Coping With News-Related Anxiety
At the best of times, reading the news can cause extra stress. When the headlines are alarming, many of us experience anxiety levels so high that we can have difficulty coping. How can we control our anxiety when the media blasts us with bad news?
It feels as though we have entered an era of bad news. Every day for the past year, there is news about the Covid-19 pandemic, civic unrest, failing economies, and impending doom.
Of course, journalism intends to inform us about possible health and civil dangers and empower us to avoid certain risks. Still, these days we are getting tons of bad news, leading to tremendous stress and anxiety.
What Is Headline Stress Disorder?
While news-related anxiety has probably existed for centuries, the regular availability of news in the digital age worsened the situation.
When people started reporting tension and anxiety caused by persistent negative news stories, some mental health experts even gave this phenomenon a name. Headline Stress Disorder describes the intense feelings of worry and helplessness triggered by the exhausting cycle of news content.
Moreover, researchers found that women are affected even more by headline stress. They are better than men at remembering negative news for more extended periods and are more stress reactive after receiving this news.
Most of us probably want to stay informed, but the reality is that it is causing us more stress. So, what can we do if the constant cycle of negative news interferes with our mental well-being?
Take A Break From The News
For some, the anger, gloom, and feeling of despair caused by constant exposure to stressful news can hinder them from living a productive life. The best approach may be to step away and take a break from these reports, at least for a while.
For people already living with mental health issues like Depression, Anxiety or PTSD, avoiding the news altogether may be the only way to cope with news-related anxiety.
It is more important to be able to rise from bed than to be on top of the latest news.
Switch To Other Activities
New activities will take your mind off the news and help to regulate your emotions. Allowing your mind to step into other healthy activities will create new and positive connections. Get out into nature, exercise, read some books, listen to music, engage in face-to-face conversations, and avoid screens for a while.
Read enough to stay informed, but be mindful of the stress that news may cause.
Focus On What You Can Solve
Negative news can make people feel powerless and defeated. Another way of coping with news-related anxiety is to focus on issues that you can help solve.
We can all do a little something to make the world better by contributing to positive changes in ourselves, our families, and our communities.
Research has shown that getting involved in the community by volunteering for local causes can boost your sense of well-being and create a feeling of purpose and identity.
Search For Positive Versions Of The News
British researchers found that when we consume negative news, we tend to worry and formulate worst-case scenarios about other unrelated issues in our own lives. By making an effort to find positive news, you can counteract news-related anxiety.
Although we must know what is wrong in the world to fix it, it is also vital to understand what is good in the world to stay hopeful and motivated.
We need to look for more constructive journalism. Traditional news tells us about trauma and points out how we are involved, but it doesn’t give us the next step. On the other hand, constructive journalism focuses more on possible solutions to ongoing problems and attempts to show a different side to the story rather than focusing on the problems themselves. For example, check out the award-winning site Good Things Guy for your daily news intake.
We need to question our relationship with the news. Why do we need it, and what do we hope to get from it? And to make positive changes in the world, we must always prioritise our mental well-being.
Get Help For Anxiety
Consider the help of a Mental Health Professional if anxiety affects your daily life. They can help you identify the causes of your stress and better manage your mental health.
For assistance with your mental health, call Life Path Health’s 24/7-Helpline on 072-7900-506.