Negative news can affect your mental health. Here are 10 ways to stay updated and compassionate, but not at the cost of your emotional health.
Most of us will give a unanimous nod when we hear "News is getting depressing by the day." While staying informed of world events is important, research reveals a direct link between watching negative news and signs of depression. Here's how you can keep yourself updated and ensure it doesn't emotionally drain you.
Turn off all-day notifications from news websites and apps. Schedule a time when you are not already exhausted, tired, or emotionally vulnerable. Do NOT start your day with negative news.
Your brain is likely to feel overwhelmed by the news that involves violence, crime, shootings, attacks, kidnaps, mishaps, etc. Ensure that you don't take it all in at one shot. This doesn't make you less empathetic. It just makes it easy for you to deal with ugly reality without being overwhelmed by it.
Most newspapers go for shock value, which will make you want to click on it. This, while good for their business, can trigger your brain to go into fight-or-flight mode. Not everything that is being said is true. Even pictures chosen by the media is carefully selected to portray a certain viewpoint or opinion of the person, event, incident, or policy.
There is so much good happening around the globe. From cops buying toys for a homeless kid, to brave mommies sharing stories of victories, to people recovering from ailments and failures, there is much hope and goodness to celebrate in the world. The more you consume these, you will know beyond doubt that the world is not entirely scary or unsafe.
If you are passionate about minority rights, focus on these while you make others optional. If you really care to know what's happening in your locality, tune out business/political news across the globe. Adjust your filters and news feeds to allow only things that truly matter to you.
Understand that there are many sides to the same issue. Different people have different experiences. Learning that you don't always have to take sides and that you might agree with a few points on either side, makes ethical issues less stressful.
Not sure if that is even a word, but do everything that makes you connect with the human behind the label, racial/ethnic/cultural identity, and other differences. Talk to people in your own locality, workplace, neighborhood, and study groups. Socializing gets frivolous at times, so humanize--connect with people with whom you can talk about issues and share feelings without feeling the need to be neutral. For example, talking with other women about personal experiences with body shaming can be empowering and therapeutic.
From technology. From news. From people and crowds. Give yourself time alone to do things that you enjoy. Ensure you get ample time outdoors and with nature. Do physical things like going for a swim or simply enjoying a relaxing bath at home. Doodle or play your guitar simply for the joy of it, without any agenda to be perfect.
If you feel strongly about something you saw or heard, see how you can make a positive change to the situation. You could give your time, money, or ideas for the cause. If there was a hate crime against a certain group, lend your voice either online or in person. This will make you feel less hopeless and more in charge.
It's a blessing to be an empath and feel strongly for others. However, constantly empathizing (feeling what others feel) can be extremely exhausting. It is like bleeding from your heart as you watch someone else in pain. It doesn't help you or the other. Instead, give yourself some time to feel what you feel and do something practical to bring a change. If not, simply send them good thoughts and prayers.
If you feel overwhelmed, anxious, or feel signs of depression, please reach out to a professional therapist. You can also get in touch with your local social worker, who can help find the right person. You can also call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.