It is important to keep up with the latest news from Australia and around the world, to know what is going on and how your life may be impacted. However, the constant stream of bad news seems to invade every moment of your day. News is readily available on more platforms today than ever before. Both professional news journalists and anyone with a smartphone are reporting the news. Everyone is ready to broadcast the latest world events in real time.
However, the constant streaming of negative news is having an impact on your mood and causing damage to your mental and physical wellbeing.
Forget the overwhelming events of 2020, you are still left with a barrage of unsettling news stories that are constantly paraded in front of you. Whenever you read a newspaper, turn on the TV, tune into the radio or your go to social media platform – accidents, violence, terrorism, civil wars, political turmoil, wars and even local neighbourhood events. All of which will leave you with a change of mood and weigh on your mind long after you turn the channel.
This type of news can become addictive. You want to know more and more about what is happening in your world. But like all addictions it can leave you with the physical side affects of stress such as tense muscles, tightness in the stomach, chest, shoulders and jaw. Or you may suffer more chronic illness because of the strong connection between your mind, body and soul.
This in turn leaves you feeling emotionally exhausted because you also have your daily life challenges to manage and cope with. You lose the ability to think clearly on matters that would normally be easy to decide upon. All this can lead to long term illness such as depression, anxiety, exhaustion and in extreme circumstances – burnout.
So what can you do?
It is not possible to avoid the news completely, but you can limit your exposure.
Shutting out the news will not make you forget about it as your mind will keep wandering back onto a particular topic until you make sense of it or even de-sensitised to it. Your mind will still be churning over those events all day and into the night – causing disruption to your sleep.
Start small and turn off news alerts and buy an old fashioned alarm clock.
Why buy an alarm clock? Most people use their smart phone as an alarm. So, the first thing that happens when you hit snooze is that you tend to scroll through your alerts to check what the latest is in the world of news. This exposes you to bad news and can set the tone for the rest of your day.
Try and get into the habit of Carrying your phone in your bag or put it on silent when in your pocket so you are not distracted by the constant alert tones. Make specific times during the day for when you will catch up on the news. Preferably at a time when your mind and body are in a relaxed state.
To achieve a relaxed state, mindfulness activities like meditation are a way of bring you back to the present moment. If meditation is not your thing, there are other alternatives which will have the same calming affect. Pick an activity you enjoy; walking, reading, playing with the dog or children, anything that allows your mind to focus on something other than bad news.
Spend time just focusing on that activity which brings you happiness and allow yourself to settle into a state of calmness. Your mind and body will become relaxed and you will be more attuned to deal with the next alert of bad news that pops up in life.