3 Ways to Cope With Anxiety from the 24/7 News Cycle
Technology and social media have made it seem that we should all know what is going on in the world at all times. However, having a news cycle that is churning out new information 24/7 is something fairly new for humans to handle and comprehend. It is completely normal and understandable that some people feel anxiety from staying constantly informed on the latest world tragedies. Below, we will be sharing some ways to cope with anxiety from the 24/7 news cycle. Moreover, we want to emphasize that it is important to stay informed, but it is equally important to take care of your mental health. If you have been feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or powerless after reading the news, follow along for tips to improve your relationship with consuming news. By improving the way you consume news and stay informed, you will actually be able to remain more engaged.
Set Time Limits and Take Breaks
It may seem obvious, but limiting the amount of time you spend looking at news outlets or social media can drastically affect your anxiety levels. To start, set an actual timer for yourself and do not continue scrolling once the timer has gone off. Experiment with different amounts of time until you find your sweet spot. Your ‘sweet spot’ is the point at which you feel informed, but it is not stopping you from being productive or present in other areas of your life. Additionally, you could consider turning off your notifications. The problem is consuming news can become addictive, you may even feel guilty if you aren’t constantly checking in for updates. Notifications further enforce the need to constantly be on top of the news cycle and suck you back in to consume more, even if you have already reached your limit.
With the constant stream of information from news apps and social media apps on our phones, it is a full time job keeping up with everything. For some, the feelings of anger, hopelessness, or powerlessness after reading the news can negatively impact day-to-day productivity. The best way to stick to your limits is to plan other activities regularly that take your attention away from the news. Things such as reading, exercising, spending time outside, or indulging in other hobbies allows your mind to rest and take a break from stress.
Balance Positive and Negative News
Another thing you can do to decrease your anxiety after reading the news is to actively search for positive news roundups. Balancing the negative, tragic world news with positive news may help it all feel less overwhelming. Putting in some extra effort to seek out positive news can also help you feel motivated, inspired, hopeful, and uplifted. While it is important to know what is going wrong in the world so you can do your part to help, it is also important to feed yourself with positive news so you feel motivated to create change.
An older study by the University of Sussex found that when we watch, read, or listen to negative news it can exacerbate our tendency to worry and catastrophize about situations in our own lives, even if they have no relation to the news topics. Moreover, a lot of negative news stories offer no solutions to the problem they are discussing. This leaves us feeling pressured, consciously or subconsciously, to come up with a solution to every problem on our own. No wonder that feels overwhelming and increases anxiety! Remember, the things we surround ourselves with, including the media and news we consume, greatly impact how we function day-to-day.
Focus on What You Can Control
This leads us to focusing on what you can control. If you read an article and you feel particularly drawn to that issue, research actionable items you can take to help. If there is nothing you can do to support a specific issue, try instead to contribute to positive changes happening in your local community or even within yourself. Focusing on things you can actually contribute to can help you feel empowered and hopeful for the future we are all collectively creating. Instead of feeling powerless, harness your strengths and capabilities and funnel that powerlessness into action!
Self-care and Seeking Help
One of the most important ways to cope with anxiety from the 24/7 news cycle is to seek professional help when necessary. Taking care of yourself and your mental health is the most worthwhile investment you will make in your life. Developing skills to manage stress and combat anxiety can help you live a more fulfilling, happy life. Chriselda Santos, licensed psychotherapist and certified life coach, specializes in helping people adopt healthy changes by utilizing their natural strengths and capabilities. She understands the stresses of everyday life and will equip you with the tools to better manage your anxiety and identify your specific anxiety triggers. For more information, or to book an appointment, visit Chriselda’s website.