With technology at our fingertips, the news can feel almost inescapable. At every corner of the universe there seems to be a pop up or mention of something terrible happening in the world. How do we manage our consumption of news without over-stimulating ourselves?
Watching or reading the news can feel addictive in some ways; and like any addiction, it has a negative impact on your physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Consuming constant gloom and doom information can manifest itself into obstructive tensions in the stomach, chest, shoulders, and often in the form of muscular knots. If you believe in the strong connection between mind and body, you know that what affects the body will also affect the mind and vice versa. Meaning that consuming this gloom and doom information on a daily basis can affect your ability to focus and think clearly, and hinder your capacity to cope with regular challenges in your personal life.
So how do we learn to balance just enough news that won't over-stimulate us into the pit of depression, anxiety, and exhaustion?
Avoidance is not the answer.
Shutting off all bad can actually hurt our mental and emotional well-beings even more. This can cause you to go into denial and not learn how to accept reality for what it is, making it even more difficult to cope with negative information thrown your way unexpectedly.
Here are 5 tips for coping with the negative news:
Mix hard news with lifestyle
If you always start your day by watching or reading the latest news stories, make sure to take the time to watch or read about things that inspire you. Find bloggers, magazines, or a podcast that focus on your hobbies and bring you motivation and inspiration. This will dilute negativity with practical information, entertainment and escapism.
Turn off news alerts
Every time you go to pick up your phone, the first thing you see should not be a negative news article. Sure, you can have the news apps or podcasts, but put them on silent and only accessible when you click on the app or link. This way you give your brain a rest with consuming negative information and divert your attention to the present moment.
A very effective way to cope with a negative news story is by taking action. Your act of kindness, compassion, and love for humanity and the world can off-put the negativity. Whether it's donating to different non-profit organizations each month, volunteering, signing a petition, or walking/biking to your destination rather than driving a car; Find your own effective way to take action that leaves you feeling good and making a positive impact in the world.
Make time for yourself
As mentioned above about the negative impacts the news can have on our emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health, it's important to remember self-care. Take time each day to unplug completely from the world. Meditation is an effective tool that can clear your mind and keep you focused on the present moment.
Stop absorbing news before bed
Make an effort to not use your phone or electronics at least an hour before bed. Studies have shown that those who absorb all the atrocities of the world right before they sleep are far more likely to have a broken sleeping pattern.
"Self-care: doing things that make you feel more like yourself." - Robyn Conley Downs
Breathe Magazine: Stay at home edition