“We are surrounded by the news from the time we wake up, some of which can damage our well-being, being mindful of this can help us stay positive.”
If I asked you about the first time you access the news on a typical day, you would probably think of the time you put on the radio or the TV or read the newspaper but in fact you do that much earlier. If you are like many people who open their smart phones the moment they wake up, then that’s exactly when news gets to you. As you open your WhatsApp or scroll down your Instagram or any other social media platform you are basically accessing news of different kind. Such news affect us one way or another even if we don’t realise it or like to admit. In fact, media companies make sure that you are constantly flooded with data, no matter how relevant or important these data are to you.
News comes in different size and shapes, sometimes it’s about political issues or disaster happening elsewhere, others are about new movies, music or books released or even about personal lives of celebrities. Some new stories are irrelevant to you but others capture your attention and leave you asking for more. A typical example is when Covid-19 started spreading through different countries, both traditional and modern news platforms started sharing information of different types and sources. People started sharing WhatsApp messages about the origin of the virus and how to protect yourself from getting infected. Some of these news items were genuine but others were fake news influenced by conspiracy theories, such news influenced people’s beliefs and the decision making which led to less people accepting vaccination in some countries simply because they read somewhere or heard in the news that the vaccine contains a chip that will be planted in their bodies to spy on them or will turn them into monkeys or crocodiles. Needless to say that more than two years of vaccinating millions of people around the world no one has turned into a monkey or a crocodile.
According to scientific studies, the constant flood of news has negative impact on people’s mental health leading to anxiety, depression and poor sleep as it puts the brain in an alert state constantly processing bad news and anticipating the worse.
So how can you manage your access to news? Start by understanding how listening to the news affects you, decide what you need to listen to and when. If you feel distressed from hearing about disasters elsewhere then switch off the radio or put down your WhatsApp or the newspaper.
If you are used to listening to the radio when driving, try using audiobooks instead or put the music channel on. If the news is of interest and relevant to you then make sure you get it from trusted resources.
If in doubt double check the information in a different website. Before sharing news with others ask yourself if you really need to do that or would it make any difference to the person you are sending it, and before all, is the news genuine?
Finally, remember to take time off from listening to the news from time to time to clear your head and enjoy nature around you.