The Jakarta Post
Not all doom & gloom: Taking a break from the news can be healthy, say experts. (Shutterstock/Kaspars Grinvalds)
In today’s world, it’s incredibly important to stay informed, but with the barrage of news and information coming at us from all sides, it can be hard to keep from drowning in it. Devastating stories fill our timelines and our news feeds at all hours of the day, which have led many to feel hopeless and overwhelmed.
Though it can feel like giving up if we take a break from ingesting all this information, experts are saying that occasionally putting news consumption on hold is key.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Jana Scrivani told NBC News: “Being tuned in to the 24-hour news cycle may fuel a lot of negative feelings like anxiety, sadness and hopelessness. Subjecting ourselves to an endless barrage of tragedies and trauma can foster a real sense of being out of control.”
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by what’s going on in the world, here are some tips on fighting news-related anxiety.
Firstly, don’t forget to tune in to the good news. While the bad news and tragedies can be deafening at times, make sure to take a break and consume some positive stories. “Without a doubt, there are frightening things going on in the world; however, it's important to remember that bad news does not make up the sum total of a day's events,” said Scrivani.
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Secondly, in order to cut down on sleeplessness, psychologist Dr. Traci W. Lowenthal recommends not tuning into the news before bed, which can lead to an anxiety, which then leads to restlessness.
“I recommend never checking the news before bed," she said. "The truth is, you'll still get information through friends and social media, but in shorter, manageable bursts. If something significant happens in the world, you will still hear [about] it."
Thirdly, instead of turning to Facebook or Twitter for news, try an actual newspaper or magazine. That way, the stories you read is more balanced, and you are not constantly bombarded by the same story everyone you follow tells.
“If you don't feel like reading, I would suggest watching the local newscast. It covers both national news, but also local stories with lower overall emotion,” suggested Dr. Deborah Searcy, a professor at Florida Atlantic University.
Fourthly, if you’re really feeling helpless, create some good in your own community. It can be easy to want to do something for those you see on the news while forgetting about those issues directly around you.
“[What is happening in Texas] can cause us to look for other opportunities where we could be of service. That’s what will help with the feeling of powerlessness,” said Julie Barthels, licensed clinical social worker and co-author of Resilience Revolution: A Workbook for Staying Sane in an Insane World, commenting on the recent news about the US immigration policy.
“Look for what you can do in your area. Is there a foster care center in your community you can help? Call agencies that service this population and say, ‘How can I be of support?’ Imagine the impact we could have if everyone were to take this powerlessness and funnel it into doing something? That’s power,” she said.
Finally, don’t be afraid to delete social media apps from your phone or take a complete break from the news. With everything at our fingertips at every second it can be tempting to always be online and to always stay updated. Taking a break for a couple of days can allow you to recharge enough for you to be a healthy news consumer. (sul/wng)