This post contains discussion of suicidal ideation.
News stories outlining murders with dramatic headlines like “Independence Day bloodbath” are a dime a dozen. So common, some people become desensitized to them while others doomscroll and get addicted to the drama.
And yes, unfortunately, people have been shot while going to the grocery store. But there is something deadly than murder that the news does not discuss. Something you need to focus on in order to live a happier, more content and fulfilling life. As you may have guessed from the title, you need to focus on controlling your thoughts.
Here we will talk about perspective and you will learn how to focus your uncontrolled thoughts.
First, let’s talk about murda
If you read the news you are probably used to seeing articles outlining shooting sprees and “murderous weekends.”
News stories about murder are so rampant, and the fear mongering so extreme, there are some people who are afraid to leave their house. If you live in a city like me, you may have friends who will not travel to visit because they are nervous about being murdered by a stray bullet.
But if you check the reality murder rates in the United States are going down. And death due to another kind is growing. In fact, you are almost 2x’s more likely to die this way than to be murdered:
In the US in 2021, there were 26,031 reported homicides and 48,184 reported suicides. Meaning, you are almost 2x’s more likely to die by suicide than to die by murder. Another way to say it is that you are almost 2x’s more likely to take your own life than for someone to take yours.
Some people are afraid to leave their house when the threat is more likely to be in their house. I understand this can sound ominous, but the intention is to give you perspective, not make you afraid of yourself.
The reason murder is alarming is due to self preservation. You want to protect yourself from danger. It makes sense and is completely logical.
Where logic goes out the window is when perception is distorted by the news over-reporting murders. Since you hear about murders often you start to assume they occur more frequently than they do. And since you hear about suicide and other causes of death less frequently you assume they happen less than they do.
With a distorted perception of reality, and in thinking you can be murdered any given minute, you begin to introduce irrational and dysfunctional thoughts into your mindset. Thoughts like “no one is safe,” and “things are hopeless.” It is a negative, continual looping.
While everyone has dysfunctional thoughts to a certain degree, when they are uncontrolled, they become a root cause of depression, anxiety and stress. You start to lose hope and lose your motivation and zest for life.
Correlation and causation
While there is no set cause of suicide, “In interviewing people who have [survived] suicide, what becomes apparent is that suicide in the moment that they attempt to enact it seems to them a very logical solution to their problems.”
Uncontrolled thoughts can lead to distorted thinking and skewed logic. This skewed logic is what brings people to think that dying by suicide is an answer. Over dramatized news stories that paint the world as a negative and hopeless place filled with murderers feeds this skewed logic—as evident in the mental health crisis.
Taking back your power
In order to reduce the skewed thinking (and get out of the negative looping), you can:
- Find perspective
- Find control
- Find peace
I recently moved into a house with a pothole out front. When trucks hit the pothole, the house shakes. Even though I am in remission for c-ptsd, whenever I move to a new house, my ptsd is triggered. I am hyper vigilant of noise, and as you guessed, shaking of houses.
My mind would trick me into thinking the house was shaking long after the truck was gone. To get a better perspective, I took an empty bottle, filled it with about an inch of water, and put it on my desk. I look at the water to disprove my mind’s skewed perspective.
Other ways you can find perspective is by talking to a friend, getting out of the environment (if you can), meditating, taking a walk, looking up facts, reminding yourself of past experiences, and double checking your thought processes for distortions.
When we have a skewed locus of control, we think we can control things we can’t, or that we are responsible for things we aren’t. Although we don’t have the power to control the actions, thoughts or emotions of others, we can control our actions, how we manage our emotions and what thoughts we focus on.
If you think that the world is a dangerous place and there are bad people out there, focus on those thoughts and bring them to a more neutral place. Yes, there are people who do bad things, but there are also amazing people who do great things.
If you find yourself overwhelmed with fear or sadness or a loss of hope, look at positive news stories.
Peace can be found in perspective and control. It can also be found in finding ourselves. Your peace can be different than someone else’s, and it all comes down to reconnecting with who you are without all the influence of society. What do you truly like? Do you want to knit, paint, color or do something silly?
There are a lot of wholesome things you can do that do not cost a thing and will bring you more benefit than anything money can buy. Things that will bring you closer to who you are and a peace that will help shield you from the negative suggestions of the world.
My father is my attempted murderer. As a child I used to hide in fear. But I found my voice, and I am using it to help others overcome negative mind patterns to live a happier life. If that isn’t beautiful, then I don’t know what the fuck is.
Life is beautiful even though you are influenced to believe it’s not (and the news gives you constant “evidence” to support that belief). But a belief is just a thought you’ve had repeatedly and you can change your beliefs with the right perspective.
Know that you are not alone. Negative thinking can take over even the most intelligent and rational minds. And know that the world has beauty. There are amazing people out there. I know, I’ve met them. You are probably one of them too. You just need to get out of your current perspective to see it!
Remember, finding perspective is a learned trait, the more you practice the easier it becomes.
If you are having suicidal thoughts there are people who would love to help and support you. You can find a helpline here or by calling 988.
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