Does turning on the news these days leave you stressed out? Between global pandemics, natural disasters, and political turmoil, it seems like there’s always something to worry about. All the stress can take a toll on your mental health.
While it’s important to stay informed, it’s important to recognize that negative news can harm your mental health. Can you find a balance between staying up to date and taking care of yourself? Is there a way to reduce the impact the news has on your life? Consider the following solutions to these questions.
Negative Impact of the News
The news can have a damaging impact on your mental well-being for several reasons. First, it’s full of negativity. If you’re constantly bombarded with images and stories of death, destruction, and violence, it can lead to feelings of anxiety and despair.
Second, the news can trigger your “fight or flight” response. When you see images of disorder or danger, your body releases stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. This can lead to physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, and difficulty sleeping.
Third, the news can make you compare your life to others. If you’re constantly seeing stories of people who are richer, thinner, happier, or more successful, you can get lost in envy and insecurity.
Fourth, news programs can make you feel powerless. When you see stories of people suffering from diseases or social injustice, it’s difficult to feel you can make a difference.
The potential negative harm of watching the news is obvious. So how can you reduce its impact?
5 Tips for Reducing Stress From the News
It’s important to remain informed about current events, but it’s also crucial to take care of yourself. The key is to lessen the amount of stress you experience from viewing the news. Here are a few tips:
1. Limit Your Exposure
You don’t have to watch the news all day, every day. Choose one or two times when you’ll catch up on the day’s events. Then stick to that schedule. Set a time limit of 30 minutes or fewer for each session.
2. Avoid Negative News
When the news is making you anxious or depressed, try to focus on the positive stories. Look for stories about people helping others, pets being rescued, or acts of kindness. Many news sites offer sections for good news and human-interest stories that will help lift your spirits.
3. Take a Break
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the news, take a break. Go for a walk, read a book, or watch a movie. Do something that will refresh your mind. By distancing yourself from the news cycle, you give your brain and body a chance to rest.
4. Talk to Someone
Many news stories include pictures of families, children, or animals suffering. It’s no wonder you feel stressed out. To get some relief, talk to someone you trust about what you’re seeing and how it’s making you feel. They might be able to offer some perspective or support. Talking about the stories causing you anxiety also helps you to look at them objectively.
5. Get Involved
News cycles featuring civil unrest or acts of violence can make you feel helpless. To regain your strength, find a way to get involved in the issues that matter to you. Donate to a charity, volunteer your time, or write to your representatives. Even if you’re far away, there may be ways you can support a cause that’s important to you.
Staying informed is important, but it’s also important to protect your mental health. By following these tips, you can experience less stress from watching the news.
Take Care of You First
It’s easy to get caught up in the constant cycle of bad news. Whether it’s politics, natural disasters, or just the general state of the world, all the negativity can get the better of you. But, as you know, you can’t control the news, but you can choose how you respond to it.
Instead of letting the news control you, take some time for yourself. Do something that makes you happy. Disconnect from the news feed by spending time on a task you love. Here are a few things you can try.
• Paint a picture
• Learn a song
• Sit outside and listen to nature
• Spend time with loved ones
• Practice self-care
What happens in the news is outside of your control, but how you react to it is up to you. By focusing on you and your own happiness, you can reduce the load of anxiety caused by seeing the news. Less stress leads to a better mindset. Make a choice to step away from the news and protect what’s most important — your mental health.