The news has been how most people get their daily information for centuries. Over the years, the rollercoaster of global life has been documented in newspapers, broadcasted over the airwaves, televised, and delivered on the internet. To some extent, many of us shape our worldview according to the news we take in. Throughout an exceptionally volatile 2020 and into this year, it can sometimes seem as though the bad news pours relentlessly into your head. This has caused even the most veteran news-watchers to become daunted, anxious, and depressed. The constant stream of negative and demoralizing information has the power to play a major role in your mental health.
The media we take in every day can have a deep impact on our thinking, behavior, and emotions. Throughout the pandemic, more people than ever have fallen into the habit of paying constant attention to the news, at once stimulated and drained by endless stories about COVID-19, political happenings, and the challenges facing our country. While it may seem responsible to stay up to date, engaging in the ceaseless hamster wheel of information can take a toll on your physical, emotional, and mental health.
It’s been almost a whole year since the beginning of the global pandemic, and the stress has simply continued to pile up. Negative headlines get significantly more attention from viewers, which is why it may seem like you rarely see any positive news – and there has been no shortage of negativity to write about. Staying tuned in to every story as the news gets worse can disrupt your sleeping and eating habits, making you less emotionally stable. Having to constantly worry about your health and the health of your loved ones is a source of extreme, ever-present stress for many people. In addition, subjecting yourself to a steady stream of disheartening ideas can sap your motivation and make you view the world with a sense of cynicism and hopelessness.
When you consume negative information, your sympathetic nervous system causes your body to release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This is your body’s reaction to a crisis. Stressful news can cause you to experience uncomfortable physical symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, depression, and gut problems. Between mental and physical symptoms, watching too much of the news can cause you to live in a state of constant worry and impending doom.
It can be easy to develop a habit of being constantly tuned in without even realizing it. Some people may often use the news as background noise, barely noticing that it’s affecting them. Making the active decision to curtail your news intake can noticeably improve your life; most of what we consume in life is better when done in moderation. It’s important to stay informed, just not at the cost of your well-being. Life may become easier for you if you can get the information that you need to stay informed and protect yourself and then turn off the channel.
For some, however, it may be more difficult than simply turning off the television. One of the first steps you can take to separate yourself from the nonstop news is to stop streaming live broadcasts on your computer or phone. Take out 30 minutes each day to do your social media scrolling and news intake, and then stop. This will allow you to take control of the information you choose to consume without becoming lost. You can even schedule a time each day to allow yourself to be concerned. Giving yourself this time can help you manage symptoms of anxiety and depression that stem from hyperconnectivity. Try scheduling your news time far from your bedtime, allowing your body and mind time to wind down after taking in stressful content.
When intentionally reforming your relationship with the news, be fastidious in seeking out reliable sources of information. Focus on finding outlets that you know to be credible and who employ unbiased, experienced reporters. National and local news channels don’t have to be your only sources in 2021. From podcasts to newsletters to highly educated friends and family, we are more awash in information than ever before. Considering your sources can help to filter out needlessly depressing or aggravating stories. Talking to your friends and family about current events can also allow you to become more comfortable with analyzing the world around you and discussing differing opinions without bias or agenda.
The ongoing rollercoaster of emotions that was 2020 and the continuing pandemic have caused many people to seek some semblance of control by refusing to step away from the news. This behavior has the power to harm the mental health of millions of people across the country. The news is everywhere: our phones, computers, televisions, at work, and in conversations with nearly everyone we talk to. While you can’t fully escape it, you do have the power to control how much of it you consume. Moderating your intake of news, especially negative stories, can make you feel happier and more stable. If the endless news cycle has become a source of negativity in your life, reach out to Kimberly Center in Fort Myers, Florida. We provide personalized treatment and care for mental health problems like depression and anxiety, addiction, and substance abuse. To learn more about how our services can help you, reach out to us at (855) 452-3683.