Overcoming War Anxiety


The past few weeks have taken a significant emotional toll. It is near impossible to turn on the news or scroll through our social media feeds without coming across a disturbing image or report coming out of the conflict in the Middle East. Ongoing coverage of events in the region, accompanied by images of violence and suffering, has the potential to trigger war anxiety in us all, regardless of how close we may be to the conflict or those involved. In this blog post, we will explore what war anxiety is and how to overcome it in the wake of unimaginable turmoil.


War anxiety, also known as conflict-related anxiety or conflict-induced stress, is a specific form of anxiety that arises in response to the fear, uncertainty, and distress related to war and armed conflicts. It is a natural psychological response to the violence and hostility associated with conflict between nations. It’s important to remember that a certain level of anxiety is often an appropriate response to life’s stressors – though it can become psychologically damaging when left unchecked.


War anxiety can manifest in a number of ways. We may experience heightened anxiety regarding the safety of our loved ones, and find ourselves being able to think about little else. We may feel compelled to stay up-to-date with the constant stream of news, graphic images, and headlines related to the conflict – which can, in turn, create a toxic cycle of anxious feelings given that news that affects us negatively is more likely to be addictive. We can experience physical symptoms, such as restlessness, trouble sleeping, nightmares, or nausea/dizziness. Others, may feel entirely numb.


When our minds are preoccupied by the tragic events of war, or when we experience the physical symptoms of anxiety, there are some strategies that can help you break the cycle of worry.


  1. Mute triggering content
    If you know there are certain words, phrases, or images that trigger your anxiety, consider blocking this type of content in your social media feeds.

  2. Limit media consumption
    Take back control and set clear boundaries for media exposure. Choose specific times to stay informed and avoid doom-scrolling and the 24-hour news cycle.

  3. Connect with others
    Talk to friends and family about your feelings. Sharing your concerns can alleviate the sense of isolation and great comfort can be found in uniting with people who have shared lived experiences.

  4. Get involved with community action
    Volunteer with local groups and organisations working towards peace and conflict resolution. Organise donation drives and support aid initiatives to reaffirm the strength in your community.

  5. Promote dialogue
    Engage in constructive conversations from diverse backgrounds to foster understanding and empathy. Challenge anger with compassion and pay attention to the kindness around you.

  6. Be intentional with social media use
    Social media can be a great platform for self-expression, but contribute to war anxiety if we overload ourselves. Consume social media mindfully, and remember that you are not obliged to post or perform in any particular way.

  7. Seek professional help
    For most people, the symptoms of war anxiety will peak and then gradually pass. However, severe anxiety symptoms may require further attention. If war anxiety is preventing you from living life as you normally would, performing at work or sleeping normally, consider reaching out to a certified counselor to unpack your emotions and learn how to cope with your anxiety in a healthy, judgement-free environment. 


It's important to remember that war anxiety is a natural, human response to witnessing the untold tragedies unfolding before us. While we may not have the power to resolve these conflicts individuals, we can take steps to manage our anxiety and contribute to a more peaceful world. By prioritizing our mental well-being, being mindful of our media exposure, connective with others and our communities, and seeking professional help when necessary, we can find ways to navigate this difficult time with resilience, compassion, and hope for a more peaceful future.