Social Learning of Fear: Reducing Your Fear of the News

Contributor(s): Andrea Uptmor, MA, MFA
man looking anxious as he looks at his cell phone

Woman stands by window with clasped hands looking worriedLinda is unemployed and stays awake at night worrying about how to afford food for her teenaged children. Juan recently received a diagnosis of lymphoma and fears not living long enough to see his children grow up. Rick heard about a man his age whose car was hijacked at a gas station, and now he is afraid to drive to work. After Maria read a news story about a kidnapping in another city, she began having panic attacks while dropping her daughter off for school.

It’s easy to see what all of these stories have in common. Fear is one of the most universal human experiences, a feeling that ties all humans together. It’s deeply uncomfortable and rooted in uncertainty—will I be safe? Will my loved ones be happy and healthy? How much pain will I have?