At Therapeutic Partners, its something we hear often; a tragic event on the news or natural disaster has the power to disturb our daily lives significantly. In extreme cases, watching upsetting news can even create symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder or vicarious trauma. Symptoms of news-induced stress could range from difficulty sleeping, excessive worry, to irritability.
While we don’t have control over the events occurring in the world around us, that feeling of lack of control can really contribute to a sense of hopelessness. Furthermore, many news stories are sensationalized and meant to trigger a catastrophic response in viewers. Catastrophic thinking can lead to negative feelings that ultimately impact our behavior. Constant bombardment with stories about societal dangers can lead one to worry excessively about the safety of loved ones. We focus on feelings of negativity and become accustomed to feeling on edge or fearful.
When watching the news, it is crucial we become informed consumers. Without appropriate filtering we begin to develop an overall negative perspective of the world and others. Be careful to monitor your own media diet and limit stories that are particularly overwhelming. Filter through news stories that have little impact on your daily life. Finally keep in mind that there is a whole lot of good happening in the world that isn’t reported.
For more about the effects of news on our mental health you can visit these articles: