Negative Media Overload: How to Stay Grounded Amongst the Waves
By: Jen McWaters, Psy.D. | May 20, 2022
If you’re finding yourself becoming more and more anxious in the face of a constant barrage of bad news, you’re not alone. It can be hard to feel grounded and present with the news overload we experience on a regular basis. It doesn’t help that the news outlets get clicks and financial incentive for putting out sensational stories that evoke intense reactions from its readers and listeners. Digesting too much trauma-related news is linked to a host of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and trauma reactions. It’s important to find ways to care for your mental health while still staying informed.
Strategies to Stay Grounded
1. Limit Viewing Time
Limiting the amount of time spent on each news topic helps keep you from Doomscrolling. Consider capping the amount time or number of times per day you spend reading the news in whatever and all forms (TV, social media, etc.). You might find it helpful to avoid graphic images or videos and be intentional in your news consumption.
2. Check the Facts
Since media outlets profit from their readership numbers, all the facts may not be disclosed, or the information may be presented in a skewed way. Remember that the news story changes over time with new developments. Keeping this in mind can help you challenge worst-case-scenario, or catastrophic thinking. Predetermine your news outlets and stick with well-researched and reviewed articles.
3. Set Limits
If people around you are expressing distress about certain news topics, and this has a negative effect on you like increased anxiety, it is okay to set limits with these people. Try gently steering a conversation away from a triggering topic, let the person know how you feel and request that they limit talk about that issue. You also have the right to gracefully excuse yourself from the conversation or exit the situation when necessary.
4. Reach Out
Talking about how you feel with others will help you cope with difficult emotions and strong reactions to news stories. Be sure to choose people that you feel safe with, like particular friends, family members, and/or a San Diego Psychologist who will listen and provide a nonjudgmental space for you to talk through your fears and worries. A trained therapist will teach you tools that you can use to decrease negative ruminations and develop strategies to balance your thinking.
5. Prioritize Your Self-Care
When feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed about the news, coping skills such as getting enough sleep and exercise, staying connected with friends and family, and engaging in grounding practices like deep breathing, meditation, mindful distraction, and prayer can help you find peace and comfort.
6. Respond, Don’t React
While we can’t control the way information is presented or disseminated, we can choose how to respond. A response is intentional and thought-through, and a reaction is emotion-based and impulsive.
If you find yourself having a difficult time coping with the effect of negative media or struggling with stressors in your life, contact us now. The team at Therapy Changes is here to provide you with the tools and resources you need to start feeling more like you again. If you are new to therapy, learn How Therapy Works and What to Expect. Support is available and you don’t have to go through it alone.