Feeling Overwhelmed by Bad News? You’re Not Alone
Feel like screaming at your first look of news in the morning? Facebook feed terrifying? Everything, everywhere seem awful and getting worse?
It’s not your imagination, but also, it’s not true.
The world is not so much worse off, humanity is not doomed, an apocalypse, Armageddon, something else is no closer than years and decades before. However that doesn’t seem the case does it?
You can view historical charts that detail decreases in violence, homicides, and wars, as well as increases in literacy, health, women’s empowerment, and sanitation. But again, that seems in conflict with what we are seeing in news.
Turn the Scary Voices Off!
There’s a reason it feels like things are blowing up, and it’s an ugly reason. Media makes money off of our fears because we click on sensational, inflammatory or horrific articles. Friends and family share them continuing the lifespan of bad news. It spreads. We are inundated with bad news and it comes at a true cost. It affects us mentally and as a result, emotionally and physically.
With every single click, we are giving news and social outlets a directive – “Give me more of this!”
According to similarweb.com, yahoo.com is the U.S.’s number one choice for news, at 85% share of news traffic for the country. That’s astonishing because the “news” includes celebrity news, news from highly questionable credibility, false news stories and contains an overwhelming amount of trolling comments. Yahoo has posted these comments in their mobile version directly under the article title to showcase inflammatory opinions meant to garner response.
If you had a friend who made you feel terrible about yourself, your job, your family, your future and the state of the world every single time you saw them, how long would continue to make plans to see them? Run screaming in the other direction you say? Very smart, so would we. Because we can’t fix someone else, and we can’t dive into a pool of misery everyday and expect things to be great. So why do we invite social media and news to do the same?
What You Can Do
How do we counteract the wave of horribleness?
- Be informed. News has a purpose, that may mean reading the front page of a real and respected news organization’s newspaper. By definition that should mean neutral reporting, not opinionated, not inflammatory, not the front page of Yahoo.
- Understand and really care about what you can impact and where your energy matters.
- Do something! Really, if there is something you can do to positively impact your community, or and individual, do it! Volunteer, offer donations in items or cash. It’s great for us on many levels to help.
- Where you can’t help, where there is nothing you personally can do, do not spent your time depressed about the outcome yet to be decided. Write to your congressperson or senator where applicable, sign a petition, but do not give your time over to what you cannot control.
- Find balance. You need good in your day, good in your life and you’re responsible for finding it. For as much inundation of bad news as you let into your view, balance it by seeking out good stories, positive time with family and friends, volunteer and see the change it makes to people’s lives. Talk to students and ask them about what they’re studying and what their hope are for the future.
- Think about the future you want, don’t dread what could be. The future hasn’t happened yet, and you are part of what it will be.
- Remember that attitude and outlook are absolutely contagious. Be the positive force for someone else’s day in some small way and know you will at some point need the same. Small, generous, and positive acts, as small as listening, change the attitude of other people and yourself. You have the power to improve the energy around you.
- Turn off the source of dread. Social media, news, TV. Turn it off, take a break, reconnect with those you care about and value your time with them rather than wishing things were different.
- Spend time in nature, go for a walk and make a point of looking at all of the diversity in plants, animals, insects. We play a role in a very large and beautiful environment, enjoy it. The color green is shown to decrease stress – we need it.
- Remember that we are so much more alike than different.
- Life is short, and we make our own happiness. Let’s concentrate on that.
- Start ridiculously small to welcome more happiness into your day. As you pass strangers, look them in they eye, smile and say hello. You’re phone’s had enough attention.
We’d love to hear your ideas for how you counteract sensationalism and negative news. Please share.