To say the least, 2020 thus far has been chaotic, uncertain, and stressful. From the COVID-19 pandemic to politics to current social issues, reading and watching the news can make it seem like the state of the world is in a downward spiral. Our lives have all been impacted in ways we never anticipated.
Continuous exposure to troubling news topics on TV, radio, and the internet can take a toll on our mental health and overall well-being by causing stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental-health challenges. Therefore, it’s important to find healthy ways to cope with the stress and anxiety that can come from a 24-hour news cycle.
Here are coping strategies to deal with stress from the news:
- Avoid triggering topics in the news – When a personal connection exists to a topic in the news it can heighten any stress you may already be experiencing. If you notice certain channels or news outlets covering a triggering topic to you, it might be smart to take a break from those news sources.
- Dial back your overall exposure to news – While staying informed is important, you can also allow yourself to take breaks from the news. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Constantly hearing negative news tends to produce moods of sadness, stress, and anxiety. It’s also important to make sure the news you consume is coming from a reliable source.
- Search for positive news headlines – When you start to feel overwhelmed by the constant barrage of negative messages around us, we sometimes need to try to find positive news. This can help counteract news-related anxiety. While we may feel that it is our responsibility to understand what is going wrong in the world so that we can find a way to fix it, it is also very important to find out what is going well so that we feel motivated, hopeful, and uplifted.
- Practice good stress management – Consistent and effective stress management practices can be an easy and effective way to help mitigate news anxiety. Regular exercise, sufficient sleep, a healthy diet, and making time to have fun and relax can all help combat stress.
- Talk to someone – If you find yourself struggling to deal with everything that’s happening in the world, tell your friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talking to a physician or therapist for professional help is also recommended.
JSSA is here for you. If you would like a one-time, 30-minute consultation with one of JSSA’s mental health professionals, click here.