While we understand the importance of being informed, the unending news cycle can be emotionally draining and downright exhausting. After the past year and a half, just seeing a breaking news alert pop up on my phone can start panic-induced heart palpitations. Yes, news anxiety is real. Various therapists even coined a term for it: headline stress disorder. If you’re also nodding your head in agreement upon reading this, then we invite you to join us as we aim to seek out healthy ways to deal with the emotional side effects of consuming news media.
But is it possible to be an informed, up-to-date person who cares about what’s going on in the world without losing your mind?
The answer is yes.
Staying sane doesn’t mean squashing out bad feelings or learning to become less emotional about the news we’re consuming either. And it certainly doesn’t mean putting our heads in the sand and avoiding the news altogether.
Read on to discover insight and tips on how to stay informed while protecting your good vibes, too.
Is it possible to stay informed of current events without fueling negative emotions and feelings?
Of course it’s possible — staying informed of current affairs, yet don’t delve into the heaviness they create for too long. It’s perfectly fine to feel sad, angry, or frustrated, but just redirect yourself into a place of gratitude and calmness afterwards.
This is probably the best and only way we can both stay aware of current issues and stay calm within our bodies and minds.
Set aside a designated time for news.
When you carve out a designated space in your schedule to digest news information, you should also give yourself time to reflect and respond to it. Really feel the emotions you have about current events. If you don’t, you may find yourself dealing with it throughout the day. Equally important is developing the skill of being able to “redirect” yourself to a calm, grateful place before going on with your day.
Curate your media stream.
It’s good to remember that the “news” is a business, and some media outlets thrive on playing up disaster, conflict, and scandal. Look to reputable outlets who strive to deliver bipartisan news in a professional manner. It’s also important to make sure that you’re consuming positive stories and information on a regular basis as well. The internet is the best place for good news —uplifting stories that will leave you feeling inspired. Consider consuming your news via email. There are several newsletter that distill the most pressing news items into one daily newsletter. This is such a great way to consume news consciously and not be beholden to the constant alerts and breaking news notifications throughout the day that can shift your mood and distract your focus, and most often in a negative way.
Be mindful of your social media use.
People post their reactions to news on social media almost immediately. It’s wise to limit social media use if you respond to these reactions strongly. Unplugging from social media daily (turning off notifications) is advised. Also consider unfollowing or “seeing less” of contacts who tend to upset you.
Do NOT watch news before bed.
Sleep should be peaceful and a time to relax your brain and body, it shouldn’t be a time to be stressed and anxious. Watching news can often increase levels of the hormone cortisol and keep you up at night. Turning off screens at least one hour before bed helps your brain know it’s time for sleep. And proper amounts of sleep help you process information, handle stress, and live a healthful life.
Studies show that we need nature in our lives. Just spending 20 minutes in a park can make you happier. So, when you’re feeling overwhelmed with current events, go for a walk, hike, or get your feet in the grass or dirt to redirect your emotions and uplift your spirits. Plus, the sun provides the added benefits of vitamin D—a hormone needed to maintain a healthy body and make you happier. There is also a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression and it’s recommended if about 5,000 IUs a day of vitamin D3.
Meditation helps calm the racing thoughts that bad news can invoke. Start by paying attention to your breath or focusing on a calming phrase like, “I am calm and peaceful.”
Repeat it to yourself over and over while in a relaxing position. Your body and mind will thank you. Try these three simple breathwork exercises to keep you calm and manage stress.
Keeping up with current events lets you know what is going on around the world, and therefore lets you learn about different cultures. News stories teach you what is acceptable in some cultures and what is not. They also teach you how different daily life in other cultures can be.
Stay safe, healthy, and live life to the fullest.