Would I be happier if I gave up reading and watching the news?

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9 January
11:18
9 January
11:46

Yes, you probably would. Exposing yourself consistently to a barrage of negativity and pain is likely to drain even the most positive of people! Research has found that continual exposure to violent media can exacerbate or contribute to the development of stress, anxiety depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We internalize the negative stimuli, which can affect mood and then cause us to interact more negatively with the world around us. 

The nervous system is also depleted by constant news updates. Repeatedly checking and rechecking a newsfeed keeps the body in a state of high alert, too often flooding the system with adrenaline meaning the adrenals become exhausted, leaving us feeling frazzled and anxious. 

"Remember the excess of shocking news is not a reflection of how evil the world has actually become, but the way certain media dramatise negative stories in order to grab attention and boost sales."

Stop sleeping next to your phone, shut down TweetDeck and give yourself a break from all the incremental updates. Refrain from accessing the news first thing in the morning or last thing at night as that is when we are most sensitive and our environment has the most potential to impact us adversely. 

Set the tone of the start of your day by listening to a podcast or music instead of letting it be set by an external source you can’t control; choose to wake up calm and quiet or enlivened and energised rather than disheartened and frustrated. Before bed, end the day how you would like to, such as reading a good book rather than getting het up by political figures and longwinded arguments. 

If you are in the habit of checking up on the news frequently throughout the day choose something else to do, like listening to audiobooks that inspire you, or find other ways to enrich your life instead of watching the world from afar and getting depressed about it. 

Also rethink which medium you are getting your news from as this may determine how it’s making you feel. Being in a room with a loud TV on is much more dominating than a quick lunchtime glance at a newspaper online. Remember the excess of shocking news is not a reflection of how evil the world has actually become, but the way certain media dramatise negative stories in order to grab attention and boost sales. Set your intake mindfully. 

"Stop sleeping next to your phone, shut down TweetDeck and give yourself a break from all the incremental updates."

You might even look at where your values lie and consider dedicating some time to volunteering or actively campaigning for what you believe in instead of getting depleted by passively listening and observing. Meeting likeminded souls will also buoy your faith in the human race rather than undoing it. There is always something positive craving your attention, so redraw your attention towards this; you will be and feel more empowered and the world will be a better place as a result.

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