The news is beneficial and necessary in many ways. Staying informed means knowing about the world around you. It’s about learning facts and understanding the changes occurring in society and culture. It’s about staying on top of science and politics and knowing enough to make informed decisions regarding our own lives.
But what happens when we consume too much news?
A 2011 study confirmed that news programming that primarily depicted adverse events can impact the emotional states of its viewers. These viewers tended to be more anxious and sad than viewers who did not consume as much negative news.
Unfortunately, the news today reports primarily negative news. And negative news can be, at some level, entertaining and addictive — so viewers come back for more.
Does this mean we should avoid news altogether? Not necessarily. It’s essential to stay informed and make safe decisions regarding your personal life. The following are some ways to follow the news and still keep a healthy emotional balance in your life.
Pare Down Your News Consumption
News can be addictive, especially when it makes you feel like there’s a catastrophe waiting to happen at any moment. The reality is, although there may be truth to the dire situations depicted in the news — how much news you digest and where you obtain your news is just as important as the news itself.
Look closely at your news sources. Are all your sources from odd news outlets on Facebook or Twitter? Are they all just different variations of the same story? Curate your news, and pick two of the most valid news outlets. Then limit your news consumption to once a day from these sources.
Balance Negative News with Positive News
If all the news is negative, and sometimes it is, then balance your “news” intake with uplifting stories. Use whatever media you utilize to get your news (print, television, online, etc.) and find stories that make you feel happy. Stories that are not political or health-related are the kind you want.
For instance, did you just watch a half-hour of doom and gloom news? Watch a half-hour about pet adoptions or a story of someone overcoming a life obstacle. Sounds a little cheesy and silly? It should! That’s the point. It’s not quite news, but it will balance your frame of mind.
Ask Yourself, “How Does This Affect My Loved Ones and Me?”
It’s vital to stay informed, especially during an emergency or a crisis. Though sometimes it may be difficult to filter what is important and what is not.
Once you have chosen your valid and vetted emergency news sources (like a state or federal government organization or major news network), ask yourself, “How does this affect my loved ones and me?” Take action on the news to keep your family safe. If the news doesn’t apply to your region or doesn’t affect your immediate family, stay aware but know that you are okay.
Staying on top of the news is part of being an informed citizen. However, it is also essential to take care of our mental health, and not drop down into the rabbit hole of negative news.
In some cases, too much news can cause anxiety and panic attacks. To prevent these situations, we have to remain responsible news consumers and place the news into a reasonable perspective.
If the news is making you feel anxious, CalmiGo can help. CalmiGo is a medication-free way to help calm yourself. Using CalmiGo for three minutes, three times a day can help keep the mind free from panic, giving you clarity and peace of mind.