News Fatigue and Coping with the Stress
During this time of uncertainty, the fact we live in a world where there are 24-hour news channels and most of us have internet access in the palm of our hands is proving to be detrimental to our mental health. A recent study showed that at least 68 percent of people suffer from what is called “news fatigue” and that number was before all the recent events occurred causing most of us to be stuck at home following orders to not go and socialize.
There are many ways consuming too much news affects our mental state. One of the main ways is known as “headline stress disorder.” When our minds are bombarded with multiple headlines, especially for things on as grand a scale as we are facing right now, we are made to feel powerless. On top of this feeling of helplessness, being shown sensationalized headlines over and over can make us feel like the safe areas of our brain which we create to remain happy are being attacked and let down. This can not only cause us to worry and become depressed about the things in the news but also other unrelated things in our own lives.
One of the easiest ways to cope with news fatigue is simply turning it off. This, unfortunately, is much easier said than done. Almost like telling someone suffering from depression to simply be happy, some of us are hardwired to seek out not only news but negative news. The key is to be able to recognize when the headlines are really adversely affecting our moods and knowing good ways to change that. One technique is the “APPLE” method.
Note when you notice a shift in your mood and look at what is causing it.
Focus on your breathing and begin to calm your mind.
Step Away from what is causing your anxiety and remind yourself that not only all thoughts are true. Sometimes worrying can trick your mind.
Imagine your negative thoughts floating away as you come back down and continue to mindfully breathe.
Look at alternative activities you can do in order to brush away the negative impact the news is having on you.
Another important thing you can do in order to help cope with news fatigue is to truly choose to take control of what and how you consume your news. Limit it to a certain time during the day, not the morning when you first wake up or night right before bed. Only look at the news that has a direct impact on things you enjoy such as sports or related to a hobby.
The news is all around us and can feel like an attack on our brain. Being able to know when we are being negatively affected and taking steps to change those thoughts is key to being able to navigate the world we are currently in.