They say that you should stay informed and try to consume the news, and this is true. You can learn what is going on around you, you can be aware of a change you can make, and you can be informed on the latest breakthroughs. However, is too much news consumption bad?
Yes, it can be, especially with how the news is presented these days. Click-bait headlines designed to scare or anger. Constant rumors of war. Terrorism. The impression that the world is falling apart. And worse of all, it’s hard to escape. You go somewhere and see a cable news broadcast. You go on social media and everyone is sharing provocative headlines, with none of them reading the articles. If you’re prone to anxiety, news can make it worse.
How the News Affects You
World news can make you upset because you can’t do anything about it. If there is a beheading happening across the world, you can’t do anything about it. Local news can make you scared as well. If there is a murderer on the loose, you may lock yourself in the house for fear of your own life. News also brings uncertainty, and as we fear the unknown, it can make the situation worse.
People consume the negative, so many news outlets will present negative stories that may exaggerate what’s really going on. This can make the impression that the sky is falling. While we should be aware of the negative parts of our society, we should also be aware that the news media tends to overexpose and exaggerate.
For example, in the US, the murder rate has been going down. However, if you watched the news, you may not know that. The only things they cover are shootings and violence. The news knows that if it bleeds, it leads, and they can portray the world as more dangerous than it really is.
Too much exposure to negativity can make you sensitive to it, or make you desensitized, where you don’t feel anything, no matter how heinous the crime is.
What You Can Do to Stop It
You should be aware of what’s going on in the world, but if the news is always making you anxious, you may want to think twice about where you get it. Here are some ways you can improve your situation.
- Concentrate on one outlet. Perhaps get your news only from local sources, as they have the most impact on you. You can’t stop killings from across the world, but you can be able to make changes in your own community, which can have a rippling effect.
- Clean out your social media. Unfollow people who are always sharing and drumming up fear.
- Try to go for news sources that don’t use click-bait headlines and report the facts as objectively as possible. While no news sources is 100 percent free of bias, you can easily spot sources that are just trying to make you mad or afraid.
- Consume positive news in addition to negative news.
- Reduce how much news you consume.
If you’re still having trouble with the news, you may need to seek help from a psychiatrist or a therapist. They can help you learn techniques to not let the news get to you. If your media-induced anxiety is due to another factor, they can help you find that factor and help to treat it.
News is like food. It’s essential to have, but eating too much or consuming the wrong thing can make your body worse.
About the author: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.