It’s more difficult today not to know what’s going on in the world. From print sources to online media, to 24/7 radio and TV news stations, everybody is working to keep us informed about the news. And it turns out that’s not always a good thing.
While you may think it’s important to stay up-to-date, when so much news, and in such detail, comes at us every day it can have a negative effect. One recent survey found more than half of Americans reporting that the news caused them stress, made them anxious, tired and even unable to sleep at times.
And yet we can’t seem to stay away. That same survey found that one in ten adults checks the news every hour and that some 20% of us constantly monitor our social media feeds.
One problem with all this news is that not all of it is what we really need to know. Cable news networks must fill up 24 hours each day and do so by first reporting a story, then repeating and emphasizing often-disturbing details, and next assembling a panel to analyze it in minute detail.
In addition, the news being reported, especially of disasters of any sort, tends to be much more visual than ever. The TV and online news are filled with not only professional video of events but often also include smartphone videos and audio clips that can have an extremely strong impact on viewers as we are drawn closer into the disaster or other events.
A first step in trying to be less affected by the news being delivered is to become more aware of how a news event changes your mood or makes your thoughts more negative. If you find yourself becoming more anxious or stressed as you watch the news, take a break and turn to a more positive activity.
You can also cut back on how much news you let into your life. No one needs constant news alerts on their phone, or to have a 24-hour news channel constantly in the background.
Experts recommend limiting your consumption of the news to one block of time each day. Maybe watch a news update at lunch, or before dinner. While it’s a good thing to be aware and informed, it’s not a good thing when too much news is negatively affecting your life and health.
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This article is provided by the American Counseling Association. Visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org.