Is the News Getting You Down?

Sometimes, no news can be good news …  

If you are a regular purveyor of news, whether it be a newscast on television, a news app, or reading the paper, you probably have the perception that the world is a deteriorating and frightening place. There is a catch phrase in the media “If it bleeds it leads”, which essentially means that the more tragic and dramatic the news story, the more prominence it is given. If we consume a regular diet of news, this slant towards negative news stories can be bad for your mood and mental health.

As the world seems to move from one crisis to the next, regular exposure to an onslaught of negative media presents an unbalanced view of the world, and can have you tilting toward the dark and gloomy side of life. In my practice I work with many clients who struggle with anxiety and depression, and I have noticed a worrying trend; many of these client’s symptoms are increased by a daily intake of world news. Their outlook on life is affected by what they see and read, and much of the content generates feelings of fear and despair.

News is inherently unbalanced. There are far fewer stories that are inspiring or uplifting, but there are many instances of human kindness, of love and connection, of progress towards compassion and understanding that occur everyday.They just don’t make the news. While I believe that it is important to be informed and to know what is happening in the world that is our home, taking a regular “news break”, especially if things are seeming grim, can be a helpful way of not contributing to feelings of worry and fear.

If you find it hard to take a break, try and bring balance to your regular news intake by actively seeking out stories that you find inspiring or uplifting, to counter the discouraging or frightening material that is so prevalent. Step back and ask yourself, “What is true for me?”, which can help you to realize that we have much to be grateful for, that our experience of life is not the nightmare that we see played out on TV. This can help you to have a more positive and balanced outlook, allowing you to enjoy the life you have.

David Scammell, Registered Psychotherapist

Helix Healthcare Group

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