1. Take a walk. Getting out into the fresh air and just being alone helps. It's even better if you can spend time in a more secluded area as opposed to a city. There's something about getting back to nature that offers a calming feeling.
2. Stop watching television for a few days. Don't watch the news. Also, make sure your Internet homepage isn't a news site. Don't listen to the radio either unless it's a station that doesn't ever report ugly news. I understand this is difficult and many people would have trouble not staying up to date on current events but when those current events cause me a lot of stress and anxiety, I'd prefer to just ditch it altogether. If it makes you feel better you can ask a friend or family member to alert you if something you really NEED to know occurs - school closing, severe weather, economic collapse, zombie apocalypse... you get the idea.
3. Take a shower. Cry while you're in there if you have to. If something I've just heard has seriously upset me, sometimes I just feel the need to entirely cleanse myself of the whole thing. I couldn't possibly be the only person who does this. There are times when I just can't hold back the tears and besides, I've always felt much better after a good cry anyway.
4. Seek out inspirational messages and look for the good news. There are a couple websites that I like and they report nothing but uplifting, good news. A little time reading The Good News Network and Happy News can make a huge difference in the way I feel about the world.
Most importantly, we need to understand that no matter how horrible things seem we need to avoid letting ourselves get so absorbed into it. While it's impossible (and impractical) to entirely separate ourselves from the world we live in, sometimes a little break from reality is exactly what we need to remain optimistic, stay focused on living a happy life, and restore our faith in humanity.
Remember those commercials where the stressed lady cries out "Calgon, take me away!"? What's your "Calgon"? What do you do when you need a break from reality?