Repeated Exposure to Negative News, Creates Adverse Health Effects
Feeling a little polluted by all of the bad news lately? You're not alone! Studies have shown that repeated exposure to negative news increases stress levels, and can cause long-lasting health effects related to undue stress and anxiety. Repeatedly witnessing violence and negative situations erodes our sense of security and creates strong emotions like anger, fear, and helplessness. Our natural tendency toward empathy means that often we share in the anguish of those experiencing negative events, even if the events are far-removed and very unlikely to happen in our lives. And while empathy is absolutely a useful state, constant encounters with negative news can lead to compassion burn-out!
What’s The Solution, If It’s Not Sticking Your Head in the Sand?
So we know that watching every tragedy in the world is going to negatively affect our psyches. But sticking your head in the sand and avoiding all the news you can isn't really a solution either. You have to carve out a middle ground. Remember that there are many good things happening in the world every day, and seek out information on those stories! It's still important to understand what's happening across the globe, but you can make sure to balance the bad with the good.
Finding Positive News Networks
Find positive news networks (there are several resources on the internet—check out www.Good.is and www.goodnewsnetwork.org for a start). Instead of watching toxic TV news networks that spin stories to instill fear and shut down discussion, seek out news programs that look into negative events with deep, thoughtful coverage that challenges viewers to form their own opinions and bring positive solutions to the table.
The power of positivity is immense—find ways to immerse yourself in good news!
Search out “good news only” news networks.
Create a network of friends and family focused on finding and sharing good news.
Make good news a regular part of your day—sign up for emails or digests that automatically deliver good news to you, and make time to purposely read or watch good news.
Be ruthlessly critical of mass media news sources you consume, and weed out any that use fearmongering/scaremongering tactics.
Set personal limits on the amount of news you consume overall, and check in with yourself regularly to see how the “news” is affecting your daily life.
Brush up on positive coping strategies, relaxation techniques, and stress management skills so you're well-prepared to safeguard your health.
Tell your local media outlets about any good news stories you find in your community—many stations take viewer tips!
Candia Lea Cole
Founder Eco-Learning Legacies, LLC