Nathalie Krahe works as a qualified psychologist in Frankfurt am Main.

© dpa / Simone Bauch/dpa-tmn

It won’t leave you unscathed. “From a psychological point of view, you should take breaks when taking in information, but especially when taking pictures,” advises psychologist Nathalie Krahe from the Professional Association of German Psychologists (BDP) in an interview.

How do you cope with what you hear and stressful images to protect your mental health?

Natalie Krahe: When you see a post with disgusting and gruesome images, it’s not uncommon to have to search for more information, articles, or posts. Because you can’t believe it, you look for confirmation and even more photos and information about it. This endless reading of negative news is also called doomscrolling, consisting of the English “doom” or “doom” (“doom”) and moving around the screen (“scrolling”).

The psychologist offers three solutions:

  • 1. Hide images
    To be on the safe side, don’t escalate disturbing images on social media with even more impressions. Because images are much more about emotion than factual information. If you notice that the images are too upsetting for you, it is better to look for media that present this in a less bloodthirsty manner. Because often there are enough images in your head. No need for real horror. To calm your inner life again, you can also switch to non-image media such as podcasts or radio.
  • 2. Involve trusted people
    Connect with people you can trust and share emotions with. This gives you the opportunity to express and acknowledge your despair at what you saw. You can ask: “How do you deal with this? How do you deal with this?
  • 3. Motives for questions
    Anyone who follows certain groups on channels should always ask themselves: “Who is interested in sharing certain images?” Do I want to support this? If not, then don’t share it. But that doesn’t mean you don’t consume information and news anymore—after all, they’re important for forming opinions.

Sometimes, when forming opinions, positions arise that are incompatible. How do we deal with different points of view in partnerships and among friends, acquaintances or colleagues?

We already know this from the worst times of the pandemic. People were tested, vaccinated or not vaccinated. But unlike Corona, we have a different dynamic now. We already had certain preferences and interests with other people before we developed a position on the current wars.

And here the psychologist has three possible solutions:

  • 1. Are there no other topics?
    So you can switch to a lot of other topics if you know you can’t reach each other about current conflicts. However, then the other person must be willing to switch to evasive topics.
  • 2. Is it about opinion or about being right?
    The difficulty with disagreement is that it is usually not about opinion at all, but about how right one is. If you realize this difference, a completely different door will open for you. How about the question: “What are your arguments for this view? How did you come to her? Then you may ask yourself, “What brought me to my position?”
    If another person’s opinion hasn’t been formed by just five Tiktok videos, you can definitely take a few steps back and ask yourself, “Would I have come to that opinion then?”
  • 3. Is war the only conflict?
    There is another aspect of disagreement. It often happens that depending on how we feel that day, we have already given up frustration five times – be it due to family stress or overwork. When the topic of war is raised with all the emotions, energies flow into conflict, as if into the only stimulus that was still missing.

If there are heated debates over the assessment of the war in Ukraine or the Middle East, how can you competently interrupt the conversation so that all participants come out “okay”?

There is no golden rule for this. If you have already realized five times that you cannot come to a common denominator, you can agree to leave the topic aside. You can say something like: “I have my position, you have yours. And how can we live with this? I suggest we leave the topic aside. Emotions must have run away. Let’s take all the grievances back.”

“It’s the ‘I want to be right’ ego that prevents you from tolerating different positions.”

And you have to understand: calling someone stupid because of different positions is not growing up. It is the ego “I want to be right” that does not allow a person to tolerate different positions. (dpa/tar)

To the individual

  • Nathalie Krahe is a qualified psychologist and provides consultations, coaching and workshops, among other things.

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