For the last couple of weeks, the Israel-Hamas conflict has taken over the news cycle. Login to any of your social media platforms or switch on the television, and you’ll be bombarded with updates, images, videos, and opinions about the situation.
Although it’s essential to stay informed about current events, consuming such information can be overwhelming and take a toll on your mental health. According to a study, media exposure to graphic and violent content can lead to a “cycle” where the audience is overly stressed by the news, which fuels them to consume more of it.
The good news is that you can stay informed while prioritizing your mental health. Here are some effective strategies.
Choose Reliable and Trustworthy News Sources to Follow
Picking reliable and trustworthy news sources is like choosing a good friend you can count on. They’ll give you the straight facts, help you understand the world better, and ensure you’re in the loop without any confusion.
When choosing these sources, consider news organizations with a history of delivering unbiased reporting. Look for outlets with a track record of thorough fact-checking and a commitment to journalistic integrity.
Furthermore, it’s essential to diversify your selection of sources to gain a more comprehensive perspective on any given issue. Opt for outlets that offer a range of viewpoints, ensuring you receive a well-rounded understanding of complex topics.
It’s recommended to limit your primary news sources to just two or three. By doing so, you can strike between staying well-informed and avoiding information overload.
Set Specific Time Limits
Staying well-informed doesn’t necessitate devoting endless hours to following the news cycle. Instead, allocate dedicated periods in your day for this purpose. For example, set aside 15 to 20 minutes in the morning to read about current events and get an overview of what’s happening worldwide.
Later in the evening, consider dedicating another short period, perhaps around the same time, to check for any significant developments or new insights that may have emerged throughout the day.
This approach allows you to stay updated and prevent information overload. It allows you to digest news in manageable doses, preventing the overwhelming feeling from prolonged exposure. This way, you can engage with current events in a way that’s both informed and mindful while also freeing up time for other essential aspects of your life.
Listen to Your Body
Your body often provides early warning signs that you may be reaching a point of information overload or emotional distress. Pay attention to physical cues such as muscle tension in your neck and shoulders.
As you scroll through news articles or watch reports, notice if you feel your muscles tightening. This physical tension can indicate that it’s time to take a break. Additionally, monitor your breath.
Shallow breathing is often a sign of stress or anxiety. If your breath becomes more rapid or shallow while consuming news, it signals that the content you’re engaging with may be causing heightened emotional responses.
When you recognize the physical and emotional signals your body is sending, it’s an opportunity to prioritize self-care. Taking a break, engaging in relaxation exercises, or simply stepping away from the news for a while can help alleviate stress and maintain your mental well-being.
Taking medications is also an option. It’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider regarding your medication regimen. For example, when considering whether to start taking Strattera, it’s crucial to weigh the srattera pros and cons in consultation with your doctor to make an informed decision about its suitability for your needs.
Opt for Written Content
Seeing pictures or videos can make us feel sad or scared. It’s because our brain mainly uses what we see to understand things. Watching a lot of videos, especially ones with violent or graphic things, like people getting hurt, is not a good idea. We don’t need to see all the bad things in detail to know they’re terrible.
Instead, it’s better to read about what’s happening. Even if the words describe sad or scary things, it’s easier for our minds to handle. Reading allows for a level of detachment that can help process information in a more controlled and manageable manner.
Moreover, just because a source is known for sharing good information, it doesn’t mean you have to look at everything they show. Sometimes, even prominent and trusted places like The New York Times put out videos that are too graphic, and we should be careful about watching them.
Avoid Doomsday Thinkers
We must be mindful of the company we keep when discussing current events. Some people tend always to see the worst in situations, and their constant pessimism can hurt their own outlook and mental well-being.
These kinds of people may unintentionally heighten our anxiety or stress levels. So, if you find that spending time with such individuals overwhelms you, it’s perfectly okay to set boundaries.
Your mental health should take precedence, especially during times when the news is particularly distressing. Choose to surround yourself with more positive and constructive conversations to process the news in a healthier and more balanced way.
These days, bad news seems to dominate the headlines. In these times of adversity, let’s remember to be kind to ourselves. Let’s approach the news with mindfulness, compassion, and the understanding that we are not alone in this journey.