Our world is more connected than it’s ever been. In an instant, we can know what’s happening across the street or across the world. The ability to remain informed is empowering, but it can quickly become overwhelming as well. With every news alert, stress levels can spike, worry can increase, and your mental health can be negatively impacted. So how can you stay informed and also stay sane?
Limit your exposure
Cognitive scientist Jim Davies prescribes no more than four minutes of news each day. “The news has an incentive to get as many eyeballs or ears as possible,” Davies says. “Networks tend to put out what people will consume, not what’s important to know.”
The constant swirl of negative news and attention-grabbing headlines—both on TV and on social media—are not intended to solely keep you informed; they’re in the business of making money. By cutting down your exposure to news sites and social platforms, you can remain informed on the most important topics of the day while avoiding being overwhelmed by every story.
Accept what you cannot change
Some stories leave you with the feeling there must be something you can do to change the outcome. But it’s important to keep perspective and accept what you can and cannot change. If the news is full of government corruption and partisan fighting, remember that you can’t march into Congress, but you can vote and show kindness to those that think differently than you.
Don’t let the headlines rule your life. Take time to eat regular meals, get rested, continue activities you enjoy, and spend time with people you love. By taking care of yourself, you can feel more equipped in the face of bad news and better manage your reaction to challenging times.
If you continue to be overwhelmed by the state of the world, reach out for help. The trained counselors and various support groups here at Valley Oaks Health can work with you to find ways of coping and building better habits.