1) The parallels between anxious ideas and immune system threat prediction (discussed at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22475370)
2) The game theory of determining which imagined threats are worth our attention (discussed at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22760540).
Thoughts and feedback welcome as always :)
Conversely, people who remain positive and can isolate negative news to external, transient events are less anxious and end up healthier and happier. That might be contrary to what is actually happening; evidence shows realists tend to be pessimists.
An extreme optimist might say they're just another bad-luck event from 2020 (transience) that'll be sure to cause societal reform (positive outlook) and it doesn't have anything to do with their behaviour (externalising).
A realist on the other hand would recognise that the riots are a sign of a deep rooted problem with American society, that the riots may not lead to immediate reform but have the possibility to act as catalyst for changing some things that are wrong with society. Depending on who the person is, they may recognise they could be doing something to help with the problem.
An anxious person would take the negative aspects of a realist's position and make them personal, important and extrapolate out in time and domain. They might think the riots highlight how deeply racist humans are by nature (personalising & extrapolating), that the riots will cause economic instability or violence that will affect the person's life (extrapolating and importance), or that there's really nothing this person can do to change anything (generally feeling helpless).
This subject, at least to me, calls into question the behavior associated with recent events. The subjects of police brutality, civil rights, systemic racism, and so forth are much older than two weeks. I appreciate there are people and groups who have been actively working for years to raise awareness of these concerns, and then there is everybody else. Many people in that second category are crazy impassioned about these subjects as seen in both HN activity as well as the protesting and riots seen in the media. If this segment of people are honestly that concerned and these subjects were clearly concerns for more than two weeks ago then were these peoples’ level of concern then? I suspect this sudden call to concern is more the result of contagious group behavior dynamics and social psychology than a premeditated cognitive concern of independent consideration.