Watching the news and reading the latest headlines can feel like you’re wading through a cesspool of negativity.
You’re exposed to everything wrong in the world — COVID-19, racial injustices, and horrific crimes — and you might be consuming this daily.
Slowly, your joy turns into irritability. Optimism morphs into hopelessness. And a pessimistic lens distorts your worldview.
But you don’t have to let this negativity consume your daily life. You can still embrace joy. You can experience fulfillment. And you can feel empowered.
The Media-Related Affliction You Might Not Know About
If you thought that watching the news and scrolling through the latest headlines is harmless, think again. When you’re exposed to the media, do you find yourself feeling these emotions?
You might be experiencing what Dr. Steven Stosny calls “headline stress disorder”. Overconsuming all these negative headlines might leave you feeling a “sense of foreboding and mistrust about the future,” he says.
Unfortunately, anxiety from watching the news is only the beginning. The consequences of media overconsumption penetrate much deeper.
The Issue is Deeper than Consumption
Keeping up with the newest tragedies locks you in a reactive state. Your worldview, emotions, and actions are constantly changing with each news update. One study shows that this repeated exposure might trigger “uncontrolled fear, physiological hyperarousal, sleeping difficulties, and fearful thoughts”.
Worst case, you internalize everything you’re consuming. You might watch one news clip about a kidnapping or a crime incident, and your protective and maternal instincts go into overdrive. You could turn into a “helicopter mom” who believes tragedy is around every corner. You begin monitoring every minute of your child’s day. You constantly check in on them. If your child looks up, they’ll see you — hovering and protecting them from every ounce of danger.
As you can see, your media exposure can have significant consequences. YET, there are ways to overcome this.
Here are my tips for staying empowered through self-care and personal growth when you’re feeling overwhelmed by bad news.
Are You Ready to Rise Above the Negative Effects of Watching the News? Here are 4 Tips for Feeling Empowered Again
#1 Go On a Digital Detox
Technology has revolutionized our lives, but it may have had unintended consequences. While a wealth of information is available at your fingertips, this accessibility also tempts you to stay plugged in 24/7.
News clips. Notifications. Social media feeds. Emails. Tweets.
You’re vulnerable to negative news on nearly every digital platform you use. And when headline stress disorder has you locked in a reactive state, you can quickly exhaust your mental and emotional bandwidth.
It’s time to unplug.
You take a vacation when you need to unwind from work. Do the same with your digital consumption. Try a digital detox for just one week (more if you want a greater challenge). This short break can help you calm your hyper-reactive state.
When you’re ready to return to the digital world, try limiting your exposure to just one hour a day or every other day.
#2 Shift Your Focus to Self-Care
Are you feeling hyper-emotional and distressed?
Are your thoughts racing and swirling in your head?
Do you feel unwell and lethargic?
Put the phone down and give your mind, body, and emotions some TLC.
- Go for a walk outside
- Improve your sleep quality
- Pursue tranquility through meditation
- Start journaling to untangle your emotions
When your focal point is on negative news, you’re focused on the outside world. Don’t forget to shift your attention to your INTERNAL world. Leave the cycle of consumption and reaction, and root your priorities in personal growth and positive change.
#3 Subscribe to Uplifting Content
Moderation and balance are the keys to keeping yourself protected against headline stress disorder.
For every negative news clip you watch, make an effort to also focus on something positive. The Huffington Post conducted research that showed those who consumed positive and transformative news “reported having a good day 88 percent of the time”.
And the reason is likely simpler than you might think: positive and uplifting stories remind you that there is still so much good and beauty in the world.
So, make an effort to subscribe to blogs and publications that release inspiring and empowering stories. You can also sign up for my email list to get notified when I publish uplifting and actionable articles (like this one!).
#4 Focus on What is Within Your Power
The awful tragedies you hear about from the media can cause a feeling of helplessness. There is just so much wrong in the world and you might feel like there is little you can do.
But see, there are so many things you can do.
It is within YOUR power to improve yourself, your family, and your community. It’s okay to start small and to start local. It’s okay to start with YOU and build yourself up to be stronger, balanced, and more fulfilled.
If you need additional support to rise above the news chatter and focus on yourself, I’m here to help. Take your first step to a more empowered you and sign up for a Complimentary “Overcoming Overwhelm” Discovery session with me. In this 60-minute consultation, you’ll:
- Reveal a clear and compelling vision of what else is possible for your life when you no longer have so much on your plate and are enjoying your life again
- Get simple and practical tips for how to break free from your symptoms of overwhelm
- Tap into greater energy and inspiration
- Explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.