Too much news can give you the blues. It’s been well documented that Media exposure 24 hours a day can increase perceptions of threat and activate the “fight or flight response,” producing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This can lead to subsequent physical and mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, and loss of sleep. I’ve experienced all of these by getting caught up with the news or watching the news, but I’ve been doing it experimentally, much like the Super Size Me guy ‘Morgan Spurlock’. In ‘The 2004 documentary Super Size Me documentary, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ate three meals a day at the fast-food chain for 30 days’. He gained almost 25 pounds and was told he suffered from irreversible heart damage. Fortunately I have not suffered from irreversible heart damage watching the news, however, I have experienced other stress-related symptoms. I can almost feel the addiction of watching the news. Yes an addiction!. It’s pretty horrific what is out there right now, with Ukraine, the floods here at home, and interstate.
Unfortunately, the impact of news on our well-being is very destructive during a time of crisis. Multiple studies have found the more we consume news during or after a tragedy, crisis, or natural disaster, the more likely we are to develop symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or as I like to refer to it as positional typical stress distraction. PTSD.
Why are we so interested in bad news, anyway? University of Queensland psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and his colleagues have noted bad is stronger than good. Humans tend to pay more attention to negative information than positive. Think about it, when you hear about an earthquake in New Zealand, a flood in Lismore, and a death in your area, you tune in. Why? For the same reason that some people enjoy bad news, as long as it’s someone else’s like they enjoy a football game. It’s a distraction from their reality! Obviously, this is not the case for me, I am an empath, I feel people’s pain, and that keeps me awake at night. I can’t help it, and knowing this means I will need to cut short my own experiment and stop watching the news, at least for the next few weeks.
Some Journalists and reporters are said to capitalize on our negative bias to capture our attention. Some news sources have learned this lesson the hard way. When a city reporter from an online Russian news website decided only to report good news for a day, can you believe they lost two-thirds of their readers?
The problem is, this negative bias in the news can make the world appear worse than it truly is. Who gains from that? We can take control of our news consumption by first being aware of our news consumption.
First, it’s important to be aware of your news consumption via different sources as they can look very different. Think about how often you watch the news, and what it feels like when you don’t watch the news. Do you suffer anxiety about missing the 6 pm news, or are you oblivious to the time slot and catch your news from friends and online? Traditional media tends to focus on the facts, whereas stories, rumors, and human interest pieces are prioritized on social media. Where do most of our younger audiences prefer to get their news? Social media! Statistically, the younger people from 14-30 years are consuming more digital updates than older folk like myself, which makes sense because we are not wired to view everything on small screens
Empower yourself with the knowledge that, as humans, we are subject to bias. The media and those producing the news know this. These biases, which make us wonderfully human, also make us wonderfully biased to the information we receive. Our biases mean we’re more likely to be impacted by negative news and more likely to believe what we see is more prevalent than it truly is.
Annie’s solution to News Blues –
- Don’t watch the news! Or cut back on the TV viewing and screen viewing.
- Go for a long walk and take your journal with you, writing down what is good in your life right now.
- Apply the News Blues blend several times a day. here’s the recipe.
To a 15 ml glass bottle - add:
Apply this oil several times a day or during times of stressful thoughts or reactions. Calms the mind, and smells quite beautiful.