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It’s easy to turn away from another news article or social media post about war and violence. After all, we’re constantly bombarded with images of traumatic events when we’re online.
We have been used to watching news about Ukraine war. The first time we might have seen a missile strike a city/building it would have disturbed us but the 2nd time our reaction would have been less extreme.
What is Compassion fatigue?
Compassion fatigue is a state of emotional exhaustion and burnout that can result from continuously caring for and empathizing with others who are experiencing pain or suffering. It causes us to lose our capacity to react and help those in need.
What leads to Compassion fatigue?
Experiments have been conducted illustrating how violence in digital media formats like video games and films can desensitize people’s responses to suffering or violence in real life.
The consequence of seeing violent images is that you become numb to it and you think violence is no big deal. The real-world consequences are that you’re less likely to help someone who’s a victim of violence
Framing negative images and messages of refugees in the media opens the door for audiences to lose empathy for them or even have hatred for refugees.
The psychological mechanism behind compassion fatigue is desensitization. Desensitization to violence and trauma can be an important adaptive strategy for people whose work involves frequent exposure to traumatic events, like soldiers, aid workers, and doctors.
How to reverse compassion fatigue?
Use social media to create empathy and compassion among people, taking care of ourselves is essential to avoid burnout, practice mindfulness: Mindfulness meditation
Seek supporting from professionals and taking time off can also help.