anxiety and panic, according to an article for The National Center for Biotechnology Information. This psychological disorder caused by too much news coverage was first defined by psychologist Dr Steven Stosny as “a high emotional response to endless reports from the news media, such as feeling anxiety and stress.”

Now I want to add a much nicer word to your vocabulary:


I have just finished reading a book called Bruny by Heather Rose. (Fictional novel based Tasmania – highly recommended) which used the word Solastalgia.

Although not in the dictionary yet, it is a form of emotional or existential distress caused by environmental change. It is the lived experience of negatively perceived environmental change. Yes – I’m feeling that one! Aren’t we all?

In 2015, the medical journal The Lancet included solastalgia as “a contributing concept to the impact of Climate Change on Human Health and Wellbeing.” Wikipedia

In other words we get overwhelmed and anxious about – well – everything! And, on the whole, there’s no amount of worrying will change it. ‘It’ being climate change, the invisible danger of COVID 19, on top of the ordinary stresses of life: work, money, relationships, etc. Then add social isolation to this and we are experiencing solastalgia.


So how do we deal with an anxiety attack? Worrying about something we can do nothing about doesn’t help. It just makes us feel worse. Being mindful – thinking about the present moment – is one way to help with this. Sometimes though, this is easier said than done.

Our bodies reflect our mindset and vice versa. When we feel low we tend to crumple up physically. We don’t stand tall and feel confident. So, stand tall and lift your chin so that you’re looking slightly above the horizon. The top part of the Superman/woman pose! If you’re on your own (best not to do this in public) you can actually stand like that for a couple of minutes. Legs apart, hands on hips and chin up. Difficult to validate feeling low in that pose.

If that’s not enough, then add a voice over. Whenever we’re feeling low, we also have a voice in our head. Our thoughts create our emotions. So that voice in your head that’s saying, I hate this. I’m overwhelmed. I can’t do this any more. What’s the point! now needs to be in a Billy Connolly voice. Or an Elmer Fudd voice. Or whatever silly voice makes you laugh.

It’s very difficult for the brain to hold onto anxiety and fun at the same time. Fun wins out!

Once your physiology changes by changing where your chin is (above the horizon) and your inner voice makes you laugh – in 30 seconds your Solastalgia will lift and life won’t seem as bleak in that moment.

So next time you tell me you’re dealing with an anxiety attack, don’t be offended when I say, “Oh well, chin up!”

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