Negative News and Mental Health: The Connection
The impact of negative news stories on our mental health is far-reaching; grim headlines can leave even the most resilient among us feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Such cruel realities as political conflict, terror attacks and natural disasters are sadly an everyday occurrence in modern life – yet for those who already experience pre-existing conditions associated with mental health – or even those who are more sensitive than most, these traumas may feel all too close to home.
Negative News and the Brain: How We Process Information
Research into how the brain processes information has uncovered a phenomenon known as the ‘negativity bias’: our instinct to pay more attention when exposed to seemingly harmful news. It’s essential for our mental well-being to counteract these negative stories and perspectives by consuming positive content, too – this way, we remain informed and maintain an appropriate level of calm during crises and changes when sense-making can be difficult. You can train your mind to better deal with challenging times with some practice.
As news outlets continue to bombard us with negativity, it can undeniably affect our mental health. Fortunately, there are tools we can use to protect ourselves and stay balanced in turbulent times. Mindfulness and physical exercise are powerful methods for managing stress levels; moreover, keeping one’s exposure limited is a great way to retain focus. There are also lots of great resources at KAYLO. But more importantly: don’t be afraid to reach out if you’re feeling overwhelmed – talking about your thoughts could bring much-needed relief. Remember that everyone balances differently – so take the time to explore what works best for YOU.
The Role of Media
Ideally, media outlets are responsible for informing their audiences about events occurring in our world. However, they are also obligated to get eyes on the page. Unfortunately, with many negative stories covered by news sources daily, it can be difficult for readers to distinguish fact from fiction or fact from opinion and bias and determine which pieces will provide beneficial information without sensationalising or triggering sensitive topics.
As you scroll on social media or turn on the evening news, remember you are consuming a product, not a service. So, be selective about what you consume, and understand what can affect your well-being. You might be surprised how much it affects you. Self-awareness when consuming such content encourages a more meaningful experience, and knowledge gained through thoughtful perspectives helps create understanding beyond shock tactics and deeper conversations beyond the headlines.
Reach out at Colin Kingsmill Coaching