Instead of feeling informed after watching the news, many people find themselves dealing with stress & anxiety. This is because images of devastation, hostility, and death become embedded in our minds day after day as tragedies play across our screens in real time. These are things that the journal Health Communication discovered in a recent study.
How the News Harms Us
Out of 1,100 people surveyed, 16.5% admit that they become so immersed in the news that it dominates their thoughts and keeps them from being able to focus. Unfortunately, we need this type of purposeful engagement to help us cope and offset stress & anxiety. So it should come as no surprise that three-quarters of those same people said that their mental health suffers and they feel physically ill (as compared to 8% of those who don’t consume the news).
Why Stress & Anxiety Build With News Obsession
This research shows that people who obsessively watch the news are more prone to physical and mental health issues. This is because they’re being bombarded with bad news that leaves them in a “constant state of high alert.”
Unfortunately, once the dramatic videos and inflammatory headlines, we find it harder to turn them off. This is why so many of us continue watching a newscast even though the anchors are repeating themselves without giving any new information.
How to Protect Your Mental Health While Staying Informed
Now that you see that news consumption results in stress & anxiety, you may be tempted to stop watching the news. However, you’re probably wondering how you can do this and still stay informed. There are a few ways of making this possible.
Choose a few places from which to get your news. Try reading a newspaper by quickly skimming through it unless something catches your eye. In doing so, you’ll want to avoid reading those stories where there isn’t any new information (e.g., animal abuse). Your goal is to gain information without being paralyzed by it.
Choose “Healthy” Media
Instead of watching the news on TV, where it’s harder to turn it off, try reading a newspaper that you can easily put down. Doing so will ensure that you’re informed enough to make smart decisions without harming your mental health – something that news on the TV frequently does due to its bold images.
Turn Off the TV When it Starts Feeling Like Too Much
When you start feeling stress & anxiety from the news, it’s time to stop reading and take positive action (e.g., donate, volunteer, protest, vote). Doing so will remind you of your power and how your small actions make a big difference in the world around you. It also helps shift the burden of the bad news onto something that allows you to stop feeling stress & anxiety.
Whether you’re struggling with stress & anxiety from watching too much news or just being overwhelmed with everyday life, contact us at TMS Advantage Clearwater in Clearwater, FL; we’re here for you.
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